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Not everyone has worked in an office atmosphere all of their life. And when

this type of person decides to go into a mail order business they don't know

the first thing about communicating properly to other dealers and potential

customers. This lack of communication can close a new mail order business

faster than lightening. Here are some tips to make your transition smoother:

Address Your Envelope Properly

You should use a #10 business-size envelope (not the short ones you use to

write to your mother.) The envelope should contain the full name and address

of the person you are writing as well as YOUR full name and address in the

upper left-hand corner. If the letter is undeliverable because a dealer has

closed due to death or illness, you will get the letter back if your return

address is in the upper left-hand corner. In addition, if something should

happen to the contents inside the envelope the dealer can contact you because

of your return address. And try to avoid handwriting your return address.

Sometimes these are impossible to read. If you can't afford pre-printed

envelopes by all means order some address labels for $1.25 per 1,000 from

Walter Drake (you know the kind that are advertised in your mail box

everyday.) Neon or glistening-type return labels are hard to read so try to

avoid those too. Plain white ones with black ink will do fine.

Include a Note or Letter

Nothing is more frustrating than to receive an order from a customer with a

check or cash enclosed with NO explanation of what the person is ordering.

Beginners often forget that the average mail order dealer has 100's or even

1,000's of products and services they offer. Many of those items might be

priced the same. An example of a good cover letter would be:

Dear (fill in the name):

I noticed your ad in (name of publication) and would like to order

your (name of product you are ordering.) Thank you for your attention to

this matter. (Your name and address)

You can write this information on a post-it note and attach to your check,

however, it is more professional to use a standard sheet of 8 1/2x11" paper

and put your name and address at the top of the sheet. This way, if the

envelope is non-readable or your return address is marked up in any way,

the dealer can read your name and address and fill your order. In your cover

letter you might want to mention that you are new to mail order and would

appreciate any information to help you out. Often, dealers extend a helpful

hand to help others.

Don't Expect Your Order in 2 Days

Some people will see an advertisement, order an item on Monday and expect

to receive it back by Thursday of the same week. This is impossible. Try to

rationalize that it takes 3-10 days to receive first-class mail. Then it

takes another 3-10 days for most dealers to fill their orders. Not everyone

can provide 24-hour service, especially if the mail order business owner is

very busy.

Some of us have families, children and personal lives that take

up part of our time and we don't spend every waking moment processing orders.

Most beginners don't realize that there are some mail order people processing an AVERAGE of 200-1,000 pieces of mail PER DAY. It's hard to imagine. And since most of us don't have employees to help us, we work ourselves to death. We love it though _ but please try and have a little patience and understanding when placing an order. Besides, if you place an order with a national mail order house, don't they tell you to allow 4-6 weeks for your order to arrive? Give small dealers the same courtesy.

Having a mail order business is a lot of fun. It is exciting and you get to

meet a lot of great people. However, it is also a business and should be

treated as such. If you are really serious and you have never had any office-

related exposure, at least take an afternoon to read a book you can get free

at the library on starting your small business. It's well worth its weight in

gold and you can start making friends and reaping the rewards of getting

money in your mailbox on a daily basis.