Stop Pretending To Be Psychic.

Scott M. Posted this question in the FaceBook mastermind group today:



Scott has ran into a dilemma that virtually every 9×12’er faces eventually.

“I have been discouraged by some businesses because they don’t want to advertise again on the postcard since they didn’t see a ROI”.

Here’s an easy way to stop feeling discouraged: don’t expect them to re-up in the first place.

If they do… great, because you didn’t expect it (it was a nice surprise).

You’ll sell a ton of ads and get recurring advertisers in the process that you didn’t even plan for.

That’s one simple way of handling it, but let’s get a little deeper.


Most of This Game is Psychological


The perception of things can be wildly altered depending on how you present it.

What if your lovely spouse worked extremely hard all day, was exhausted and hungry, and you told her you’ll take her out for a really nice dinner.

…But you took her to Subway.

She’d be pissed as all heck right?

Would she be hungry anymore? No, but she’d be let down because you didn’t deliver on the hype.

You could have simply gone out and picked up something up quick and she’d appreciate how you went out of your way so she wouldn’t have cook dinner that night. She’d probably be happy as a clam.

But since you gave her the impression you’d be taking her somewhere really nice you set her up to only be let down.

YOU caused it!

With 9×12, if you’re going to hinge your offer on response — and you can’t deliver it — they’re going to be discouraged, period.

And you can’t control their response, no matter how good their offer is.

A good offer can influence response but it’s not the magic solution. Some businesses have terrible reputations that people won’t simply respond to, or maybe there’s just not a lot of “match in the market” for what they’re offering.

50% off a colonoscopy isn’t going to get Dr. Buttberger’s phone ringing off the hook.

Instead of telling him you’ll send him fifty new patients (which you can’t control), try telling him you’re going get every household in Oak Hills to know about his practice;  and that every month they’re going to get this behemoth-sized miniature billboard placed right in their hands to remind them for when they’re ready.

Maybe they won’t go right then and there, but at some point they’re going to need what he offers and that he should want to be right at the top of their minds when they do, right?

If this guy even gets one person to call in from the ad at some point, he’ll think you’re a gift from heaven.

See… If you sell them on exposure and other things rather than response, virtually any response they get will have them ecstatic. Even no response will be totally fine, which is the beauty of selling on exposure.


It’s Important NOT to Take Shortcuts


Let’s say you’re a personal trainer specializing in weight loss. What would happen if you told your new clients they’ll shed 30 pounds in 30 days… and at the end of the month they only weighed ten pounds less?

They’d become discouraged, stop training, and go back to eating hot pockets all day while ordering fitness products on TV and drying laundry on the nordic-trac setup in the corner of the “cat” room.

They signed up with you because they felt they would have a good shot at shedding 30 pounds. 

They spent their money with you because you took the easy way out and let them think you’d produce a miracle.

Like it or not, that’s the art of BS’ing!

When the miracle they assumed you’d perform didn’t happen, they stop doing business with you.

Now if you told those exact same clients that they can’t expect miracles and they need to be realistic about things, you might very well have a client for a long time, instead of a month or two. And they’ll appreciate doing business with you over the long-haul.

But it’s a little more difficult to sell, because it doesn’t involve you using the easy way out (response).


Benefits Are Your Friend
(the other way around sounded too Risqué)


You must find reasons to sell them other than by a magic bullet.

Amateur salespeople always try to sell the magic bullet. It’s the easiest thing to pitch and close on, and it becomes a crutch. If you want to mature as a salesperson, and close more deals that payoff over years, you’ll learn that you don’t have to promise the world just to make a sale.

Just promise the things you can deliver on, deliver on them,  and I promise you, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’ll find long-term success.

It’s about the benefits they’ll receive, not the features you offer. By linking a benefit along with every feature you talk about, you’ll instantly become a better closer.

Rather than promising someone 30lbs in 30 days, the trainer can show his clients how they’ll feel healthy, stronger, and more energetic.

That’s a start.. (those are features).

A better way is to start linking some benefits with each feature:

You’ll be healthier… so you won’t be worrying about having a heart attack in five years.

You’ll be stronger…  think of how you’ll take your shirt off at the beach and have every girl staring at you.

You’ll be more energetic… able to outrun everyone on your mens softball team.


When thirty days rolls around… and they step on the scale, and they’re twelve pounds lighter… it’s an amazing experience for them rather than a let-down like the 30lb/30day crap.

You prevented them from being discouraged because you did not set expectations you couldn’t deliver on, and anything that happened along the way was just a sweet bonus.

You sold them on what you can control and showed them how it would benefit ’em.


Are You a Clairvoyant, Mon?


Since you can’t control response on postcards, there’s no reason (besides trying to make an easy sale) you should be giving them the idea that you can see into the future.


At least give yourself a Jamaican accent for credibility purposes.

If you’re going to be in business for the long run, you’ve got to stop trying to perform miracles. Think about this: every traditional media agency out there would be crumbling into pieces if they sold advertisers on response.

Can you imagine a billboard sales guy telling every client he’ll deliver a 1% response? With 80,000 cars passing by daily you can see how fast he’d be out of business.

Outside of the digital space, virtually all advertising is sold on exposure and brand recognition. So you, regardless of the fact that you sell a much superior product, still need to play by the rules and not cut your own throat.

Now, listen closely here, I’m not saying that you have to turn everyone down when they seem only concerned with response rate and ROI… by all means take their money please! Just don’t be discouraged when they don’t advertise again right way.


“Thank You Come Again”


Don’t be the offline equivalent of the Bangladeshi SEO firm who promises page one google rankings in 30 days or less. Some 9×12’ers do essentially the same thing and wonder why no one wants to do business with them again on the next card.

So how do you control recurring rates?

Do you know how newspapers, billboards, valpak, clipper, TV, Radio, and others get clients to keep advertising over and over? They place them into contracts and agreements for a period of time.

Instead of crossing their fingers and hoping they’ll keep advertising (which you can’t control), they get them to lock in a contract term (therefore gaining control).

There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same. Yes you’re card may be new, and it’s harder to get people to sign up for many months at a time, but once you pop off a few cards and can claim legitimacy’ you better start getting those agreements.

Pitch it as a positive, they need to understand you don’t want them wasting their money on one ad, no more than they’d put one tv commercial on. You can also tell them you don’t want the recipients to just see them once, you want the recipients to be able to catch another deal from them each month in case they missed one.

See how clever and powerful that is? I bet many of you reading this never even thought of spinning it that way, making it seem as if they recipients want to see them over and over.

Get a simple three or six month agreement together (plainly worded) and give them a discount for signing up to it. Now you can start building a real business with even better predictable income.


Throw Logic Out the Window!


Lastly, here’s another part of the post that I should chuck my two cents into:

“But I want this to work for businesses too; if it does, they will keep using it time and time again, making my job easier”.

Another example of how theory doesn’t translate to reality. Your statement sounds 100% perfect in theory. I mean it’s as bulletproof as it comes.

Why wouldn’t someone keep advertising if they keep getting response?

Any of you who’ve been around the block long enough will know that what goes through business owners minds is far beyond any reasonable logic. In fact, virtually all my highest paying and longest lasting clients don’t give one flying hoot about how much response they get.

The advertisers who re-up the least are usually the ones that get the most response. They’ll run an ad a few times, and six months later whine about a dry spell and do it again for a couple months.

These pea-brains think every time they advertise they’re losing money by people coming in and using coupons, so they only do it once in a while, and it’s impossibly difficult to tell them otherwise.

My lunches are paid for by response-driven advertisers. My car and house payments are paid by clients who appreciate reaching the local market in the most powerful way — with response just being a nice byproduct when it happens.





Creating Objections. What?

Create objections? Why on gods green earth would we ever want to do that? There’s a simple answer, we want to be able to handle objectiions that we KNOW we can overcome (or at least have a serious shot at solving).

By the way, when you hear things like “I’ll have to think about it and get back to you…” those aren’t real objections. Those are just excuses to get you to leave. You have to make sure you’re dealing with an actual objection if you want to overcome it.

Pretty much every single objection out there can be narrowed down to price. Just think if a 50,000 piece direct mail campaign only cost $10 to do, would there be a “I have to think about it” objection? No way.

You can overcome nearly any B.S. objection they throw your way by making the cost attractive enough. You can accomplish this by actually creating a cost objection yourself, so that everything hinges on the cost rather than some other excuse.

In a nutshell:

  1. Determine your target selling price.
  2. Give them an initial price that’s most likely out of the reach of their budget.
  3. Offer them a massive discount if they commit right now. (this will be the price you want to get)

If you don’t offer a discount to do it NOW and you don’t force them to object to the price, have fun getting those “I’ll think about it” excuses…



Valpak Venom

Note: Even though this is fairly focused on the brand ‘valpak’, it completely applies to any competing shared direct mail product.”Clipper” is another common one that’s similar for example.

Until we show them what the main differences are, prospects are going to only be comparing us on the pricing and distribution, in which case we lose.

One of the most common problems that people email me with is that they don’t know how to “beat valpak”. In case you don’t know what “valpak” is, it’s a nationally franchised business that offers a direct mail envelope chock full of coupons that get mailed to consumers in a familiar blue envelope. It looks like this: .

(you can download one of their media kits here)

The most common place that you might notice a valpak envelope is sitting in your trash bin, since that’s where they’re most likely to end up! Valpak has a rock solid brand developed over 40 years, however it’s really easy for us to ‘beat’ even though we’re the new guy in town.

Screwy Stats

First of all, who would want to do business with complete liars? Valpak claims that almost NINE out of ten people open up and look through the valpak envelope that comes in the mail. Are they kidding us? This is the most blatant lie and manipulated statistic I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example of their crazy ‘fact’:

Now that you know how crazy this company is and what they’ll stoop to, let’s talk about how we can make ourselves look better.

Be tactful and courteous.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to not automatically start swinging your fists when someone mentions ‘valpak’. You don’t always know how the prospect feels about them and you definitely don’t want to hurt your chances of closing the deal. Believe it or not, some companies do get results and are happy with valpak.

The optimal strategy is to show them how unique your offer is and let them decide to try your service out. If we educate them about why our service is better and we make it clear that we’re not even in the same category, they should bite.

Business owners are going to group our service in the same category as valpak and our job is to get ourselves out of that ‘same’ category. Our product is much different and much better in almost every single way. To be honest, there’s almost nothing comparable between us besides we both use the mail.

1.) Price, mailing size and open rate

Valpak charges advertisers around $25 – $35 per thousand mailings, and typical mailings are ten thousand, twenty thousand, and twenty five thousand homes. That means they mail to more people than we typically do, and it costs less. This is where the ‘open rate’ comes into play in our favor, and it’s our first main advantage. Now if you use Valpak’s B.S. statistic of 85% open rate, we wouldn’t stack up but I don’t know ANYONE who believes that bogus stat.

Valpak’s true open rate is probably less than 20% and that’s being generous. I don’t even know if I believe in 1 out of 6 opening their envelopes, much less 9 out of 10 like they hype. So that’s the first thing that you should mention when explaining the difference between our offer and valpak. Our single postcards have a 100% open rate that is unquestionable. What does it matter if you send 20,000 pieces out if only a tenth of them actually open the envelope and look in?

2.) Exclusivity

The second advantage that our system offers over valpak is that we refuse to feature competitors. We only showcase one offer per industry on our cards. With valpak, the small percentage of people who actually do open it have to sift through dozens of pages to end up at yours, and there most likely will be 3 or 4 competitors right along side it. If your advertiser is getting response from valpak, and the direct competitor(s) are advertising as well, they’re probably getting response too. That means if the competitors weren’t featured, those leads would be going to your prospect and not their competitor.

3.) New customer generation

The third advantage over valpak is the ability to generate more new customers to your advertisers. In my experience, this is the icing on the cake and if you went over the last two advantages, this will get you to the point where our service is unquestionably unique.

Business owners LOVE getting new customers. New customers can be turned into repeat customers which make them more money. The problem with shared ‘closed’ mediums like valpak/smart shopper/clipper/etc., is that they typically get the same group of people opening them every month. You’ll hear this from business owners all the time, that they see the same people coming in over and over with the coupons each month.

Our system is ‘open’ which means it doesn’t require someone to actively look through and search for deals. We deliver a ‘forced’ exposure that gets the offers in front of the targets eyeballs whether they like it or not. This skyrockets the potential to bring in NEW customers tremendously. It brings in the people who aren’t routinely digging through coupon books.

Hot Buttons

All of these advantages are very powerful however advantage #3 will really ‘push their buttons’.

With direct response marketing, you always want to think of what your customer really wants; and getting in fresh new customers is one of them. When you can push the right buttons, you’ll get the sale. Business owners LOVE the idea of getting brand-new customers coming in. They love it ten times more than getting existing customers in.

The distinct advantage that we have is that our postcard forces people to look at it, whether they want to or not. Valpak gets the same people over and over again looking in their envelopes. Like any shared coupon book, valpak suffers from drawing in the same coupon redeemers time and time again, so make sure to make this clear to them and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is for them to suddenly understand why our prices are a bargain even though they’re higher.

Don’t require an A or B decision.

If your prospect is using valpak currently, PLEASE remember that you aren’t trying to get them away from them and into your product. You simply want them to try yours out, that’s all. If valpak is working for them then by all means they should keep doing it and use yours as well. You’re fighting an objection that doesn’t even exist if you spend time trying to convince them how valpak is a waste of money.

If they had bad experiences with valpak in the past, then by all means slaughter them to no end and point out the critical differences our card provides, but don’t go in attack mode for no reason.

 Business owners should keep doing anything that’s providing an ROI for them, period. If it makes money, keep doing it over and over.


  1. Don’t start killing valpak if they aren’t pissed at them in the first place.
  2. Explain how our ‘open rate’ is more effective than their distribution rate.
  3. Explain that we don’t feature any competitors
  4. Explain how our system brings in new customers rather than existing coupon repeaters

It’s really just a simple process of explaining the key differences and why our offer is well worth a shot. Once they see results from our system, then you can work on getting them to spend more on you rather than valpak but for now you just want to get them to try you out, that’s all. Don’t make it more complex than that.

Split-Strike Method: Part 5

Striking a deal



Split-Strike: Introduction

Split-Strike Part 2: Mailing

Split-Strike Part 3: Seeding

Split-Strike Part 4: Pricing


Split-Strike Method: Part 4

Pricing Strategy



Split-Strike: Introduction

Split-Strike Part 2: Mailing

Split-Strike Part 3: Seeding

 NEXT: > Split-Strike Part 5: Striking