Finding What Sells, then Deciding on What to Sell
This is the fourth in a series of articles to do with Direct Sales and Marketing for the month of February. So let’s learn more about how to find what sells and then how to decide on what is right for you to sell……..
The basic secret to success in the direct mail business is to follow the leader. This is especially true when you are just starting out. Why should you spend the money and time to test products, prices and places to advertise?
One place to look is in the newspaper or magazine, and these are freely available at the library. Study every copy of each magazine that advertises direct mail products. Take a good look at the classified section, then write to dozens of these offers, especially where they are offering something for free! Take a look at the sales literature that you receive. You may even try purchase a few products to see what is being sold for the money asked.
Also, once you begin to see some patterns in the advertising in newspapers and magazines, then search on the internet to see whether there are patterns on the internet as well. Most people when they need something will go to the internet and do a search for it, so once you have got a broad idea of what is selling well by looking in newspapers, then look online at the way that other people are presenting the product or service. Notice what patterns keep appearing with regards to a particular product.
Join various email lists of sellers who are selling the things you think you might like to sell, and start receiving the free emails that they are sending out. You’ll get alot of ideas from these emails for your own business. You’ll see how other sellers are presenting their products, and you might even see some things that they are doing that you don’t like as well, which helps you to avoid doing these things in your own business.
Aim to Notice the Patterns
If you review past issues of these magazines and newspapers in the library, you will notice the ads that repeat month after month. Advertisers who continue to place ads have products that SELL! What are these products? Which ones would you like to promote?
Consider the trends in the various magazines. You may notice similar ads for the same products listed one after the other. They all sell! And that is where you should begin.
What to Sell
What products grab you? Which ones would you like to sell, as a one-shot and later as a product line? Maybe you already have a sound interest in specific products that are solid direct mail products, such as stamps and coins, books or jewellery.
Plans and kits are great to sell through decorating and handicraft publications. You may already make something at home that you can easily write instructions for others to make also, and manufacture an inexpensive kit to sell to do-it-yourselfers.
Specialised information is one of the most profitable products in the direct mail business. Knowledge and information that you have written yourself will give you the highest return. Whether you sell pre-recorded cassettes or small folders or booklets, you can keep your overheads down and profits high. Mass producing specialised information can be surprisingly inexpensive – and there’s a high demand.
There are a few rules to follow when choosing what to sell. Never work with anything that won’t bear a high mark-up per item. Calculating the advertising costs and mailing, you have to make a good profit per order.
Also, consider the weight of the product and it’s ability to be sent through the mail. Can you mail it in a manila envelope? Padded mailers or small boxes are also easy to mail. Think twice about large or heavy items that are expensive to send.
Your product must be easy to advertise. In order to get inquiries through classified or display ads, you must be able to describe the product effectively with only a few words. New inventions rarely sell well by direct mail. People like to buy a mainstream product – which is where you will make the most money.
Finally, consider the potential of the product. If you begin with monogrammed bags, do you want to continue with an entire line of luggage, cases and overnight or cabin bags? Where can you go after you have success with your first product? If you are producing and distributing information, what is the potential for more products with the same subject matter?
A basic element of the direct mail business is building repeat business. If you keep within a similar line of products, you can sell to the same customers time and time again.
Eventually, you will have distributed many similar products through direct mail. You may find one product to be a seller year after year. And you may be content with that. Or, you may substitute your stock to improve the potential sales and actual profit.
Think carefully about what type of product line you want to get into! You will be living with it for a while, and you must have enthusiasm, because it is through your product that your desires will be fulfilled and from which you will make money!
If you understand how Multi-level companies operate you may like to set up your mail order business using the same principles. Multi-level companies sell excellent quality products. The shampoo and conditioner I use, the cream I put on my face every night, the mail order printing company I utilize as well as the many other products and services I order through the mail are products I could never purchase locally. Many mail order businesses are set up in a Multi-level fashion so that the people who are introducing others to this way of doing business also become their trainer.
So it is important that firstly, they know what they are talking about, and secondly, they pass on that knowledge fully and truthfully so that the people in their team can go on to become successful for themselves. This is one way of running a business that combines two types of systems in order to gain the most benefits, and if you decide to do things this way you are most likely to succeed if your product has been created by you ie. Books, tapes, videos etc.
Market Research has to do with the selection of the proper product, identifying your ‘most likely’ buyers, and getting your product offer to these people.
Please read more in my next article…….