What Is An Opportunity Seeker? (written March, 2003)

Advertising costs for the home entrepreneur can have devastating results if the “cards are not played right” regardless of what you’re selling. You need to find out specifics about the market you’re going to promote your ads to. Whether it is a small classified ad, a flyer mailing, a postcard offer or a simple email sales message. Technology has not changed the basic human instincts of those who want to make money at home. Selling to “Opportunity Seekers” has been a long tradition both in mail order and now on the net. Selling lists is big, big business! But what you don’t hear about are the conditions that many of these “Seekers” have, which will have a direct effect on whether you ever hear from them again.

For advertising, it must be realized that there’s an inherent problem with the phrase “Opportunity Seeker.” In reality it’s meaningless as is, and has certain restrictions – what ifs, buts, and however. The term “Opportunity Seeker” has as much significance as the term “Homeowner.” The fact is: anyone looking to make money at home is an “Opportunity Seeker”. What entrepreneurs need to understand is that not every Opportunity Seeker is even remotely interested in what they have to sell! Why? Because every one of them has their own list of “what I want to do and spend and what I don’t want to do and spend.” That’s the reason you need to do something very simple: ask questions before you spend your money trying to sell to “Opportunity Seekers.”

Advertisers should understand that “Opportunity Seekers” fall into many different categories and even sub-categories. If you are going to spend money to reach them, you’d better know the path your arrow is going to travel to the target. Consider the following for example, and these assume the addresses you have are even accurate!

Many people listed as seeking opportunity info did not ask to be put on any list. Many people listed are merely “Seekers” and have no intention of spending money. Many people listed have no intention of spending more than a minimal amount. Many people listed do not want MLM and related programs. Many people listed want to do “arm chair” selling and want something easy. Many people listed do not want to do “personal selling.” There are many people listed who believe if your product or service is priced under a certain amount, then it probably is worthless! Many people listed are on fixed income and can’t afford you!

As you can probably see, the categories above go on and on and on to the extent that the initial use of the term “Opportunity Seeker” becomes meaningless unless you add “only under the following conditions” following the word!

How can you determine if they are genuinely interested? Disregard the term of “Opportunity Seeker” and remember that in business, everyone is human. Anyone in business knows that if a reply is received from an ad or mailing, the person sending it gives a “perception” of him or herself in the inquiry. Bottom line is: If anyone is genuinely interested in your offer and has money to spend for it, they will give some half-hearted effort to at least send you a letter on stationery.

Again risking generalization, it’s evident that if you receive an inquiry on a “sticky”, on a 3 x 5 card, or on a torn sheet of paper, you’re going to mail your sales material out, and you’re not going to hear another thing from that person again. The same applies to the millions of “form letters” people send out that say they are interested in your product or service. Both “Seekers” and “Sellers” need to remember that sales material costs money to produce, stamps cost money, printing costs money, envelopes cost money, and if you’re e-mailing the list costs money. Advertisers are usually not going to mail out their sales material to “Seekers” who request information “on the back of a napkin.” The image projected by the inquiry alone reveals the sender is not really that enthusiastic about making a purchase. In essence, inquiries such as these will no doubt fall into one of the main categories mentioned already.

The sales material we send to inquiries cost us over $1.00 to send out. Not much by itself, but when you’re mailing hundreds weekly or monthly, those costs mount up. And the last thing you want to do is mail your package to a “black hole” that will go nowhere. When we spot the “pattern” of the opportunity seeker showing up in the inquiries, we cannot afford to continually respond to them. Thus they go to file 13! And none of them re-sends the inquiry complaining we didn’t respond. Not in 29 years of doing business! What can the entrepreneur do? There’s a very big difference between “seekers” and “buyers.” In reality, you should concentrate on finding lists and names of “buyers” (as opposed to “inquirers”), and then take it one step further and find out what they were buying. Was it books? Reports? MLM? Associate programs? There’s no sense targeting those who really don’t want to hear from you.

If you’re going to target the “seekers,” ask questions! If 50% of the list was asking about “how to” books, there’s an educated guess that they probably will not entertain your sales material about an MLM program. But you won’t know that until you ask the source of the list! What are their restrictions? Have they told the source of the list to only list them for certain items? Ask. Ask. Then ask again! Responsible list managers will know the answers to many of the questions. On the same hand, many list owners won’t know, but may try to convince you otherwise. Try to personally contact the source and get a feel with your questions. “Go with your gut” as they say. If your source does not know the answer to the many questions you should have, and you purchase the list anyhow, you’re about to enter a very dark cave with a very dim flashlight….

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