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Should You Send Direct Mail Before Trying to Sell Someone by Phone?

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In a recent online discussion the question was asked: Does it pay to send out a direct mailing piece before trying to sell someone by phone?

I had a slightly unconventional slant on this topic, as I think you'll agree.

Let me share an interesting tale with you.

A major publisher sent out millions of direct mail pieces.

Then, it followed-up with a call, using the "after-mailing" pitch that I detail in my best-selling books.

The campaign, which became ongoing, was a huge success.

What is especially noteworthy is that the publisher called far more people than the number of mailers it sent out. Let's say it sent out two million brochures.

After that, it phoned five times as many people. Clearly, the "pass-along" rate wasn't five-to-one.

When it came time to assess its success, there was no material difference in response between people that recalled getting the mailing and those that didn't.

There were many people that simply quipped, "Well, I tend to toss everything of that nature that comes my way," which is to say they may or may not have received it.

Their memories were completely unreliable, but this didn't stop the marketers from continuing with their presentations.

"Well, I'm the same way!" they beamed, creating identification and camaraderie. "I round-file a lot of that stuff-Let me bring you up to date. It would have told you about…"

And typically, the conversations proceeded to a close, and quite often resulted in sales.

THE LEARNING POINT: Prior mailings can help to soften resistance to a subsequent sales call. But merely REFERRING to the mailer was sufficient to enhance the credibility of the caller and the company even when the prospect didn't recall seeing the actual brochure.

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