What Came First – The Chicken Or The Egg? (written April, 2010)

I recently received a letter from a mail order friend – I’ll keep his name anonymous so he won’t feel like I am insulting him. Since I get this type of letter and these types of telephone calls daily, I thought I would address it in this article, with an explanation preceding his letter to me.

His letter reads like this, “Dear Larry, I have received mailings from you before and I like what you are doing. However I have never had any success with these types of offers. Maybe I am a bad “picker” or something. I have never received a response that justified the expense. I recently mailed out 600 pieces of a program and received a zero response – nothing!  Can you honestly tell me what you have that pulls orders? I can no longer throw offers at people without knowing for sure they pull orders. I just need some assurance that they will pull orders and I will not be wasting my time, money and credibility.”

First off, thanks for writing the letter. If I get this letter once a week, I get it 25 times! I wish I wouldn’t get this type of letter because the person who writes this type of letter is cheating himself – cheating himself out of opportunity. The guy who wrote this letter I am sure is a nice guy, a smart guy, a guy who actual can be successful – problem is – his attitude is all wrong!

There are very serious flaws in his letter to me. What are those flaws? Well what came first? The Chicken or the Egg? I don’t know – nobody knows.

What do you think came first? The proven program or the proven distributor? Again I don’t know the answer – I don’t think anybody knows. This is my opinion though: There are no proven programs that work! There are only proven distributors that work the programs. That is the difference between a successful attitude and a failing attitude.

Again in my opinion as long as a program is run by an honest guy who is accessible to answer simple questions and as long as the program fits into what our industry is looking for then it is up to you, the proven distributor, to make it a winner. I call this the health spa dilemma. What do I mean? Well I go work out at the gym every morning. I signed up for a membership, so therefore, I bought the use of the gym. Does the gym work? No it doesn’t – not if I don’t use the equipment. Same holds true with these programs – do they work? No not if distributors don’t promote them. That is the problem with this guy’s attitude – he is looking for a program that works for him instead of making the program work for him. Too many people I talk to and that write to me fall into this failing attitude. If you like a program and believe it to be legit, then it is up to you to make it work! If you think the opposite, you will fail.

Now on to the next dilemma. Is this guy being realistic by telling me he gave a program a “try” by mailing out only 600 pieces? This guy isn’t a “bad picker” – he is a bad “committer”. I am not naïve – I know very well that it is very discouraging to get no response – but 600 pieces? Maybe this guy needs to include a cover letter? Mail to a better mailing list? Make a better offer to get people to join? Etc.etc.etc. There are many, many, many improvements we all can make with our mailing pieces – but instead of telling me that he mailed out 600 pieces – and giving me the “how came the program isn’t working?” attitude – maybe this guy and many of you should take the attitude I take – I mailed 600 pieces and got nothing – what did I do wrong? What can be improved with my mailing piece to make the program I am working work for me!

In my opinion, which many of you ask for daily, if a person is only going to commit to 600 pieces, no way will this person ever succeed with any program. And I am sure too many of you make the cardinal sin of not writing a personalized cover letter giving the 600 people reasons and benefits on why to join with you right now. I can also guess that this guy probably mailed to 600 people who didn’t know him. That’s a bad mix, which all too many of you do all too often – mailing an offer without reasons or benefits to people who don’t know you. Would you get involved if you got this type of letter? Obviously not! But you are doing it thinking you are trying.

I am not a “know it all.” I don’t have all the answers for people. I think a person needs to find a program that they believe in and then a person needs to make a much better commitment towards making that program work for them. How? By promoting it. If a promotion fails at first, improve upon it and try again and keep trying until a promotion does work! Do you see the difference? If this guy committed to the program and if after 600 pieces failed, he tried another method of promotion to make this program work for him, I am sure with constant improvement of his advertising, he would have succeeded with whatever he is doing.

And that is another problem I hear constantly – a program is simply the vehicle to make money. The method of promotion you use to promote the program or the vehicle is the difference between whether you succeed or not. Too many people confuse the program and the promotion as one in the same. Two separate but important items. You can have a good program with a bad promotion. Promotion is the “gas” your vehicle needs to use for success. Constant improvement of your promotion is what separates the winners from the losers.

By the way, just for the record, my promotions consistently pull .5-.8% response to people who don’t know me and 2.6% to people who do know me. The programs definitely work when I make the promotions work for me! I make offers, benefits and am accessible to answer my telephone for further explanations. It’s called commitment. And to my friend who wrote me this letter and to the many others who write to me time and time and time again, don’t worry about the program working for you, worry about your commitment to that program. Worry about you working the program. Why don’t you give commitment at try? Commitment works! That is the only thing that does! What came first? The chicken or your commitment?

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.