Would you like more new customers than you can handle? And to be able to do this using free advertising?
Then you need to get on TV.
But getting on TV is impossible, right?
Wrong! In fact, today I’m going to show you how an AWAI idea helped me get millions of dollars of free advertising on a national TV show. And how, with a little effort, you can do the same thing.
The story starts on November 17, 2006. That’s the day I opened a small pet business in Los Angeles. It was also the day I discovered that people would not line up outside my business and beg me to take their money, just because I hung an “Open” sign on my door.
And since I had bills to pay … overhead to cover … and food to put in the kibble bowl … I had to get my phone ringing.
So here’s what I did:
I drove to Barnes and Noble. I made my way to the “I’m desperate for some business” section. And after thumbing through a few marketing books, I discovered an idea that sounded like it might work.
AWAI talks about this idea all the time.
So a few days later, I tested it.
And to my surprise, my phone started to ring.
So I tried it again, and my phone rang some more.
Months later, this little idea helped me add dozens of new customers to my schedule. It kept Franklins in my register. Eventually, it helped me dominate my neighborhood, since my competitors were not aware of this idea.
But why stay small?
I figured I’d test this idea on a bigger scale, to see if it would get my business featured on a national TV show. Deep down, I didn’t really believe my plan would work. But you never know until you try.
Here’s what happened next:
I launched this campaign on a national scale. And a few weeks later, my phone rang. I’ll never forget what my employee said to me, “Wes, you have to take this call. It sounds urgent.”
I never expected who was on the phone. Or what they would say to me. But my life was about to change, in a big way …
“Hello. This is Wes. How can I help you?” I said.
“Wes. This is Kay Sumner. I’m the producer of Cesar Millan’s TV show The Dog Whisperer. I was wondering if you’d want to be on Cesar’s show?” Kay asked.
Be on Cesar Millan’s TV show? Was this really happening?
I must have said “yes,” because a month later, Cesar’s van pulled up outside of my business. A bevy of cameramen … makeup artists … lighting guys … assistants … assistants to assistants … and everyone in between — herded into my 850-square-foot business.
And then, an imaginary drumroll echoed in my business … as … the man of the hour waltzed in with a posse of dogs in tow.
The first thing Cesar said to me, as we sat down, and went “hot” — was his famous line … “How can I help you?”
To make a long story short, Cesar and I had killer chemistry. In fact, once the cameras rolled, we never stopped yakking … except for a lunch break. I still remember the cameramen getting peeved because they couldn’t change tape fast enough, while Cesar and I went on another tangent.
I asked Cesar how he got on Oprah’s couch.
I asked Cesar how he hooked up with celebrity actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
I even asked Cesar how he snuck across the border, which was a question I probably shouldn’t have asked.
In between my Larry-King-like questioning, Cesar and I used many of his training philosophies on three “troubled” dogs in my store.
Twelve hours later, Cesar and his team left.
Six months after that, my show aired on The National Geographic Channel.
But perhaps most impressive is what happened when I walked into my store after that TV show aired: As I flicked on the lights, I noticed my answering machine was flashing like lights on the Starship Enterprise.
You have 74 new messages … my answering machine belted out.
74 new messages? How could that be?
I don’t remember how many customers I got from that show. Several hundred? Maybe a thousand?
What’s important is how I pulled off this marketing stunt:
Remember when I told you I was thumbing through marketing books at Barnes and Noble, desperate for some customers? Well, somehow, I discovered a book about writing sales letters. And right away, I began writing them.
First, to prospects in my neighborhood.
Then, to bigger “fish” like Cesar Millan.
In the end, the power of writing a sales letter helped me add 2,000 customers to my pet business. It helped fill my schedule two years in advance. It helped me dominate my neighborhood, which was packed with competitors like dimples on a golf ball.
Perhaps most impressive was the fact that a single sales letter got my business featured on Cesar Millan’s TV show The Dog Whisperer.
Mind you, this wasn’t any rag-tag sales letter. It included testimonials. It included several newspaper articles. And, it contained potent psychology even Cesar couldn’t ignore.
In the end, I learned two powerful lessons from this experience:
First, you never know until you try. The part I haven’t revealed (until now) is that I was not going to mail that letter to Cesar Millan. And the reason? Because I felt Cesar was “too big” for me.
As I said, the fact is, you never know until you try.
Cesar, like everyone else, is a human being. With feelings. Fears. Doubts. And dreams. Goals. And goof-ups. And losing the battle before you’ve even fought the war, is not a good plan — in business or in life.
Lucky for me, my wife encouraged me to mail that letter. And the rest is history …
The second thing I learned is that a personal letter out-pulled every marketing campaign I ever tried. In fact, if you tied me down and said, “Wes … you can only use one campaign to get customers. What would you use?”
I’d write a letter.