It doesn't matter what you're selling by mail. Unless you've
progressed beyond the point of being a one man operation, you've
got many options open to you for increasing your sales right in
your backyard. These secondary markets for your products are
usually unexplored by smaller dealers, but think of it this way:
If it sells by mail, why won't it sell retail? And of course
you'll realize there is no reason at all why it won't.
Whether you sell printed matter, food, merchandise of any kind,
you know you get an excellent price when you buy it, and you pay
an enormous amount to get it to the public through the mails.
That means you can probably undercut that price when you
wholesale or retail it locally. Unless you sell specialty items
of interest only to certain groups of people such as other mail
order dealers, you'll find a ready market just about anywhere
for your wares.
If you've chosen your product line wisely, you carry a number of
items rarely seen in retail stores. Perhaps they should be.
Show samples to the retailers in your area and offer to
wholesale items to him. Even if they're dropshipped, you can
afford to take a smaller commission on a bulk sale since your
capital expenditure only is involved, not the cost of postage
and literature as well.
The retail field is not limited to the shops in your area.
Chances are good that more than a few flea market operators live
nearby who might be interested in handling some of your
products, especially if you can give them a substantial
discount. Other excellent outlets for lower-priced items are
variety stores. They frequently handle all manner of novelties
and interesting consumer goods, especially if they sell for
If you handle a variety of reports you might wangle yourself a
column in your local newspaper. It's true, most of them are
junk and not of much use to the general public, but more than
likely, the ones you buy yourself are excellent reading for all
types of people and consist of information few know about.
Since they're available for you to reprint when you purchase
them and therefore not legally copyrighted, you can put them
into a column under your name, provided you don't take credit
for actually writing them. Show some of the better pieces to
the editor of your local weekly paper and see what they have to
say. You might be surprised how easy it is to get involved in a
Here's another idea for selling your reports. Why not put them
into envelopes printed with the contents, or on a display card
that tells the buyer what he's getting?
Naturally, you won't be able to put a $10 reports collection
over on the general public for what you paid for it, but even at
$2 or $3, you're making plenty over your printing costs. (In
fact, these collections were packaged specifically with the
secondary market in mind. With a suitable cover, or even
without, they can be sold as-is, as minibooks.)
You can float them in flea markets and variety stores, even
bookstores, but we advise you you'll probably have to leave them
on consignment since this is not a common means of merchandising
information and retailers will be reluctant to give you your
If you're marketing one of the more successful lines of books,
the catalogs of unusual books usually advertised as "not sold in
stores", you might try taking catalogs around to local
booksellers and taking orders.
If you approach the book store owner on his own level, you
should probably discover you'll rarely come away without an
order, especially if you can give him a worthwhile markup in
addition to your commission, which you must make smaller than
your regular 50% or so.
Don't balk at doing this, because you'll more than make up for
it by pulling down multiple sales in almost every case. Many of
the titles we've seen are genuine bargains even at regular mail
order prices and will appeal to your local bookseller.
For unusual items with a very wide appeal, here's something that
could turn out to be a massive profit-puller. Either take one
publication or a group of reports, print 1,000 8-1/2x11 flyers
with information on both sides and deliver them door to door in
We'll admit this is a real gamble, but the right product with
the right sales material could turn a profit big enough to make
you an amazing profit in an incredibly short time by blanketing
your city with these flyers. A line of household goods could be
sold in the very same manner.
We're sure there are more unexplored mail order product markets,
but our creativity runs only so deep. Perhaps you've thought of
others worth test-marketing already. If so, by all means try
them! Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it
can't be done, and just because it has failed in the past
doesn't mean it will fail again.