A Cure for the Frightened Turtle
Having worked with drycleaners for more than two decades, I’ve come to realize that, regardless of
potential return, the average guy doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on promotion. In fact, the mere
mention of investing a thousand dollars on direct mail, five hundred for the Yellow Pages or even two
hundred dollars on a newspaper ad can make a guy shrink like a frightened turtle. And, of course, the
bigger the risk the more frightening it becomes. Do you tend to duck
opportunities that carry risk? If so here’s an idea with no scare — a cure
for frightened turtles.
Ken owns an auto glass business and repairs cracked windshields for a
living. He is also a personal friend and a fellow member in a local
mastermind-marketing group. We meet every month to share our best
marketing ideas. (By the way, if you don’t have business friends outside the drycleaning industry, get
some… even if you have to start a small group yourself. Ideas from one industry are easily transplanted to
In spite of an advertising budget of nearly 4% of sales, Ken’s business failed to grow until he made a
startling discovery… a simple idea that got big results – FAST! Best of all, it’s low tech and inexpensive.
One day, almost by accident, Ken discovered that a number of jobs had come by referral from two of his
employees. The company didn’t have a formal referral program so Ken decided to go one step better and
make each employee into a salesperson. He printed personal business cards for 18 workers at four locations
and offered to pay each person a percentage on every job they managed to bring in simply by distributing
the cards. (The percentage would vary based on the type of job).
The cards were professionally designed on thick stock and printed in full color on both sides with a high
gloss finish. Each was personalized with the employee’s name and included a strong offer prominently
displayed on the front with a list of advantages to be gained from doing business w