Most callers are prepared with a great sales pitch. They will tell you how many people your message will reach... All the new customers and sales you will see... How much money you will save... et cetera! et cetera! et cetera!
They're there, pen in hand, ready for you to commit. Sometimes you don't even need a pen, your verbal ok is enough to seal the deal. Don't have cash? No worries, they won't bill you till next week. Or next month. Or when the publication comes out. It's so easy to say yes, but saying yes too often is a sure way to run out of money.
So, before you say yes to the pitch, follow these three steps.
First of all. Never, ever, say yes on the spot.
Collect as much information as possible. In writing. If they won't give you (or direct you to) written terms and details, SAY NO. It's not that hard. Repeat after me. "No." Or if you want to be polite "No, but thank you for thinking of us." These are not your friends or your family, you do not have to explain your reasoning to them. It's not their business and they don't really care anyway. Just say no and hang up or walk away. They may continue talking, but stop listening.
You cannot make an informed decision without -- at a minimum -- answers to the following questions. What, exactly, are they selling? What is the price? What are the terms? Who is the audience? What do you get for the quoted fee or donation? Are there additional fees for creating the copy or artwork? Who owns the copyright?
Second, do the math.
Most businesses budget 3% - 5% of their net sales for advertising and marketing. That means you need to realize $20 to $30 in INCREMENTAL sales for every dollar you spend on advertising.
That 1/8 page ad that costs $525? First, it really costs $625 if they create the artwork (and more if you want to own the copyright so you can use it again). Will it bring in $15,000 or more in new sales? If you can honestly say yes, then you should consider the expense. If not, then SAY NO.
Think $5,000 is a more realistic sales estimate? That $625 ad is going to cost you a whopping 13% of sales. That additional 10% would have been your profit. And, the only one making any money here is the company selling you the ad. If you willing to just hand over $625 to see your ad in print (online, on the radio, whatever) for absolutely NO return, then go for it. Otherwise, SAY NO.
Third, think about it.
You absolutely love running your own business. You are passionate about what you do and take pride in your work. You still have to pay the bills.
You work hard. Spend long hours at the shop. Put up with all kinds of annoyances. Because you love it. And, you still have to pay the bills.
We were recently approached with this very proposition. From one publisher, representing three separate local venues. They wanted us to spend a MINIMUM of $525 per venue. Plus artwork. Plus copyright fees. Our "ad" would be in a brochure for the venue, distributed to THEIR potential customers and online. The sales pitch? Provide their clients with a guide to the best event professionals in the area.
We were asked to participate in THREE separate publications. $30,000 - $45,000 in incremental revenue from just three venues? I think not. Can you say yes to one, and not risk your reputation with the other two? You cannot. That's why we advertise in the local bridal directory. It represents ALL vendors, and is distributed to ALL potential customers.
So, no, but thanks for thinking of us.