SECTION II How To Make Money
With Imports / Mail Order
- SALES COME FIRST
- Your first concern in starting a buy-and-sell business is to make sure you have a market. A market is potential buyers of your goods. Once you have that market, concentrate on selling. Making sales is priority number 1.
Spending is easy. Anyone with money can spend it with little effort. Spending is like swimming downstream. Collecting is upstream.
- PROFIT SECRET
- The trick of making profit is a two-step operation:
Buy right--that is, buy low; Sell high.
The profoundest truths are the simplest.
- IMPORTS ARE EASY SELLERS
- This Section will convince you that imported items will be easy for you to sell. There are good reasons for this. Relative to domestic products, foreign goods tend to be lower in cost. They are often unique, even exotic. These factors allow you to mark them up higher than domestic products; this markup means bigger profits for you.
- QUANTITY BUILDS BIGGER PROFITS
- If your greatest ambition is to sell a dozen units from a table at a swap meet, you needn't read further. If, like most, you dream of becoming rich, casting off worries forever, this International Traders system can help you become that prosperous person.
International Traders will expose you to factories or export brokers. (Some factories deal through brokers when they lack their own facilities for exporting.) You will be dealing with the original source, cutting out all middlemen--truly BUYING BELOW WHOLESALE. International Traders takes no commission on the deals you set up with foreign suppliers. You will keep all the profits.
- SUPPLIERS' LOW MARKUP MANDATES HIGH QUANTITY DEALS
- Naturally, an original product source cannot survive for long selling a few small orders. Their profit may be as low as 5% of sales. They must sell in large quantities to prosper. You should also strive to sell in large quantities to achieve your ultimate goal of becoming wealthy.
There is a seeming contradiction here because of short-term vs. long-term planning. Short-term, you should avoid large quantities until you have conducted your market survey and test ad. Once you are convinced your product is sure-fire, long-term logic will urge you to deal in the largest quantities you can handle.
- CAPITAL IS EASY TO GET
- First review the answer to Question #56 at the end of Section 1. Many sources of capital are mentioned there. Do not make the mistake of foregoing big quantity deals because you lack the capital. That is no excuse. Anyone who has a favorable market survey, or a firm order, can raise capital. Investors are hungry for a sure-fire business deal that can bring a big return on their money. Bankers readily lend money for stock when you can show a money-making projection.
Actually, you can make more money by borrowing than otherwise. Why? Because you will also mark up the cost of borrowing (interest) just as you do other product costs, thus netting a bigger profit. Look at this example of the effects of business borrowing:
You borrow $1,000 to finance an order. Rate is 18%. Term is four months.
$1,000-Landed cost of your imported product.
$60-Cost of borrowed money (1,000 x 18% / 3).
$1,060-Total cost, including interest.
$530-Your markup (50%).
$1,590-Selling price to customer.
Do you see what happened? When you marked up on your cost, you also marked up the interest by 50%. So you actually earned an extra $30 on the deal by borrowing. The customer paid your interest plus a $30 markup.
- SELF-DISCIPLINE: A BUSINESS VIRTUE
- Having a business of your own is a common dream of most International Traders Members. The process of making this dream come true jolts a few newcomers with this realization. Being their "own boss" will demand more of them than any supervisor they ever worked for.
- BE YOUR OWN TASKMASTER
- Temptations for not working are everywhere. No one will be watching to criticize when you fail to give your growing business the time and care it needs to prosper. There will be a direct relationship between the time you devote to your business and the amount of money you make. To succeed, you'll have to be the toughest boss you ever had, but the rewards can be so great and the feeling of personal accomplishment so fulfilling that it is well worth your efforts.
- HOW TO GET STARTED IN WORLD TRADE/MAIL ORDER
- The remainder of this Section will provide you with some basic advice on how to start your business and how to sell your products. These suggestions are the distillation of four generations of Mellinger's' experience in conducting World Trade and Mail Order businesses. This advice will spare you much of the pain of trial-and-error learning. It will smooth and shorten your pathway to success.
- KEEP YOUR OVERHEAD DOWN
- Starting small is best in most cases, but especially for those having few or limited resources. Work out of your home at first. No need for a big deposit of first and last month's rent, office furniture or extra utilities. Start as a sideline enterprise, using your present income to buy the few necessities for selling Imports/Exports--mainly printed business stationery and a typewriter.
You don't need a lot of capital to start. You are investing your time--spare time at that. The main thing is getting started and following the advice offered in this Plan. Compared with the capital needed to set up a restaurant or gift shop, your needs for a World Trade/Mail Order project are tiny!
- DROP SHIPPING SAVES CAPITAL
- There are ways of working with your suppliers that do not require capital from you. Customers eager to buy your goods provide the "capital". This method of operating is called drop shipping. Simply stated, the process goes like this:
Money flows to you from customers responding to your sales effort, be it an ad, a party plan, a direct mailing, etc. For example, if your customer is a premium buyer, you collect enough of a deposit up front to finance the sale. You send enough of your receipts to your foreign supplier (the drop shipper) to pay for the product and shipping costs. You may include shipping labels for the customers ordering from you. Then the supplier (drop shipper) sends the product directly to your customers. You keep the profit, which is the difference between what you collected from your customers and what you paid the supplier.
How is that for low capital outlay? The customers actually financed your purchase of the goods. You have only the expenses of your sales effort (the ad cost, party plan expense, postage, etc.) to deduct from your profit on the sales.
It is possible to do even better. As explained later in The Plan, you might arrange a free ad, called "editorial mention" or "edit. Then your required capital would approach zero. When you reach a high volume level using drop shipping, the profits can be fantastic. All with little or no capital. You are using your customers' money "up front" instead.
So start small in terms of both facilities and working capital. Later on, you can grow bigger quickly.
- BUY BELOW WHOLESALE
- Another way of saying this is: DEAL DIRECT with the factory or export broker. CUT OUT THE MIDDLEMAN: the distributor, jobber, warehouser, etc. The middleman offers the wholesale price. The factory offers a below-wholesale price.
To illustrate, imagine you are selling an imported watch for $49.50, available from your local jobber for $24.75. This $24.75 wholesale price sounds good, doesn't it? So does your projected gross profit of $24.75. You are doubling your money. But you can--and should--do better.
Suppose, with a bit of time and effort, you discover you can import your watch from a Hong Kong factory for $15. This is probably the same price the local jobber paid for it. (A jobber typically makes this kind of profit.) $15 is great. Now you are buying at the factory (below-wholesale) level--just like the jobber. The extra $9.75 that would have gone into the hands of the jobber is now yours. You have increased your profit on each sale and cut your cost simply by buying right.
- WHAT IS "WHOLESALE"?
- Everyone knows that "wholesale" is the bottom price. Or is it?
"Wholesale" is that price at which someone above the factory level, called a distributor or jobber, sells a product for resale. It follows that buying from the factory is buying below the wholesale or jobber price. Buying this way cuts out the middleman--the man standing between you and the factory. Buying direct means buying from the original source of the product. Do this whenever possible.
- CHOOSING YOUR PRODUCT
- Before you can buy right you have to know what to buy. Your choice of products will affect the size of your success. Fortunes can be made on the basis of one product alone. Remember the pet rock, the hula hoop?
Make sure your product meets these minimum requirements before you order in more than test-size quantity:
1. Your product is fresh and unique, preferably a new idea.
2. Your product is low in cost, so you can sell it at a profit-packed price.
3. Your product is one you can buy in quantity from the original supplier at below-wholesale prices.
- NEW PRODUCTS SELL BEST
- Do you ever pick up an item and say to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Such a product is a natural, something so obviously useful you wonder why it did not show up before. One such item can make you rich.
Almost as good as a new product is a fresh approach to an old established one. Cordless or memory phones can be cited for examples. "New" also implies that the product has just arrived on the scene; that is, it is not already available in blister packs at the supermarket, for example. It is so rare, so scarce, that the buyer has to send away for it. That's the idea.
Along with "new" is the concept of "unique", the item that is hand-crafted by a remote Indian tribe, an item not copied or simulated in a factory. This may be an article that has been carved, woven or handmade; that is distinctive in color, design or use. Many buyers simply cannot resist a native artifact, no matter how primitive.
- SEARCHING FOR THE NEW PRODUCT
- How do you lay hands on this elusive quality, this item that is new, fresh and unique? Abundant suggestions are provided for you throughout The Plan. Obviously, you keep your eyes open--in every sense of the word. Seeking the ideal product is the essence of the lure as well as the challenge of World Trade/Mail Order. It is the thrill of the hunt.
Use the library. Look in trade publications. Consider offers from foreign suppliers in your TRADE OPPORTUNITIES magazine. Search through the literature of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Attend the Mellinger Trade Show/ Convention and others; trade shows are offered throughout the world. Go on safari yourself. The search for the perfect product is part of the fun.
- ROCK-BOTTOM COSTS
- You must deal direct, as close to the factory level as you can, to buy at the lowest possible cost. Your goal in World Trade/Mail Order is to maximize your profits. A unique new product will justify a high selling price. On the other hand, a rock-bottom price will increase the spread of your profit zone, allowing a hefty markup.
For example, your product may be new. Maybe you can buy it direct from the factory. But suppose it flunks the "low in unit cost" test. By the time you add on a solid markup, you may price the item beyond the means of your targeted buyer. In other words, you will not ordinarily sell really expensive items by mail. $10 to $200 is the best retail range for Mail Order.
- TESTING YOUR PRODUCT
- The word "testing" may sound like a buzz word, but do not take it lightly. Testing or conducting a market survey is something insiders do carefully and regularly. You must do the same.
Here is a brief description of this procedure as it relates to Mail Order. More details will come later in The Plan. The idea is to test the water before you venture in too deeply.
Run a small ad and tally the responses you get. Carefully keep records of:
1. Cost of the ad.
2. Number of inquiries you get.
3. Number of orders you get.
4. Ad cost per inquiry (CPI) (#1 divided by #2).
5. Ad cost per order (order cost) (#1 divided by #3).
As you accumulate records for various ads/products over a period of time, you will develop sound indicators for judging how well any new product or ad will perform. If your test product turns out to be a dud, thanks to your testing you are out only the cost of your ad. But when you discover a runaway winner, you may want to order in sizable quantities.
The testing process is important. The Mellinger Co. keeps scrupulous records of ad and product performance. Testing is really simple. It is mentioned here so you will be aware that the concept of testing is one of the most precious bits of advice that is offered you. Details, forms and specific procedures come later in Section 7.
- MARKUP FOR PROFIT
- For newcomers, pricing for profit is often a matter of courage. They naturally tend to undervalue their product. Maybe they are just timid and unsure. Maybe they feel it is morally wrong to add on so much profit. Nonsense.
If you still doubt the "whatever the market will bear" theory, try this test. Try selling the item both ways, with a big markup and without it. For strange reasons that defy the psychologists, many articles sell better at a price higher than you might consider reasonable. With experience, you will lose your timidity about pricing. You will develop a sixth sense for zeroing in on the right retail price.
World Trade/Mail Order was made for a wide profit margin. When importing, you are dealing in new, unique, maybe exotic goods. You have invested much time, thought and care in bringing these articles in from remote countries and making them available for your customers. Markups of three, four or more times cost are customary in the industry.
Contrast this with a retail store operation, such as a gift shop. They display complete lines of traditional gift wares. Most of their goods are available at similar shops up and down the street at a typical resort. They buy from jobbers (at wholesale) who visit them during the ordering season. How different from the Importer who, as we pointed out above, seeks ways of dealing direct with the factory, thus cutting out the jobber. How much do you think gift shop owners mark up their goods?
Only about two times cost. If an item costs $1, they will sell it for $2. This is often called "keystoning," a markup equal to cost is added to cost to get the selling price. But you should see the difference in the gift shop situation compared with yours. They are not dealing with a new, unique item. Their goods are readily available down the street. They are not buying below wholesale--as you are advised to do--so they haven't enough margin for really big profits.
Later in Section 11 of your Plan, many pages are devoted to the theory and mechanics of pricing your product. For the moment, the right price is the price you deserve.
- BUY IN LARGE QUANTITIES
- Buy as large a quantity as you can be reasonably sure of selling. Remember, this is after you have carefully tested the market for your product. Buying in quantity is another way of keeping your product cost-per-unit down. Here is an illustration of quantity buying:
Size Of Order Price Per Unit
2 - 99 9
100 - 500 $7
Suppose you have set your retail price for $29.95. Your testing indicates you are likely to sell about 500. Isn't it better to order the entire 500 at the $7 price rather than to order five times at $9? The lower per-unit cost means another $1,000 in profit to you ($2 x 500).
There is an element of courage involved in buying, just as in pricing your product, as mentioned above. When you have thoroughly tested and evaluated your product, you can place your faith in these procedures and go for the quantity price.
The advice to you earlier about starting small referred to overhead: rent, furniture, supplies, advertising, etc.--these are expenditures. Keep them low. Not sales. Always shoot for the highest possible volume in sales. You should be able to sell as many items from your dining room table as from an office in Century City. The point is this: A high sales volume allows you to buy in high quantities, and the lower per-unit cost puts more profits in your pocket.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE
- Like all profound statements, this one has many layers and variations of meaning. Here are some of them:
First as to product. Only one perfect product is enough to set you up for life. How simple it would be to concentrate on that one item. Time and experience would allow you to refine your procedures in buying, importing, selling and shipping your goods. Over time, you would evolve ways of lowering your product cost via volume discounts or new suppliers willing to sell for less. You could find ways to cut your overhead. How easy importing would be with that one perfect product.
In selling many and varied articles, your operation approaches that of the gift shop owner. Items tend to become more standardized and less unique. There is little opportunity to perfect your handling of any one product, because your attention must be spread over many. So, given the choice, keep it simple.
Next, keep your operating methods simple. Don't get buried in detail. Use the experts. Let the Customs Broker/Freight Forwarder handle your World Trade paperwork. Use your bank's money market services to help you with foreign payments and exchange. Don't waste your time reinventing the wheel. There are World Trade/Mail Order experts standing by to help you. It is their business to keep you informed in advertising, customs and finance. Keep your time free for selling your product. There is no profit for you until sales are made. That is the arena in which you can perform best.
- TRY FOR EDITORIAL MENTION "ADS" (FREE ADVERTISING)
- One test of the good World Trade/Mail Order product is newness. This same attribute of novelty might win you a free editorial mention. A truly new product is literally newsworthy, resulting in free publicity for your item. Surely you realize what a profit potential this can be. This is really free advertising for only the expense of a stamp, paper and a bit of time.
There's nothing wrong with paying for ads. Paid advertising is the norm for Mail Order operators. But the introduction of an item that is truly new, fresh and different is something many magazine editors will be interested in. The editors want to be the first to spread the word to their readers.
They do this in a special section of their publications. You have seen it, a special section or page titled something like "Shoppers' Bazaar," "Mini Mart," or "What's New?." If your item is really a grabber, an editor will likely select it for publication. A picture of your product may appear, complete with description, evaluation and details on how to obtain it. In other words, an ad--one coming with editorial blessing. Chances are it may be even more resultful than a paid ad.
This type of free ad is often called an "edit," short for editorial mention. Details on how to avail yourself of this opportunity appear later in The Plan. All you need do is submit to the editor your ad copy, pictures and perhaps a sample of the product.
- HOW TO APPROACH EDITORS
- A word of caution, when you submit your package to the shopping section editor, do not use the term "free advertising". Everyone pretends your copy is news, not paid advertising. Simply suggest that the editor consider including your new product for "editorial mention" in their publication. If you are lucky, you may get editorial coverage that can amount to thousands of dollars in sales. Be careful when writing to editors. Be businesslike. Use a good letterhead, such as those offered by International Traders. Send a clean, professional letter that will command respect.
One Member of International Traders, LM of Pennsylvania, followed this advice exactly. Here is his report: "I wrote to the Shopping Editor of a big national magazine and presented my imported product just like you advised. They gave me a free editorial. The results were amazing. Four thousand orders came in. I made $3 on each order; this is $12,000 in profit on my first try. I did not pay for this advertising and I didn't have to invest any of my money in stock. This Mail Order business is a great way to make money."
ACTION is what separates the dreamer from the doer. Start looking for and testing your first product. Compose some copy for a test ad. When you find a remarkable new product, submit it for editorial mention. Start copying and improving on the text of successful ads. There are lots of things you can be doing right now as you progress through The Plan. Get started!
- WAYS TO GET STARTED
- Here are some easy, natural ways to get started. You can do many of these things while still reading The Plan and before you have mastered the secrets of product selection, testing, writing good ads, etc. These are ways you can start informally. And you'll learn much about products and customers in the process. You can even make some money at the same time.
- DIRECT SELLING METHODS
- Following are some face-to-face methods of selling, commonly called "direct selling". These methods will involve you in varying degrees of personal contact, so a natural starting point for such sales is with family and friends. These are simple ways to get you started. They are mentioned without great detail, because most newcomers prefer to start in World Trade/Mail Order, involving INDIRECT selling methods.
- SELLING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS
- The advantage of starting here is that contacts already exist. No prospecting or arranging for appointments is required. No ice-breaking techniques are needed for showing your samples or brochures. You will get a sympathetic hearing. Your family and friends will want to help you get started and succeed in World Trade/Mail Order.
To use a subtle approach, show your samples in a spirit of merely getting reactions. Don't push.
The appeal of a foreign product can do the selling for you. Many new I.T. Members have sold thousands of dollars worth of products to friends, associates, co-workers and family by starting out this simple, natural way.
- You probably belong to a church, fraternity, club or special-interest group. Make use of these contacts. Pin up your business card on the bulletin board. Address the membership, if you get a chance. Tell them about your World Trade/Mail Order ventures. Talk to them individually, too. When you attend meetings, take samples and literature with you.
- SUCCESS STORIES
- Pause a moment to read these quotes sent in by successful beginners. They will inspire you to get going.
James McNaughton used Mail Order as his initial springboard to get his Import-Export business off the ground. Importing and selling his FLASHING PERSONALITY EARRINGS, he reported sales of $4,200.00 within the first month of joining Inter-national Traders. His earnings goal for the next twelve months was $700,000.00 pre taxes and he said, "We started for under $1,000.00 and that figure cannot be matched to start any other business I can think of for such large returns. My only regret is I did not start sooner. This year I will make more money than I have in the last nine years put together."
Using advice from the Mellinger World Trade/Mail Order Plan and exhibiting at Mellinger Trade Shows, Ademola Ogunbanwo, a Nigerian-born inventor has turned the tide of success in his direction. His first year brought $30,000.00 and recently he had sales of $41,920.00 in a single day! Although still under 35 years of age, he estimates his twelve month income at $160,000.00! About International Traders he states, "It's the best organization in the business world."
After eleven years as an executive for a steamship line, Mr. Stoltenberg learned much about World Trade. Using Mellinger advice, one of his products enjoyed Mail Order sales of more than $13,000.00 without his spending even a single dollar on advertising. His single day's sales have run as high as $32,000.00 and anticipates sales of more than $450,000.00 in the coming year.
Mr. Brian Winch used the Mellinger Product Research Program to locate a source to manufacture his "LitterCatch", a cleanup tool used in his line of business. Using Mail Order techniques taught by Mellinger, he marketed "LitterCatch and a janitorial sales plan, "Cleaning For Cash". The result... $200,000.00 annual sales!
Stewart Heatter and Tony Schwartz received Free Advertising by following Mellinger advice. This fabulous publicity brought profit of $12,000.00 in only 10 days! Their earnings goal for the next twelve months ...$100,000.00. About the Mellinger Plan, Stewart and Tony state, "The World Trade/Mail Order Plan has given us a very real sense that dreams can be had as reality. It is the most comprehensive plan of its kind. We are truly grateful for not only the Plan itself, but to the staff at Mellinger also."
Nicole Allen, a 26-year-old former private secretary knew exactly what she wanted when she contacted The Mellinger Co. "I wanted my own business and I wanted to make money!" In twelve months after starting with a borrowed $500.00, she had paid off her previous bills and in six months made $45,000.00! She gives the Mellinger World Trade/Mail Order Plan and her International Traders Membership great credit for her rapid success. Do it this way, she says, and "anything can be done!"
Mamie Gipson of Texas, whose regular occupation is private duty nursing, operates her World Trade/Mail Order business as a sideline. She states, "I took the Mellinger World Trade Plan to improve my financial standing. First year, part time, I earned $4,500.00. Earnings have gone steadily upwards since. My profits with International Traders helped me pay off my home and buy a car. The Mellinger Plan offers outstanding opportunity for financial independence." Mamie Gipson deals with suppliers in Turkey, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Buying direct from overseas suppliers at truly below-wholesale prices and cutting out the middleman have proved a vital step in building her profits. The entire operation of her firm, The Gipson Company, is conducted from her home in her spare time.
These are only a few of the glowing reports and success stories on file at The Mellinger Co. They are quoted briefly here to show you how easily you can start your World Trade/Mail Order career by selling to your family, friends, co-workers, and clubs.
- BECOMING MORE INVOLVED
- Of course, you will not expect to continue selling to family and friends forever. You will want to move on to bigger and better ways of direct selling.
- SELL TO LOCAL MARKETS
- If you live in or near a town of any size, start calling on local businessmen. Use some selectivity. Choose those businesses that, in your judgment, would be inclined to use or sell the item you offer. Going through the yellow pages of the phone book is a good way to scout for prospects. Here are some fine reports of success attained by selling locally:
D.A. Currier "canvassed; about 30 gift shops on the East Coast. A dozen of them took interest in a plan I had concocted--they would use a portion of their advertising budgets to announce a Weekend Sale of Cuckoo Clocks "direct from Germany".
Carlo J. Flores tells of the sales methods that brought him success: "My chief methods of selling are sales letters to department stores, specialty shops, sporting goods dealers and gift shops, as well as personal selling to local stores."
James Carter, in Ohio: "So far, the cuckoo clocks have been my best sellers, with an excellent markup. I have them placed in several fine furniture stores in my area, where they really go over big. Then, an import store nearby takes many of my other imports and does a continuing business in anything I have to offer."
Don't overlook school districts, libraries, city and county offices. They are buyers, too. They often buy through purchasing agents--people whose full-time job is talking to and buying from suppliers like you. You will usually see such agents by an appointment which you can arrange by mail or over the phone.
Mahlon Rissler reports his success in selling to school districts. "I've become the exclusive distributor. for imported games, toys and science projects. On these particular educational items, our contacts with schools have been profitable. One school alone plans to give us an order of around $15,000."
Owners of small, one-man operations will usually talk to suppliers at any time during the business day. You can make these "cold" calls without an appointment. Larger concerns often set aside certain days or hours to meet with visiting vendors. Phone their offices to learn their buying days or interview schedules.
Retail stores, particularly gift and specialty shops, are an excellent outlet for Imports. Find them in the yellow pages, call on the owner/managers, and show them your samples. You may find these retailers more receptive to your imports if they don't have to invest in inventory, that is, if you will sell on consignment, or if you can provide display media (racks, cases, etc.) for your stock.
- SEASONAL ADVICE
- Dealing with seasonal selling requires only one skill: Planning. For example, in the northern hemisphere, think of ski equipment in July. Seasonal challenges will cause you to act well ahead of the targeted sales date. In some cases, seasonal quirks will compel you to put off action, such as delaying direct mailings during the Christmas season.
The culprit, of course, is the time lag in the machinery of trade. In Section 4 you will learn that getting a sample from the Orient could take as long as 70 days. Time lag affects exporting as well. Learn to flowchart your orders or shipments. Importers will try to tie the supplier down to a delivery time frame. Exporters will ship their goods within a period that assures timely delivery to the buyer.
The penalty for poor timing is storage cost. If your imported Christmas bells show up on January 2, you'll be on the hook for storage facilities. Where you can use your garage or home, storage may be only a nuisance. Otherwise, you may have to look to public storage or warehouses. Some goods tend to deteriorate over time, so the space factor can be only part of the cost. Make sure such goods are protected for freshness.
Remember that about 30% of retail store profit is generated during the Christmas season. Other seasons (like Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, etc.) are only profit foothills compared with the Christmas mountain. Get that one right by planning ahead.
- SELLING AT SWAP MEETS
- In recent years, these have been respectable and permanent. Sidewalks, parking lots, outdoor theaters and inner-city buildings have become part-time or full-time retail outlets. Used articles and inexpensive lines of new goods (many imports such as tools, clothing and electronics) are displayed in profusion at apparently bargain prices. Outdoor shopping at swap meets is fun, making them popular for family outings on holidays and weekends.
You won't get rich selling off a table at a swap meet. So it is recommended only as an interesting way to get started by learning merchandising literally from the ground up. Use swap-meet selling as an educational experience, then move on to areas with greater profit potential.
You might supply vendors at many swap meets with your line of imports. This is another matter, moving you out of direct selling into distribution, getting you involved with indirect selling where you can more readily make a fortune. We will get to indirect selling in the next paragraphs.
- SELLING PREMIUM OR "GIVE-AWAY" ITEMS
- Your import may be novel, inexpensive--or both. If so, consider it for premium sales. Banks and S&L's, real estate and insurance agencies buy give-away goods in volume. A bank might, for example, give a piggy bank to every child who opens a savings account. Or an hour-glass or pocket calculator to a new account customer. These could be good sales for you to make.
Other businesses buy advertising give-aways. Liquor stores give their customers bottle-openers, corkscrews or jigger glasses with a purchase. Consider your product for such use. High-volume sales could be the result.
- MINDING THE STORE
- One thinks immediately of a gift shop, a natural outlet for imported goods. But the gift shop is hardly a way to get started, since it involves the newcomer in large capital outlays coupled with risk. But the retail shop is a method of direct selling, and deserves mention here. If, however, your heart is set on operating a gift shop, see the paragraph below for special help. International Traders offers several excellent guides to help you in this area if such is your choice:
HOW TO START AND MANAGE YOUR OWN GIFT SHOP. Two volumes will tell you all you need to know about this kind of direct selling.
HOW TO SELL ANY PRODUCT OR SERVICE. Three volumes cover all selling techniques in detail.
DIRECT MARKETING GUIDE. Four big volumes are devoted to selling products. You will find therein eight pages on party-plan selling alone. Also lists of sources for finding manufacturers for your product ideas.
These and other good aids for World Trade/Mail Order operators can be ordered from International Traders Headquarters, 25620 Rye Cyn Rd. Unit B, Valencia CA, 91355. See Supplement A of your Plan for ordering information on the many business aids available from The Mellinger Co.
- INDIRECT SELLING METHODS
- There are some disadvantages in face-to-face selling. It is time consuming, it may involve you in extensive travel, it may require appointments in advance, etc. You may enjoy it and prosper doing it, but the goal of this Plan is to teach you the secrets of World Trade/Mail Order.
- SELLING FROM YOUR AD
- This is typical Mail Order. Here is how it works. Say you place an ad in a national magazine for your selected and tested product. Your customer sends you an order and a check in payment through the mail. You ship the customer the goods. Or, using the drop ship method mentioned before and throughout The Plan, your supplier ships your product directly to your customer. You don't even handle the goods or tie up your money in inventory.
- SELLING BY CATALOG
- Selling your imports via catalog is a variation of Mail Order. Suppose you want to offer a variety of items, or that you handle an entire line of goods--too many to feature in a single ad. You can have a catalog prepared (some printers specialize in this). Then you advertise your catalog, offering it free or for a small charge for handling and mailing. Your customer then selects and orders goods from your catalog. Walter Drake and Fingerhut are well known because of this method. It is still Mail Order, of course, but advertising techniques are special.
Customers are the most valued asset of any Mail Order business. One way to keep a continuity in customer contact is through a catalog. You can keep in close touch via your catalog and get repeat sales from them.
Gradually is the best way to get into catalog selling. Start by including circulars featuring your related items as "package stuffers" in your outgoing shipments. If someone buys a tool from you, that person may immediately order another tool if your package stuffer has appeal. After a while, your stuffer circulars can form the nucleus of your catalog. Let your catalog evolve gradually. It is much less expensive and much less of a risk.
- SELLING BY DIRECT MAIL
- Here is another way of selling products without personal contact. It is called Direct Mail. You start by assembling a package of sales literature. This package contains four elements:
1. A sales letter.
2. A brochure of the product.
3. An order form.
4. A return envelope.
You mail the above package to potential buyers. How do you get a list of people who might buy from you? The best way is to buy (rent) a list. Certain companies, called Name List Brokers or Data Base Marketers, will rent you lists of names classified just about any way you want them. Usually sold in units of a thousand, you can buy mailing lists composed of people pre-selected as likely to purchase goods through the mail.
Direct Mail is mentioned now by way of introduction. Section 8 of your Plan is devoted entirely to this subject.
- SELLING THROUGH DIRECT SALESMEN
- Operating through a sales force is another way to move your products without directly contacting consumers. You can arrange for professional salespeople to sell for you. You can sell your goods, at wholesale, to such salespeople. Using this method, you recruit salespeople by placing an ad outlining your offer in certain magazines. The salespeople answer, and you sign them up to handle your product or line. You act as a jobber, and they sell your goods for you.
It is possible to recruit and deal with your salespeople without ever meeting them. You will pay them part of your profit in the form of a commission. The high volume you enjoy in the arrangement should more than overcome your reduced profit. Working through a team of direct-selling salespeople makes it possible for you to extend your sales coverage within a very short time.
- KEEP THE BALL ROLLING
- You have now looked over the panorama of selling imports for profit. The keystone of success is sales. The best way to sell imports is through Mail Order. And you have been handed sales tips that range from selling to family and friends to businesses and governments. Selling methods--and especially Mail Order--will be looked at in much more detail in several Sections to come. Keep on reading.