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Books, Bibles and Fast-Talkers

Every community has ’em. Fast talkers who roll

into town with a clever idea to sell to people in

business.

Many times the ideas are clever and cute but you

should weigh the ups and downs of every offer

before you dig out the checkbook. Most of these

in-town-for-a-day people want their cash up

front.

Some of the common flim-flams are:

Coupon Books

They offer to put you in a giant coupon book to be

sold for the needy charity or Lions Club. Books

are sold on the phone for $29 and delivered by

the Boy Scouts. Watch out for errors and missing

expirations once the operation has moved to

another town.

Telephone Book Covers

They wrap around the book and the callers see your

ad every time they reach for the book. Might be OK

if you own the wrecker service, locksmith or

funeral home, but run the other way if you have a

grocery, Mickey Dees, or bank.

City Maps

Your ad goes somewhere around the edge of the map.

You might get pitched by several companies. Some

look better than others, most are very pricey.

Pick up maps like these when you see them and

decide if you’d do business with anyone on the map

because of the ad. Distribution is the selling

point. Placement is the bug-a-boo. What if your ad

is on the back and the reader only looks at the

front? Don’t be fooled by the promise of radio ads

proclaiming free maps and mentioning your name.

Bibles for Newlyweds

I wish I had thought of this one 30 years ago.

I would be clipping coupons instead of writing

about it.

The fast talker promises to send a Bible to all

newlyweds in the county (the names and addresses

of the happy couples are public record at the

courthouse). Four to six sales at about $500 each

and they mail a one dollar Bible 4th class, a peel

and stick label stuck inside with the name of the

“sponsors” in inkjet color.

They can easily sell a town a day at 3 large and

make one trip a quarter to visit the courthouse

for names. Work it for two months on a route and

eat cake the other 10. A great moneymaker for the

Bible people, a dud for advertising effectiveness.

But like kids in school and American Flags, this

emotion sells well in every community.

There are hundreds of advertising “opportunities”

out there. Your job as a business owner is to

separate the effective from the cute and clever.

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