Most entrepreneurial advice on the internet is worthless.
There are thousands of coaches and gurus who teach how to build funnels. How to write sales copy. How to create killer content. How to grow your audience.
I’m not saying that these aren’t valuable skills to learn. But none of that matters without this one critical piece…
Just getting your foot in the door.
You can be a rockstar at everything else, but if you can’t get in front of potential clients and close sales, then you’re dead in the water.
That’s why I’ve spent so much of my own career developing strategies for getting the attention of prospects. And whether it’s donut drops, niche podcasts, or facebook events pages, my agency has come up with some weird yet crazy effective ideas.
Today I’m going to share one that is so outside-the-box, yet so effective, that it makes me laugh out loud.
A cardboard tube.
Remember when you were a kid and you got your hands on an empty cardboard tube? It became a pirate’s telescope. Or a soldier’s bazooka. Or a baseball star’s bat.
The cardboard tube became a key that unlocked wonders in your imagination. Now I’m about to show you how that tube can unlock wonders in your business.
The Strategy In A Nutshell…
Make-believe aside, here’s a quick explanation of what we’re going to do…
The entrepreneurs I coach target local businesses like dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, therapists, doctors… even oil change shops. And you should too. Because when you have a service that fits one of these industries, you can pitch it to tens of thousands of businesses across the country.
All of these businesses have waiting rooms and exam rooms. And in these rooms they almost always have posters on the wall. Posters that explain why it’s important to floss your teeth. Or vaccinate your dog. Or how to do stretches that strengthen your joints. Or a million other things.
Think back to the last time you were sitting in an exam room. Many of these posters are old, worn, and un-stylish.
We’re going to fix that. We’re going to design a brand-new, educational, and stylish poster that our ideal clients will love.
We’re going to send a free poster to our prospects, and we’re going to include a note introducing ourselves and asking if we can schedule a phone call to talk about an idea we know will grow their business.
Just imagine… our prospect is going to get this big cardboard tube in the mail. The 7-year-old in them is going to think “Cool! What could this possibly be? It’s like Christmas!”
They open the tube, unravel the poster, and your note falls out.
BAM. You just got their attention.
And you didn’t have to send dozens of emails that never get opened. You didn’t have to call countless times only to get blown off by a receptionist. You didn’t have to wait in the lobby and make an uncomfortable sales pitch.
Believe me, this works.
There’s a lot of nuance though. So here’s exactly how you can use this for yourself…
Finding The Ideal Client
The first step is to find clients that you think would be a perfect fit for your services and for your agency.
I usually lead with a service that costs $100 – $300. At this price, I can afford to spend $5 – $10 on shipping a poster to get a prospect’s attention. And I don’t have to close every single one. A single sale will cover the cost of several “no’s.”
Still, I don’t want to waste money reaching out to a client that I don’t think will sign up. That’s why it’s so important to do your research up front.
The key is to have a crystal clear understanding of what your service is, the value it provides to a business, and who your ideal customer is.
If you think “I know how to build websites, and I could probably start a business making sites for restaurants.” That’s way too vague.
My favorite service to lead with is social posting, and my main target is chiropractors. (You can learn more about how it works here. So I know that if I find a chiropractor that has good reviews on Google but they’ve only posted twice on Facebook in the last month, I can help them.
If you don’t have a clear idea of your service, check out Micro Service Millionaire. This book contains four profitable services that nearly every local business needs.
Once you have your service clarified, just start searching on Facebook and Google. Search for [your industry] + [location]. Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to find every qualified prospect in this town. And then tomorrow I’ll do the next town…”
Secondly, they need to have an exam room, waiting room, lobby, or somewhere else where they would put up your poster.
If not, you can experiment with sending a poster for their break room. Instead of a poster designed to educate clients, create something motivational or encouraging for their staff. That way it makes sense to send it to them, and still gives you the excuse for getting their attention.
Creating The Poster
Once you know who to reach out to, it’s time to design your poster.
This can sound like a daunting task, but trust me… it’s not.
Get on Pinterest and search “Dentist Tips,” “Veterinarian Tips,” or whatever your target client’s job title is.
You’ll find tons of images and infographics that would be great inspiration for a beautiful poster. Find one that you think would be the best to see on an exam room wall, or combine a few to make something original and educational.
Now that you have your content mapped out, head over to Canva.com. Log in (you can start a free account) and then click on Create a design, then Poster.
In the left margin, you’ll see a ton of pre-made designs. Scroll through until you see something that catches your eye. Click on it and the design will get loaded onto your workspace.
Canva is a powerful tool, so there’s a lot you can do- fonts, colors, images, backgrounds, and much more.
Rather than give you an exhaustive tutorial on how everything works and how to use every button, I want to tell you the opposite…
Don’t spend too much time on this, and don’t get bogged down in the weeds.
The pre-made design you’ve chosen is already 90% perfect. You can easily spend hours looking for the perfect font combination or the most eye-catching image, but it’s not going to make much of a difference on the final product.
So set a timer. Don’t give yourself more than an hour or two. Click away and explore the options you have available. In the far left column you’ll find your tools- photos, elements, text, etc. Start playing and experimenting, and don’t worry about “breaking” anything. If you click a wrong button or mess something up, just click the undo button.
But like I said, don’t let yourself spend more than your allotted time designing this poster. Don’t worry about the design too much, just get your Pinterest content organized cleanly and beautifully on the poster.
Printing The Poster
Time’s up! Stop designing..
It will be tempting to keep improving your poster, but trust me… this can quickly get out of hand. Remember, done is better than perfect.
So once your design is done, it’s time to order your prints. If you go to the top right in Canva, there’s a button that says “Print Posters” where you can place your order directly through the site and have them delivered in a few days.
If you’re pressed for time, this can be a good option. But I actually don’t recommend it.
If you can carve out a half-hour in your afternoon, I suggest going to a local printer. There are two reasons for this.
First, depending on how many posters you order at a time, you’ll probably get a better deal than ordering online.
But more importantly, the printer probably knows local businesses that need your service. I’ve found that getting clients and closing sales is usually an issue of proximity. You need to put yourself in situations where you’re going to meet people who can refer you or where conversations pop up that give you the opportunity to talk about your business.
Working with a local printer and talking to them face-to-face is a perfect opportunity for this.
Writing The Note
Of course, we want to send a poster that is valuable enough that our prospect will actually put it up on the wall in their lobby or exam room. We strive to provide real value in everything we do.
But realize that our main goal isn’t to have our posters up in exam rooms across the country. Our goal is to get their attention so we can schedule a sales call.
That’s why we need to do one extra step- we need to put a note in the cardboard tube that is going to introduce ourselves and convince the prospect that they need to talk to us.
And there is a very specific way you need to write this note. It’s going to sound odd, but trust me… you need to do it this way.
You’re going to write on a piece of paper “Hey [Their name]!”
Then you’re going to take a picture of you holding up the sign. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just have your spouse take a picture with your phone, and email it to yourself.
This might sound simple, but there’s actually an important reason for writing the note this way.
Sending a poster in the mail is a bold move. Most people make half-hearted attempts at outreach, like sending a cold email. They secretly don’t want their email to get read, so they can say they tried and it didn’t work, rather than actually make a sales pitch and try to close the deal.
Instead, you’re going all in. You’re sending a big, attention-grabbing tube in the mail. The subliminal message is “Hey, look at me! I deserve to be listened to. And I believe in my service so much that I drove to the post office and sent this to you because I have something you need.”
Since we’re making bold moves, we need to go all the way. And a little handwritten note that says hi isn’t bold.
But a note with a picture of you holding up a sign with their name on it… that says “Look how much effort I put into getting YOUR attention. This isn’t a generic email blast. I’m talking to YOU.”
Here’s what my note looks like, you can click here to see it. In fact, if you enter your email address there I’ll send you a google doc where you can edit that script and use it for yourself. So when you’re ready to send this note, all you have to do is change a couple of details, add your photo, and it’s ready to print out and put in your poster.
We’ve spent a ton of time perfecting this script and this is the most effective version we’ve ever sent. It’s not only going to save you a ton of typing but a ton of trial-and-error as well.
Sending The Tube
Now that you have your poster and note printed up, it’s time to send it.
I usually send batches of 10 at a time. That way I save trips to the post office. And that way, if I close at least one sale out of each batch, it covers the shipping costs for all the others. Then each following month when I receive my auto payment, I’m profitable.
This way I don’t have to worry about going negative on my outreach costs. I always break even.
Here’s one more ninja trick for you. Most often you’ll find your prospect’s address on their website. If it’s a veterinarian, dentist, or other professional services they’ll have their address and maybe even a map on their home page or their contact page.
Depending on the industry though, they might not have the address listed. For example, maybe it’s a lawyer that doesn’t have an office where they receive clients. In this case, go to their facebook page and click on the “about” tab. Almost every time I’ve seen a website that doesn’t have an address listed, they have it listed on facebook.
After four or five days, call your prospect. Say “Hi, I sent something to Owner’s Name a few days ago. I was just calling to see if they received it and if we could schedule a time to talk about it.”
The goal is to get the owner on the phone and tell them about your service.
Now here’s the most important piece of this whole strategy: don’t stop calling until you get a response.
Your prospects are busy. They’re seeing clients or patients all day. So there’s a good chance their receptionist is going to try to politely turn you away. Or maybe they’ll put a note on the owner’s desk to call you back, and it’ll get buried in a pile of papers.
Whatever the case is, there’s a good chance you won’t get through on the first call. But that doesn’t mean that they said “no.”
In fact, until you hear the word “no” directly from their mouth, the window of opportunity is still open. So I want you to commit to calling back once a week until you get confirmation.
Remember… it’s all about being bold. Of course, you still need to be polite. But you can be polite and aggressive at the same time.
I can’t tell you how many times I took a phone call with a persistent salesperson just to stop them from calling… and I was glad I did because I ended up buying a service that helped my business.
And that’s the whole point… you have a service that genuinely helps businesses. Their life will be better if they do business with you, so you’re doing them a favor by being politely persistent.
Once they sign up and see the results, they’ll thank you for your tenacity.
My Challenge To You
A recurring theme in this article has been being bold. I can’t stress this enough.
There’s a famous quote: “Half measures avail nothing.” It means if you only commit 50% to your business, you’ll get zero percent back. But if you go all in, you’ll accomplish amazing things that the dabblers only dream of.
So I challenge you to get 10 clients in the next 30 days.
Start searching on Google for your ideal clients today, and write down a “hit list” of at least 20 prospects before you go to bed. Then start an account on Canva and get your poster done by the end of this weekend.
Start sending posters. (Don’t forget to download the note script here to speed up the process.) It can be nerve-wracking, but believe me when I tell you… the exhilaration you’ll feel when you start booking calls is addicting!
And when the first payments start hitting your account and you realize you’re in business for yourself, it will absolutely change your life. And now that you’re equipped with this strategy, you’re only days away from being able to do it for yourself.
I’d love to know, what was your biggest takeaway from this article? And what questions do you still have? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.