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Michael: What you’re telling me is you’ve got a collection of letters that took 30 years to put together and you’ve got a little money making system for your chiropractic business. Everytime you invest 50, as long as you take them through the system, you pull out $2,000.
Greg: That’s what we’re doing right.
Michael: And, you’ve been doing that for?
Greg: Twenty years.
Michael: Twenty years.
Michael: Greg, you’re a chiropractor, correct?
Michael: How long have you been a chiropractor for?
Greg: Twenty years. Here’s something that’s kind of interesting. This very first letter on the book here is a half a million dollar letter. We want to give you a free visit. It’s got two red tickets on the bottom. So, we first mailed this in the year 2000, and we got 30 new people in January from it. Now, those are worth $2,000 each. So, it’s $60,000 right there. So, we give them two red tickets that were stapled to the bottom just like you get at a carnival or a fair, and what happened is that one ticket gave them a free visit to see what’s in it for them, and the other one you give to a friend and for like $10 they can come in as a new patient. So, we mailed that out to the whole list. That was like 3,000 we sent that first year. And, we’ve sent this now – this will be our sixth year in January coming up. It’s the same letter. Nothings been changed, and we’re up to half a million in collections off of this letter for the last five years.
Michael: Wow. How did you get into this field?
Greg: Actually, I was in the service before I got into chiropractic. I had got injured in the service and went to a chiropractor and had really good results, and that’s how I got involved in this. I was one of these parachute guys. We had a night jump. I didn’t see the ground coming up. It was pitch black, and I just hit really hard. It was just one of those nights where it was overcast, and we were probably screwing around or something. I got hurt, and my wife had taken me to a chiropractor, and within three weeks everything was fine. We got to talking. The next thing I knew I’m in school. The next thing I knew, I’m working for the guy. The next thing you know, I got my own office. That’s when I met guys like Dan Kennedy and got into the marketing part of this.
Michael: So, you got into it from a personal experience of a screwed up back, and they fixed it.
Michael: And, then you were sold.
Greg: I’m sold. See, that’s why nobody can talk me out of this. Like, “Chiropractic doesn’t work”. No, you’ll never talk me out of it, because I have the personal experience.
Michael: How do you know that it was really his treatment and not just time that healed it?
Greg: Well, I had it for six months. I mean, if it was going to heal by itself, it would’ve healed within six months. Like, I just had it today, and then two days later it was fixed and then they’ll say, “Well, how do you know it was the chiropractor and wasn’t just your bed rest?” I mean after six months nothing was getting better. I had tried the medication and the whole thing. I mean, it was not getting better.
Michael: At that time, before you even opened your office, did you have any of this marketing experience? Did you know what marketing was – Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, any of these guys?
Greg: No, I did not, and I was one of the lucky ones because I got with Dan Kennedy within weeks after I opened. It was one of those things I went to see him at a seminar, and there was probably 12 doctors at this seminar. It was in downtown Milwaukee back in 1985, and this is before he was even famous.
Michael: Was that his niche market he was marketing to?
Greg: I think he was working with the chiropractic market back in the ‘80s. It’s really funny because like I said there was probably 12 doctors there, and I’m probably the only one that got it of those 12 because I never heard of any of them doing anything since. But, I could see the big picture with what he was doing and what he taught. He taught me enough that night. It was only like a two hour seminar maybe, but it was enough to make me see the big picture that this stuff does work and I’ve been just accumulating his stuff ever since. So, I bought his material. We’ve probably studied that little bit of material for a good five years. I did get his newsletter back then. I actually learned more by sending stuff into him for critique. Like, I’d write and ad, and one of the things I talked about is his last seminar. People really don’t realize how much things have changed in 20 years. Twenty years ago, we did not have a fax machine, a cell phone, computers or anything like this. So, if you wrote an ad, it had to be pretty good or you had to pay 20 dollars for the printer to set it up for you, and it was not uncommon for artwork to get billed 20 dollars an hour for artwork. Back then, you really had to make sure that you had the ad the way you wanted it because you were paying to set it up and everything. Today, I just rap it out on a computer in-between commercials or something on TV. It was a whole different mindset back then. If I had an ad, I would send it to him for critique before I would send it to the printer. Do you see what I’m saying? So, I didn’t have to pay for the artwork to make a change. I didn’t want to have to pay for the change. So, a lot of times I get these free coupons from him. If you buy his stuff, you get a free critique coupon and I would send this in. That’s where actually I met most of this stuff from his critiques on the ads like that. So, you can be the best chiropractor in the world, but if nobody knows about you, you’re not going to have any business.
Michael: And, you’re in a pretty small town aren’t you?
Greg: Right, we have 2,000 people here.
Michael: How do you rate your chiropractic business compared to others around the country? Have you been able to do that?
Greg: I’d like to think we have one of the bigger ones. I think we have one of the more stable ones in the country.
Michael: And, you have just one office there?
Greg: Right, we have just the one office.
Michael: How many employees do you have in your current office?
Greg: The current one we have one and a half. We were up to about seven or eight at one time. Just through efficiency, we’ve eliminated a lot of jobs that we didn’t really need. Currently, I work about 20 hours a week. Another lady that comes in six hours a week, she just does everything we don’t want to do. She cleans. She makes our cookies, filing – anything we don’t want to do, she does. We have a little toaster oven in the back and we get that cookie dough in the tube, and I want that smell in the office of fresh cookies. That works really well. That’s probably one of the best marketing things we ever did, and we do that twice a week. She comes in and makes those for us, and those are usually are busiest days, too.
Michael: Where would the money be in the chiropractor? What is the good patient worth over the years?
Greg: I guess average is about $2,000.
Michael: How do you get them in there in the first place?
Greg: It changes. You have to be really flexible on this. Back in the ‘80s, you could run a newspaper ad and I compare it to a bare hook in a pond. They’re so hungry that they’d bite on a bare hook back in the ‘80s. That same newspaper ad today won’t bring anybody in. Insurance has changed and everything, and some states they don’t pay for work injuries. Some don’t pay for car accidents anymore. So, you have to be really flexible on this. It dawned on me I’ve been practicing in the ‘80s, ‘90s and now the 2000s. This is like, oh my god, three decades that I’ve been playing this game, and I’ve seen so many changes. Today, I’m like the king of recall because I can go back to my mailing list and get new patients out of that from the people that have already been to me. I think it’s very hard to go to a cold market and just get new business. I’ve ran a newspaper ad, I’ve not been real successful with those.
Michael: Most of your patients are they covered by insurance?
Greg: Not any more. Again, back in the ‘80s, we had maybe about 95 percent were covered. Today, it’s probably about half.
Michael: When do people call a chiropractor?
Greg: If you’re hurting, you’ll probably call me.
Michael: Do you find that people will come to you if they’ve been to maybe another chiropractor before or the doctor like in your personal situation?
Greg: Right, and not only that, but I have a lot of people that go, “You’re like the last resort. We’ve been through this test, that test, this doctor. We’ve been to Mayo Clinic.” And, they’ll use it as a last resort also.
Michael: Let’s say I’ve got back pain and I respond to your ad. How would I see it if I was one of your cold market?
Greg: We send out coupons to current patients or inactive patients. Here’s what we found – if you’re going to do this, you’re going to send the inactive people no matter what business your in, there has to be a reason, what’s in it for me? Because if you don’t have that – if I just say, “Send me a new person.” And, there’s nothing in it for you, you’re not going to do it, or if you do, you’ll do it because the guy is really in pain and you’re just trying to help him out. But, we have found there better be something in it for you in order for you to send me somebody or for somebody to send you into me. So, what we’ll do is we’ll send them a coupon and may say, “Haven’t seen you for a while. Here’s a free visit. Come on back. We’ll update your file.” Or whatever, “Oh, by the way, here’s another coupon if you know somebody that has this, this or this. They can come in and see us.” Now, you may work with this guy. You may bowl with a guy. You may be related. It might be a brother-in-law or something. The chances are somebody you know goes to a chiropractor. If you think about the friends you have, somebody probably goes to a chiropractor. And, if they would give one of those coupons in the mails, and they knew that you had a bad back or headaches or something, they may give that to you, and that’s how you would get into my office.
Michael: What other offers have you found to be successful over the last 30 years?
Greg: The hottest thing we have going right now is what we call charity marketing, and what we do in our town is we may run a $10 special where that’ll be donated to the local fire and rescue squad, and what will happen is that you would come in, pay $10 and we’ll work you up as a new patient, and then that $10 gets donated to the local fire and rescue which is a volunteer in our area. Chances are you’re either going to know somebody on the fire and rescue or be on the fire and rescue in our area. What will happen is they don’t get any money from any other sources other than fundraisers. So, we’ll donate like $1,000 or whatever at a time and then they can buy new uniforms or put that towards a new truck or whatever, and then that gets into the paper and I get some PR out of that.
Michael: Do you make an effort to get some paper and PR out of it?
Greg: I’ll tell you the secret to that. This is the only way I found that works. Here’s the example – let’s pretend you’re the fire chief and I just raised $1,000 for you. I would call you up and say, “Michael, I have a check for you for $1,000. As soon as you can get over here with the newspapers taking pictures of us shaking hands, passing the check, you can have the check.” You’re the fire chief. How soon would you be over to my office to pick that up?
Michael: For $1,000 for new uniforms for the guys, I’d be right over there.
Greg: Yes, I don’t feel I should have to go through all this. I’ve got the check. You contact the newspaper, plus it looks better if they’re contacting them saying, “Let’s go get a picture.” So, not only do you raise the $1,000, give him a check for $1,000, now you get it in the paper how wonderful you are. Again, through trial and error, I found that by passing the responsibility to him, it’s a lot quicker. Just say, “You can have the check as soon as you get this guy over here.” It may be just a matter of hours that they’re over there with the newspaper. As soon as you hang up they’ll be on the phone. Either way, at least you’re in the newspaper, and you can’t buy that.
Michael: Tell me, can you think back out of all the times you’ve done this, what the best newspaper write up was from something like that?
Greg: Usually we donated a thousand at a time, but I think we’re up to about $10,000 now that we’ve donated over the years, and it was just one where I had my wife and family just shaking the fire chief’s hand. It was one of our first times that we did it. They made an effort to help us out, too. Now, here’s another interesting thing. We have done fundraisers for the police department and got zero response. They hate the cops here, but they’ll do everything for the fire department. It’s because they’re the ones that give them the tickets and they arrest them or whatever.
Michael: Obviously, if you got into this stuff earlier, you knew the most important thing was to really work your database and to collect names and have a database. I mean, are you pretty serious about collecting and putting all your names into a database?
Greg: There’s only two ways to get off of my list. You either have to request to be taken off or passed away. Actually, it’s three. You can move away too. We don’t just drop people unless they either request it or pass away or they move away.
Michael: So, let’s say I got one of your coupons from my friend who went in to see you, and my back’s hurting. I come in and I walk in and I smell those cookies. That’s the first thing I notice. I smell chocolate chip cookies. What’s going to happen? How are you going to treat me when I’m sitting there in the waiting lobby?
Greg: Well, see we don’t have a lobby. That’s the whole thing. In our office, there’s no waiting room at all. So, our USP or what’s unique about us is you don’t have to bring a lunch. You don’t have to bring a book. This is the beauty of our system. This is why we can eliminate a lot of the staff because what will happen is the lady will tell you, “You k now Michael, you can go to our website and we have the forms there – the new patient forms. You can print those out at home, fill them out, and then bring them in.” Now, on that has my consultation and a whole bunch of other things I would normally sit down and talk to you about, but you’re actually doing this at home now, and it’s about four pages. So, you’ve just saved a half hour of my time by doing this at home. We’re getting about four out of five people do this at home now. We’re at the point now that if somebody doesn’t have it done, we don’t know what to do because we’re so used to just taking them right in and processing these people. So, now we have to wait for them to fill these forms out. We kind of look at each other like “Oh yeah, we remember this from the stone age when we used to have to wait for this.” You’ve got to picture this. You walk in, there’s no waiting room. You have your forms filled out. You go back. We go ahead and do the processing – whatever we need for the exam. And, then, depending on what’s going on we may or may not treat you that day. So, we have special times set aside so it’s not going to interfere with anybody else. So, if you have a twelve o’clock appointment, we’re right there at twelve o’clock for you. But, the interesting thing is we may not even talk to you about the pain for the first five minutes. We’ll just sit down and get to know you a little bit. It’s you and me just sitting down and just talking, and really what it is, it’s an interview to see if you like me enough to stick around or if I want you as a patient.
Michael: You have a set of questions that you ask the patient everytime?
Greg: Not really. What I’ll do is I’ll just sit down, just like this phone call. We’ll just sit down and talk and really what’s happening is I’m interviewing you there to see if I want to work with you. If you’re going to be a knucklehead or if you’re going to be okay – I’m going to ask you where you work to see what kind of job you have and are you going to be a guy that’s going to be a long-haul trucker where I’m only going to see you once a month, or do you work in town here. Just kind of get to know the guy and get to bond with him a little bit. I just want to see what kind of person I’m dealing with. I want to find out what I’m dealing with. So, you want to find out where this guy’s coming from.
Michael: You want to try and find out where I may fit in to one of your programs?
Greg: Right, I want to find out what program’s going to best for you, but I also want to determine your personality type. Are you familiar with the work on that with the expressive and the analytical and all that?
Michael: Tell me about it. What are you looking at?
Greg: There’s four basic personality types. Let’s just take them one at a time. Let’s cal the amiable. This is a person that will do anything you tell them. This is the little old grandma. “Come back here at three o’clock today”, and she’ll be there. She’ll do whatever you tell here. You’ve got the analytical. He’s going to want numbers. He wants to know what’s his chances of getting better, how many other people you’ve seen, anything with numbers and data they want. They’ll hand out leaflets – anything you’ve got – brochures. The more data the better for these guys. You’ve got your expressive, the party guy who says, “I don’t care how you do it, just fix it and let’s have a party doing it.” These are the excitable people. And, then you have your driver which is the guy that comes in and says, “I will tell you how this is going to be done.” He’s going to be in control. So, these are basically the four people, the main ones, but you can be an analytical with a little splash of expressive and party a little bit. So, I want to know which one of those four personalities types I’m dealing with because if I’m dealing with a driver, I know that I’m going to have let him believe he’s making decisions. Pretend you’re a real strong driver. “You know, Mike, I don’t know, maybe we should…” You’d blow him out of the water. He’d go crazy. What you do to a driver is you say, “I either want to see you the middle of next week or Wednesday, you choose.” He’s happy because he gets to make a choice.
Michael: Are you able most of the time to pick that personality out?
Greg: Oh, I’m good at this. I’m very good at this.
Michael: Which ones do you like dealing with best?
Greg: I can work with them all, but see the thing is if you’re an analytical – I have friends that are analyticals that don’t know about this, and if they get a driver in there, or better yet an expressive. Expressives don’t care about any kind of data at all. They just want to get better and get out of there and have a party doing it. So, they keep handing them data, these guys are getting blown out of the water, too because they don’t want data. They just want to have a party.
Michael: Do you have data for the analyticals?
Greg: Oh, sure. I have to be what I call a chameleon. You have to be able to adapt to whatever person you’re dealing with. So, if you get the little old grandma, you might just want to put your arm around her and say, “Hey, how’s it going today?” And, the whole thing and be real nice to you. All they want is people to be nice to them. So, you have to be able to figure out within two minutes anybody’s personality type. Once I know that, then I can base the treatment and everything else upon that.
Michael: We’re interviewing the first five or ten minutes. You’re determining my personality.
Greg: Right, I like to think of it as bonding.
Michael: In most cases, will you do an exam right there?
Greg: When I feel we have enough rapport to get – within five minutes you can get the rapport going.
Michael: So, you mold your presentation or what you think the patient needs, obviously in their best interest and what you think you can do. What do you tell them? I’m in back pain. We’ve built rapport. You’ve identified my personality. You’ve done an exam, and what are you going to tell me?
Greg: What I don’t do anymore – I don’t try to sell you a huge program or anything that first day. I used to do that years ago.
Michael: How’d that go?
Greg: It was okay back then because the insurance covered everything and life was good and they didn’t pay as long as somebody else was paying. But, today, when you’re paying out of your pocket, it’s harder to sell those bigger programs. So, what I may do is I may just see you daily until I feel like we have enough of a bond there and it makes sense. Let’s pretend I treat you today. I say, “Okay, let’s just check tomorrow and see how things are going.” Then, let’s say we get into three days of this, and it’s not going real well. It’s improving, but not real fast. Then, I can come up to you and say, “You know Michael, this is probably going to take blah, blah, blah, to get this handled.” And, that point in your head, you’re ready to hear that. The first day you don’t want to hear that it’s going to take a year and whatever else everyday for the next five years or something. Or, if you think that this is something small that should resolve fairly quickly, you don’t want to hear a huge program either. So, I have to be able to talk to the people, bond with them, see what’s going on, and after about maybe three or four visits, then we’ll go ahead and see where we need to go with the treatment program. Some people are done. They feel like they’ve got it handled. We’re done, and they can just come in as they need or do something periodically. There’s other people I say, “Look, this is going to take longer than we thought.” But, see at that point it’s real. They can see that, “Yeah, you’re right, it’s going to take a little longer.”
Michael: And, they’ve been there two or three times, so they’ve already through their actions basically told you they want treatment.
Greg: Right, I like to think of it as more real as opposed to the first day because it’s almost like getting married on a first date. “I really like you, let’s get married.” “Okay.” Whereas if you have a few dates, see if this person is somebody you can – here’s the other thing, what if you recommend a year of care and after three visits you don’t want to work with this one anymore? That’s not cool either.
Michael: Is there an average amount of time you’re recommending a patient come to you?
Greg: To be honest with you, everybody’s different.
Michael: Everyone’s different.
Michael: Once I’ve met with you two or three times, I’m in pain. You’re going to make me a recommendation. Do you have like a Silver, Gold, Platinum or different packages already laid out in your head that you’re going to present to me and you’re going to fit me into one of those packages?
Greg: Pretty much, yeah. Everything will be your choice. If you’re a driver personality, I’m going to give you choices. If you’re the amiable I’ll probably just tell you which one’s going to be best for you because they’ll do it anyway.
Michael: What do they go from? A week to a month?
Greg: They got to a week to a month to three months. It depends on where you’re at.
Michael: Are some of them everyday? Come in everyday?
Greg: Oh, sure, yeah.
Michael: Really. If someone needs treatment they come in everyday or every other day?
Greg: It depends how bad it is, yeah.
Michael: When they come in, how much time are you spending? Once you’ve built the repore, got them to sign up with one of your packages, and I’m coming in everyday for the next three months. How long am I there from the time I walk in until the time I leave?
Greg: Here’s what the research shows, you have nine minutes in our business from the time you walk in the door until the time you leave the door. So, everything we do has to be within those nine minutes. That includes your waiting time.
Michael: What do you mean?
Greg: The research shows that what people want is to be in and out that front door in nine minutes.
Michael: In nine minutes?
Greg: Everything that happens has to happen within nine. Now, if you go longer than nine minutes, now you’re cutting into their other time, personal time.
Michael: I see.
Greg: Lessons for their kids, and everything else.
Michael: Right, right, so it’s in and out.
Greg: Yes. This is why we don’t want a waiting room. Let’s pretend you wait five minutes. Now, we’re already down to four.
Michael: So, when you’re setting your appointments are you setting them up every 15 minutes?
Greg: Oh no, here’s how we do it. Now, what we do is we have a thing called, “Open adjusting” where you have a bunch of tables, and what will happen is that we book at the top and the bottom of the hour. It’s kind of like the airlines do. Again, if I give you an appointment let’s say at ten o’clock, I know you will be in somewhere between ten to until ten after – somewhere in that twenty minute time frame. You may be exactly on time. You may be a little early, a little bit late. So, we book at the top and the bottom of the hour. So, your choices will be ten, ten thirty, and again with the same twenty minute period at the bottom of that.
Michael: So, you’re booking every 30 minutes.
Greg: Yeah, we can see up to 12 people at the top of the hour, 12 at the bottom of the hour.
Michael: You’re just going from person to person doing the adjustments?
Greg: Right, and then we have another therapy room that we do. We’ve tried to teach some of the people how to do that themselves.
Michael: Are you doing all of the adjustments on the people?
Greg: Right, I’m doing all the work. This is the analytical in me that I want to know what the people expect. We also found that in my profession that they’ll give you about four hours total of their life. Now, what I mean by that is that if I’m going to come to you in my lifetime, I will give you four hours of my life to that doctor overtime. So, if I do a two hour exam on this guy, that means in my lifetime I only have two more hours with him for the next 20 years or 30 years or whatever. So, I’m thinking, “Okay, what I want to have is a thorough exam, but I don’t necessarily want it to go real long.” I want it to be intense and get it over with quickly so that I have more time for treatment over a lifetime.
Michael: That’s a pretty interesting stat.
Greg: See, I don’t want to use up all the time. If you have a three hour exam, and you’ll find people that have these huge exams that they’ll only spend a couple of visits and they’re gone for life. I don’t want that.
Michael: Is that four hours within the chiropractic business, or with any other medical?
Greg: I don’t know. I know that’s what it is for our business. I don’t know what it would be for real estate or clothing or some other business. I’m sure there’s some kind of stat for that, that if I go in to buy a suit, I don’t want to be there for four hours trying it on. There’s probably somebody did the research somewhere that will be a stat that says, “They’ll give you this much time out of their life.” So, if you think about this, if I knew that I was only going to get four hours out of you total, then I would cut the treatment a little bit shorter. I mean I can have a shorter treatment. I’d still give you all the quality, but we’d get rid of all of the excess stuff because I want to get you in and out knowing that I don’t want any wasted time with you. All I’m getting is four hours of your life with me. So, let’s cut out all that stuff that’s not necessary, give you what you do need, and get you on with your life.
Michael: Let me ask you this. The money issue – you present to me a program let’s say after our third visit, and I haven’t paid anything for those first three visits, correct?
Greg: Oh no, you pay me as you go.
Michael: Oh, I am?
Michael: Is there a set price of what I’m paying?
Greg: Let’s just make-up a fee. Let’s say $40.
Michael: Okay, so, I’m paying $40 everytime for the first three times. You’re going to present to me a treatment program, and you’re going to ask for all my money upfront? Or I guess it depends if there’s insurance or what.
Greg: It depends, and then a lot of times we can make payments. You can pay so much a week or so much a month, but we’ll work it out with you.
Michael: Can that be a pain in the butt collecting money?
Greg: It can be, but we do everything pre-paid so it’s not too bad.
Michael: So, you try and get everything pre-paid?
Michael: Now, you sent me a collection of some of your recall letter series – “How to Milk Your Mailing List Like a Cash Cow and Live to Tell About It”. What are these here?
Greg: These are recall letters that we’ve done over the past about four years.
Michael: Now, what’s a recall letter?
Greg: A recall letter is like – you asked me a question – how often do you stay in contact with the person once they’re done with care or whatever? I will send you something probably once a month. Now, I’ve already put you on my mailing list. Have you gotten anything from us in the mail yet?
Michael: No, not yet.
Greg: You should be getting something this week then. We mailed it out maybe Friday of last week. Anyway, the deal is that let’s pretend that I haven’t seen you for a while for treatment.
Michael: We’ve gone through treatment or I’ve finished my program with you?
Greg: Yeah, let’s say you’re done with the program and you’ve choose just to go on an as needed basis or whatever, but I haven’t seen you for a while. So, instead of just saying, “Well, forget you.” I’ll send you like a newsletter, maybe some information, a postcard, stuff that I sent you in the mail here was a collection of recall letters we’ve sent over the last four years to people, just to let them know. Here’s another interesting stat – the main reason that people stay away from chiropractors that have been treated is because they think that the chiropractor is mad at them.
Michael: Oh, really?
Greg: Yes, all this stuff I found out through trial and error and by asking people, and they may think I’m mad at them because they didn’t complete their treatment program. They may owe me some money. They didn’t refer somebody when I whatever. Who knows what reason? But, they think I’m mad at them for something.
Michael: Yeah, that makes sense.
Greg: To me it makes sense, but it doesn’t. If they knew how hard it was to get business, why would you think I would ever get mad at you? So, anyway, what these letters tell the people is say, “Look, we’re not mad at you. Come on back. If you do owe me money, come on back. We’ll collect it once you get in here.” But, the whole point is that we’re letting them know that we’re not made at them, and in marketing they say that humor doesn’t work. Don’t try to be funny in the letter, but what I do in the letter is there’s a whole system to what I do in these letters, and what I’ve done is I’ve made the staff – if you want to humiliate somebody, humiliate the staff but not the doctor and let them take the brunt of it. Generally, what the letter will be is, “Here’s how we screwed up. Here’s how we’re going to fix it, but don’t tell Dr. Neilson how we’re going to do this.”
So, everybody’s getting these letters thinking they’re doing something behind my back, and I’m actually writing the letters. But, anyway, a lot of the patients think these girls are writing the letters. They’re just amazed at how talented these girls are at writing, and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m really lucky I have two that can write copy.” But, the whole point is to let them know that I’m not mad at them. Here’s something you can read, and we call this “Soap Opera Marketing” because there’s an episode every letter. It’s like you’re looking forward to the next – what are they going to do in the next episode? How are they going to screw? What are they going to do next?
Michael: Has this theme done before – this soap opera thing?
Greg: Yeah, I got it from the Lucy show actually. That’s where I originally saw it. I said - I don’t like the Lucy show, but I was watching her with my kids one day, and I never thought she was that funny, but anyway that’s a whole nother thing. But I’m watching this, I’m going, “She screws up something. You can’t tell Ricky, and this is she always gets out of it in the end.” She always makes good at the end of the program so we can’t wait to see how she’s going to screw it up the next episode. Right?
So, that’s really where I got the idea from. We could actually make a series out of this instead of just one letter or whatever. It’s not like you’re going to get one of these letters every month. It’s whenever we have a good one that we think is going to work, and maybe once a month, maybe once every two months. There’s no set thing. Whenever I get the inspiration.
Michael: That’s good. You came up with this concept on your own from the Lucy Show. I thought maybe this was a technique that Dan Kennedy taught or something.
Greg: Well, we talked about that. He wrote about it in his newsletter, and it was something that we had talked about. When I told him this is what I did blah,
blah, blah, he wrote that up in the newsletter like that, and I’m sure it’s been done before.
Michael: Yeah, but think about the Lucy show how popular that is? Or how popular it was, and maybe that’s part of what drove the success of the show?
Greg: It’s the same theme though. It’s like she screwed it and didn’t tell Ricky, and this is why I thought, “Well, we can use this.” In one of the books I wrote, I talked about professional wrestling and it’s the same deal. You have a good guy and a bad guy. The crowd roots for one or the other. Then, all of a sudden, they change. Now, they’re bad. Now, they’re good. Now they’re bad. They tend to go back and forth. I don’t know if you watch professional wrestling, but it’s great for marketing. You learn a lot of lessons there.
Michael: Do you use a picture in every one of your letters?
Greg: We decided those weren’t the best.
Michael: You’ve got a great collection here. So, let’s say you’ve got 100 patients in one month. Are these letters going out sequentially depending on the time I came in, or when you have a situation a letter you want to send out to all your past customers, you’ll knock one out and send one out to all of them?
Greg: Pretty much like that. You may get a newsletter this month and one of these letters next month.
Michael: Now, I saw the PDF that you sent me. Those pictures are in color. When you send out a letter, is it a black and white of the photo?
Greg: Black and white, yes.
Michael: And, I like that type. It really looks like it was typed on a regular typewriter. Was it? Or is this a type-
Greg: No, there’s a place on the Internet you can go. It’s called
OldTypewriterFonts.com. You go there and they have like a gazillion old typewriter fonts, and a lot of them are free. The one I have is like it has the B and the G filled in like mom’s typewriter, and I think that’s the name of this font. It’s called “Mom’s Typewriter.”
Michael: Oh, this is awesome.
Greg: We had one font it’s called D.O.A which means Dead on Arrival, and it’s so bad it looks like this old hacked up typewriter. So, we downloaded that, used that in a couple letters, and like the capital D doesn’t work. So, all through the letter you have a small D no matter what. We actually made a letter that said, that Nielsen was so cheap he won’t even get us a real typewriter. We have to use this one, and when you see the font it looks like they banged it out on some old beat-up Smith Corona.
Michael: It really does, and I’m noticing a lot of these letters – do you try and keep them all one-pagers?
Greg: It depends. It’s like say what you need to say, and a lot of times if I can get it on one page, I prefer that, but the most recent one we did I tried to get it on one. I just couldn’t. So, that’s a two-page.
There’s one in there also that has a telegram. It took me a couple of days on the Internet off and on to find an old telegraph font or telegram font. It does exist, and I had to pay $20 to get it. It wasn’t a free one, but it made it look like it was pasted on the page like they had pasted-
Michael: A telegram.
Greg: Yeah, a telegram like they used to paste the words on. It makes it look like that. And, it really hurt because I had to pay $20 for that.
Michael: Where did you find that? Do you remember?
Greg: I think it was in the same place, but if you type in like “old telegrams”
Michael: Oh, there it is “Overnight telegrams”
Greg: Yeah, we had to find out what a telegram looked like, and I had to research what telegrams looked like. I had to go back to like the turn of the century to really find the ones I wanted because I wanted them to make it look like this is on parchment paper, and the whole thing.
Michael: It looks like a postcard.
Greg: It was maybe five by seven we did. It was like half a sheet of paper, I think we made it.
Michael: Was it in an envelope?
Michael: So, you put it in an envelope.
Greg: Well, what I did what I did was I went to the office supply, and they have the parchment and you can get the paper, the stationary and the envelopes, and you can buy it. That’s what we did. We made it parchment because I couldn’t find telegram paper and the envelope. It just doesn’t exist anymore. So, I thought parchment may be the closest. So, then what we did was we sent this in an envelope that was sealed, but what we always try to do with the letter is make them congruent. So, if we go this telegram, we want you to have the telegram, too.
So, what we did was we sealed it and then we opened to make it look like this was the actual telegram we got. So, we wanted everything to be congruent with like we find some piece of paper, some crumpled stuff in a desk drawer you get that crumpled piece of paper.
Michael: Oh, lumpy mail.
Greg: Whatever, but whatever we have we want you to experience the same thing. There’s a letter in here that was burnt, and this is one of my favorite ones. It’s where we actually burnt the letters and then put them in the envelope. So, when you opened them, you got pieces of ash in the bottom of the envelope.
Michael: Oh, that’s hilarious.
Greg: We say, “We found this burnt letter. We want you to see what we found. We want you to think you’re the only one getting this” – even though it says “Dear Friend”, but you feel like you got the same letter that we found, and we want everything to be as authentic as we can. That’s why I do it that way.
Michael: So, who’s handling all the mailing every month? Your staff?
Greg: Right, they handle that.
Michael: You don’t farm it out or anything?
Greg: No, actually I’m kind of a metaphysical guy, and I think you can do that, but I’m more into the touchy, feely thing. Like, I put my energy in. They put their energy in. They’re focused on new patients or recalling patients. I try to keep their mind on track, and I really believe in putting your own energy and creativity in this stuff. You just can’t get that by farming it out.
Michael: Do you write all your letters?
Greg: Right, I do all my stuff.
Michael: Have some of this been critiqued by Kennedy?
Greg: Yes, usually what I get back is, “Why do you bother sending these in? There’s nothing I can tell you.”
Michael: Oh, really?
Greg: So, that makes me feel good.
Michael: He really likes them. So, how many are you mailing out every month?
Greg: Here’s what we’ve been finding. We just mail out 100 a week because this way we can hand-address them.
Michael: Yeah, let’s talk about that. What have you found to be effective? Let’s say it’s a one-page 8 ½ X 11, do you do it on white paper?
Greg: I’m the cheapest guy you’re going to meet. So, everything’s going to be black and white with me. You’re going to get a black and white letter. You will get the envelope with the return address. We use a live stamp. We hand address these.
Michael: And, you have your girls in the office do it?
Greg: Right, this is what they do during down time. There’s going to be times during the day that they have nothing to do, and over the years we tried to avoid the staff mutiny, and if they have too much time, then they get together – I’m not paying enough. Next thing, there’s coming to me with problems like they want a raise or they’re going to quit. We’ve had that. So, this way I just keep them busy so they don’t have time to get together, and I’m really lucky because I can abuse them pretty good in this letters. I can make fun of them and stuff like that. And, they love the attention. They love the recognition. They can go anywhere in town, and people are like, ‘Hey what’s happening? What are you guys doing this time?” So, they love the recognition that they get from this.
So, they’ll be doing the hand addressing and that’s pretty much it – just like a real letter you would send to a friend.
Michael: So, you’re mailing out 100 a week. Have you been able to test the response on different letters?
Greg: Oh sure, we’ve been really lucky with this because we’ve got somewhere between 20 and 35 percent response on all of these letters. Everything that you have in this book is 20 percent or more response.
Michael: So, you picked out from your collection-
Greg: No, we’ve jut been lucky. This is my entire collection, but we’ve been real lucky because we’ve always got right around 20 with this.
Michael: That’s incredible.
Greg: It is, but if you think about it, if we’re giving you a free offer something, there’s really no reason not to. I don’t want to get a big head about this because as you know, two percent is really good.
Greg: But, if you think about it, they know me. They’ve done business with me before, the whole thing. It’s not a cold market by any means.
Michael: Anyone in any business could take this theme, this concept and these letters and this personalization and the photo of your staff, and the headline and the offer just to let their customers now that you’re not mad at them.
Greg: Right, and I think that’s the bottom line of this whole thing. A lot of times you can do this. Let’s pretend you’re in real estate. You buy the house. You do the transaction, and that’s it. You got my money, so what? You got your commission. That’s the last you hear of them. But, wouldn’t it be nice just to get something gin the mail periodically that says, “Here’s what we’re doing” or “Here’s a little newsletter” or something that stay in contact with them. So, then let’s pretend if the average American moves every three years anyway, all you have to do is just wait for them to move.
Michael: Now, have you tried used telemarketing opposed to direct mail to keep in contact with the customers?
Greg: I’ve never done that.
Michael: How about the voice technology that Jeff Paul talks about?
Greg: I’ve never done that either. I guess because our town is so small, it’s so easy to.
Michael: Right, it’s not hard.
Greg: It’s not hard for us just to stay in contact by mail. Another thing we do a lot of it inserts in the newspaper. We can blanket the whole town with inserts. Two thousand inserts will blanket the whole town.
Michael: Is that pretty cost effective?
Greg: For us, it is. It cost $35 for 1,000.
Michael: That’s not bad.
Greg: That’s about two cents a piece.
Michael: Just your main newspaper?
Greg: A free weekly paper that they put out.
Michael: It’s like the Penny Saver?
Michael: Is it the Penny Saver you’re doing it with?
Greg: No, it’s similar but it just has a different name.
Michael: It’s a different kind of offer than these letters, right?
Greg: Yeah, it would be a different one.
Michael: That’s for generating business.
Greg: If I sent these letters to a cold market, they’d think I was some kind of nut.
Michael: Oh, right, of course. This collection of letters that I have here in front of me that we’re talking about, that’s for your warm letter.
Greg: People that know us.
Michael: It’s a good tip campaign to keep in touch with your people.
Greg: Yeah, and they know the girls. They know me. If I were to send this to a cold market, they’d think, “This guy’s lost it.”
Michael: Let’s talk more about these letters. Some of these letters are just to say hi. What are some of the different offers and some of the approaches in these letters? What are we trying to do besides just keep in touch with the clients that you’ve treated?
Greg: What we’re trying to do is get them back in our office, and then bump them up to some kind of a treatment program. Now, there are going to be people that are going to come in and hose you. They’re going to come in just for the free visits.
Michael: What percentage would you say?
Greg: Two percent. It’s not that much.
Michael: Just part of doing business.
Greg: Just part of that. You made them a free offer. They’ll do anything for free, and that’s okay because that’s what you asked them to do. They did what you asked them to do. Now, what I would prefer to have happen is like you come in and then let’s pretend I treat you, and I say, “Mike, you and I both know this may take a couple more visits. This is not going to resolve in one visits.” And, you go, “Yeah, that’s what I figured.” So, at that point, we may determine some kind of a treatment program for you. So, I got you back in the door, and I’ve bumped you up to some other service.
Had I not sent you the letter, this is like found money now. That’s the whole gimmick, and this is what the doctors don’t understand. A lot of other people other there just think, “Well, that’s just stupid. You’re just giving away your time and visits. I say, “No you’re not.” You’re trying to bump them up to some other service, but you can not do it unless you get them back in the door.
Michael: Let’s say I came in. My back was screwed up. You took care of that. It was feeling pretty good. I haven’t heard from you in six months. I’ve been getting your letter. I come in just to say hi or for one or your adjustments just for the hell of it. Now, what else can you sell me if you’ve already pretty much solved my back problem?
Greg: Oh, we may have vitamins. We may have a special pillow you can sleep on at night, inserts for your shoes.
Michael: Are you doing orthotics?
Greg: Yeah, like orthotics.
Michael: What else? How about massage?
Greg: We don’t have massage, and I’ll tell you the reason why I don’t. It’s really big in chiropractic right now. I have not found a masseuse that has been around more than four months. They all think it’s real easy work. Within four months they quit. And, the other reason is that what I saw happening, we have offered it in the past. You come in and let’s say you have $40 in your hand, and you have a choice of either having somebody rub your back for $40 or have me adjust your for $40. I mean, it’s not like we have $80 coming in. It’s one or the other. I think I’m confusing the people here because I move bones. So, if you come in, you know you’re going to get your bones moved, and then what we’ll do is say, “Here’s a list of some other ladies that do massage. If you’re interested in that, go see them.” And, it just works out easier.
Michael: You keep it simple.
Greg: I don’t have any room for them besides. All of our rooms are-
Michael: And, it’s more staff and more headaches.
Michael: So, you’re selling supplements?
Michael: What kind of supplements do you offer?
Greg: We have vitamins. We have weight loss.
Michael: Do you buy them wholesale and sell them retail?
Michael: Is that a pretty good income for you?
Greg: It’s okay. You’ve got to be real careful with that, too because you don’t want to be selling them a vitamin that they can buy at Wal-Mart. I don’t want to sell them a vitamin for $30 and then tonight you go to Wal-Mart and find it for $9.95. You have to watch what you sell.
Michael: Are you with any of the multi-level companies?
Greg: We’ve done the multi-level stuff, and again you have to be careful with that because if they find out it’s multi-level, then they’ll just go behind your back and join. So, you really shot yourself in the foot with that.
Michael: So, I’m just trying to get an idea. You want to get them in for an upsell. So, you send out 100. You get 20 people in, and what kind of numbers are we talking about? Out of those 20 people that come in for whatever the offer is, what kind of income can you pull out of that mailing?
Greg: Well, we’ve been this for every 50 that we invest, we get about $2,000 back.
Michael: For every $50 you invest?
Michael: A hundred letters is only going to cost you-
Greg: $37 for the postage.
Michael: It’s going to cost you about 50 bucks.
Greg: Fifty bucks, right. We’ll get that back.
Michael: And, by the time you run them through the visit, it’s bringing in $2,000.
Greg: Yes, pretty much.
Michael: You can’t do that on the stock market.
Greg: No, and I try to teach this when I go to seminars and I teach this, and nobody can see this. They say, “Well I don’t want to pay $50 a week for advertising.” I’m like, “You’re not paying it. Don’t you get it?” This is self-funding. The first 50 you put up, but then you get it back plus, and then just reinvest for the rest of your life, and I’ve been doing that for 20 years.
Michael: How long does it take to go through that cycle from the day the letter mails out to the time you just about see 90 percent of those 20 people?
Greg: Here’s what we do. We mail them on a Saturday.
Michael: Why Saturday?
Greg: Because in our town, it ships the next business day. If you’re within 100 miles of our town, it will hit the next business day. So, I want it to hit on a Monday. If I have it hit on a Friday, then they’re going to be gone for the weekend, and forget about it. So, we’ll mail them on a Saturday, but then we’ll have it expire the following Friday. I don’t mean the next Friday, but the Friday after it.
Michael: So, two weeks.
Greg: They have a good two weeks to get in.
Michael: And, you always put an expiration?
Greg: Right, nothing happens in life without a deadline.
Michael: Did you learn that lesson?
Greg: I learned that lesson. So, it’s a good two business weeks that we give them. So it’s like ten days.
Michael: So, you could cycle this in about two and a half weeks?
Michael: That they have to bring their thing in within two weeks.
Greg: Oh, usually within the one week they’re already coming in on Monday. As soon as they’re mailed, they’re coming in. I just talked last week with somebody about this. They’re asking me about this. I said, “I don’t know if it’s taught anymore, but the more you do this, the better the response is.” What I mean by that if you just did one of these letters, and then did another one a year later, I don’t know what their response would be. But, if you do this systematically and are consistent with it, it seems like the more we do this, the better the response gets everytime. You’ve conditioned them to open it up. They’re looking for some kind of offer or whatever. There’s always some kind of offer in there.
Michael: They see it believe me. The way you’re mailing it, they’re opening it and they’re reading it. I would think in this format, most of them are reading it. They may not react on it, but they’re waiting.
Greg: They have to be ready.
Michael: Right, you have to get to them at the right time.
Greg: It’s so interesting because you get to the point after four years of doing this pretty consistently, you know which ones are going to work, which ones need to be improved, but the response seems to go up a little bit with each one because I think that they’re conditioned to seeing this.
Michael: Make me a recommendation. You’re educating people about your system, right? Let’s say I’m a real estate agent, and I do have a customer list. I have purchased your collection of letters, “How to Milk Your Mailing List Like a Cash Cow”. Am I allowed to when I purchase it, to convert the letters to make them fit for my real estate?
Greg: Sure, sure.
Michael: And, is that hard to do?
Greg: I wouldn’t think so. Again, I was at a seminar in July and this lady has a system there. It looked like a little grandma lady. I said, “Why aren’t you using her in your advertising? My god, this could be like Mother Smith says this.” Have her holding up half a pie or something like that. Everybody in their office new who this way. I said, “Use her. She’s a celebrity. My god, she’s a perfect grandma figure.” All of a sudden, you could see the wheels turning like, “Yeah, we should be using here.” And, you can use your staff. You can use your kids if you have kids at home, their perfect. We’ve used our kids over the years for inserts in the newspaper and things. There’s so many different ways you can do this.
Michael: So, how many years back does this collection of letters go?
Greg: This go back to maybe the year 1999-2000, something like that.
Michael: Do you know exactly how many letters are in there?
Greg: I know there’s more than 20. I’ve never counted them. Actually I did something kind of smart. I saved everything.
Michael: Yeah, that is smart.
Greg: I thought, “Hey, this is a pretty good idea. I’ll just put these out in a little booklet.” I must be one of the only chiropractors that actually save this stuff.
Michael: That’s great. Look, what you’re telling me is you’ve got a collection of letters that it’s taken you 30 years to put together, and you’ve got a little money making system for your chiropractic business. Everytime you invest $50, as long as you take them through the system, you pull out $2,000.
Greg: That’s what we’re doing, right, yes.
Michael: And, you’ve been doing that for-
Greg: Twenty years.
Michael: Twenty years. None of it would’ve happened unless you mailed the letter, right?
Michael: So, you’ve got really that combination of words and the combination of the offer, the headline, the picture, the reasons why, the offer. This is really the key that makes this whole thing work.
Greg: What’s even better is you don’t even have to get it right. You just have to get it out there because if you realize that your competitor or whatever, they’re not doing anything. So, whatever you do is going to look good. I have a dentist in ten years I never got a thing from her. I would be so excited if I got anything even if it was wrong.
Michael: Except a postcard when your next appointment is.
Greg: Yes, I get that and I have to fill that out myself on the way out of the visit.
Michael: That’s right. Yeah, me too.
Greg: That’s all I get from her. I tell people. I say, “Don’t overanalyze this. You don’t have to get it right. Just get it out there. You’ll learn in time what to do and what not to do.” But, the thing that I liked about these is grunt work is out of it. It’s all done.
Michael: If someone was to hire Dan Kennedy to review all of the letters that you’ve had him review in the collection, what do you think it would cost them?
Greg: It wasn’t just these letters. I mean I’ve had ads and postcards and I’m guessing probably 50 grand.
Michael: Fifty grand?
Greg: Yes. Here’s something that’s kind of interesting. This very first letter in the book here.
Michael: Yeah, let’s talk about them. The very first one-
Greg: This is a half a million dollar letter.
Michael: Let’s see which one we’re talking about. What’s the headline?
Greg: It says, “We want to give you a free visit.” It has two red tickets on the bottom.
Michael: “We Want to Give You a Free Office Visit and Say to Dr. Nielson We Told You So.” Tell me the story about this letter.
Greg: I’m going to have to give you credit on this one. I bought a packet of old Halbert letters from you years ago. It was on the last page of one of his newsletters where this guy was selling million dollar equipment, and the letter was that, “My wife says that I shouldn’t send it to you on this stationary because I’m selling you million dollar equipment. If she sees this letter, I’ll never work, and blah, blah, blah.”
Michael: I know exactly what you’re talking about. It was a guy selling to schools or something.
Greg: I can’t remember what it was.
Michael: He was selling like desks and office equipment to schools. I think I know what you’re talking about.
Greg: I got it from that pack that I bought from you. I’m looking at this, and I’m going, “Okay, first question. How can I make this work for me?” So, what I did was instead of his wife, I put my staff in there, and “Dr. Neilsen says that we need to send you fancy stationary and all this stuff, and you’re probably going to throw the letter away, and blah, blah, blah.” So, I first mailed this in the year 2000, and we got 30 new people in January from it. Now, those are worth $2,000 each. That’s 60 grand right there.
Michael: When did you mail it?
Greg: In January. The reason for this letter was we wanted to mail a letter in January because the deductibles for insurance were due. They overspent for Christmas. Their taxes were due. If they were on any kind of treatment program, we didn’t want them to bail out because of money. Let’s just keep the momentum going. The whole theory was, “Look, we know you’re broker. Come on in anyway. It’s on us.” So, we gave them two red tickets that were stapled to the bottom, just like you get at a carnival or a fair, and we got those at the office supply store. They’re like three bucks a role.
Michael: You just stapled them on there?
Greg: We just stapled them on. and what happened is that one ticket gave them a free visit to see what’s in it for them, and the other one you give to a friend and for like $10 they can come in as a new patient. So, we mailed that out-
Michael: How many did you mail, a hundred?
Greg: We sent that to the whole list. That was like 3,000 we sent that first year.
Michael: 3,000 you sent out in January.
Greg: Right, we spread that out a bit. So, basically we made a ton of money in January which is notoriously a slow month. It’s kind of a seasonal letter. How long do you milk this letter out? So, I said, “Well, let’s just do it for January this year.” And, then what we’ve done though is we decided just to make this our January letter because it’s topical meaning it’s like, the topic is “It’s a brand-new year. We never overspent.” I don’t want to still be doing that mid-March. So, let’s just keep it for January. It goes out immediately after the new year, like January 2 nd it goes out, and we’ve sent this now. This will be our sixth year in January coming up, and I still don’t know about the letter and the whole thing. . It’s the same letter. Nothings been changed, and we’re up to half a million in collections off of this letter just for that one time in January for the last five years.
Greg: So, this is off this one letter, and I’m thinking like it should have worked because it was in Halbert’s newsletter and this guy made money off it. All we did was tweak it for our business.
Michael: Right, so anyone could tweak this.
Greg: Yeah, I don’t want them to obviously take it word-for-word, but you can make it fit your business.
Greg: But, don’t use my staff pictures or anything, but that kind of a deal there’s no reason why you can’t make this work for any business, but that’s what’s so neat about this is I can get something from you, tweak it to my business, and then make it work.
Michael: This truly is. It’s a half a million dollar letter.
Greg: Yeah, and I told Kennedy about this, and he says, “Why wouldn’t you keep it going?” We may run this until it dies. If we get to the eighth year and nobody’s responding, “Okay, we may pull it.” Until then, we’re just going to let the market tell us. But, if you read the letter though, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t come in. There’s nothing that prevents you from coming in. It’s a free visit. We know you overspent. The whole thing and come in anyway.
Michael: Right, that’s great, and that’s the first letter in the collection. Do you have any other stories that stick out in your head about any of these letters? That’s a great story right there.
Greg: We have one where the girls are posing with scuba equipment. They’re just going to go diving one weekend.
Michael: I’ve got it, and I see a lot of these letters say, “Staff memo”.
Greg: Yeah, that’s actually through trial and error, that’s the theme now.
Michael: “Staff Memo”
Greg: Yeah, because we want them to when they see this it’s like, “Oh, here’s another one of these letters.”
Greg: It’s kind of our trademark for that is “Staff Memo”.
Michael: Okay, I see the picture of Marie and Steffy, “check out their scuba equipment even though Dr. Nielsen is going diving without them.”
Greg: Right, so, what they’re doing is because they can’t go diving with me, they’re going to show me by giving you a free visit. I come in the office with my scuba equipment, and they put this on and I took their picture. They never question it. So, that was just an idea I had this summer. I’m just flipping through this here thing.
We talked about the burnt letter. It’s a couple ones after that. We found a burnt notebook. I don’t know how it got burnt, but if you remember, you can tell us. We ripped a page out of that burnt notebook and the next couple pages later. You can’t really see it in the hard copy. We burned the corners off the pages. We burned a hole in the middle of it. It’s just a hand-drawn thing, and we just had them in the back burning these with a torch, and they got a kick out of that.
Michael: That’s hilarious.
Greg: That’s the one that we actually put into an envelope and we got the pieces of the burnt paper and stuff like that in there. A lot of these are really unprofessional. I mean, if you look at these you’ll go, “Oh my god, how could you send these out?”
Michael: You know what? They’re down to earth, they’re homey.
Greg: A lot of these are home-drawn doodles and stuff like this. What they’re trying to do is say, “Look, this is like some rough draft of an ad Dr. Nielsen had 20 years ago. We found it. We thought it was kind of cool. We’re sending it to you to share it with you. Oh by the way, you can come in for a free visit for reading this letter.” There’s another one where we finally got a website and they all got these Harry Potter glasses to make them look really smart. At Easter they forgot the mailing so I made them put ears on, little bunny ears, so they’ll remember next year.
Michael: So, is this lumpy mail stuff?
Greg: It could be. I found it, to be honest with you, the red ticket thing works the best, and then we also use a prescription pad. I had to research that too what a prescription pad looked like on the Internet. We designed that and then on the prescription pad, I’m going to make some kind of offer for them. So, it’s congruent with the doctor thing, the prescription. We have a lot of stuff – crumbled letters where they’ll crumple these up and put them in the envelope. That’s a lumpy one.
We had one with earplugs because if you’re tired of hearing your people and your friends whine, here’s some earplugs.
Michael: Do you have a source of lumpy stuff like the earplugs?
Greg: I get them from Mitch Carson.
Michael: Yeah, I know Mitch. So, he’s got a good supply of all that stuff.
Greg: Yeah, he’s got all those sources but Mitch is good. It depends on the thing. One time I was at the fair and everybody had these little bracelets on for to prove they had paid their admission. I thought, “Hey that’d be a good thing.” We’ve sent those out in a letter that they had to wear that wristband in and then they could get a free visit.
My daughter graduated college and went to the oriental training, and got little keychains with those little graduation caps on them, and we sent those out in lumpy mail. If you would come in with that keychain, you got a free visit to prove that she had it.
There’s one thing here where we actually took, we call it transparency, like a black and white transparency.
Greg: And, what we did is we did reverse printing on it-
Michael: Is this that Mitch Carlson mailing? There’s one that a dentist has done like a reverse on the transparency.
Greg: That’s the one that Bill Glazer did.
Michael: Yeah, I’ve seen that.
Greg: That’s the one that – I sent it to Bill and he swiped it and made it for him, and basically it’s just a transparency and if you do reverse printing it makes it look like an X-ray, and that’s probably our best one to date.
Michael: Yeah, that’s cute. I seen that.
Greg: Then, let’s see what else there is. We do something with DVDs where we’ve got this load of DVDs came in last Christmas. We don’t know how we got them, but if you referred somebody, we’ll give you one of them. Those cost me I think $30 each, and I think we charged them like $39 or $49 for the visit.
Michael: What was it a DVD of?
Greg: DVD Player.
Michael: Oh, a DVD player, I got ya.
Greg: And, I think what you did is you referred a friend and the first visit was like $49, and my cost was like $30. So, we made a couple of bucks on that.
Michael: Here’s one – why the attached sponge is your passport to a free office visit during March, 2004.
Greg: Now, that one you don’t get the full affect in that one because we used a bolt on there that weighed about a pound almost. It was this huge bolt two or three inches long, and it had this little tiny sponge on it. It was like just a little kitchen sponge with a huge bolt, and the gist of it was I’d send them to Kinko’s with a bunch of stuff to mail out, and they dropped it in the snow up here in Wisconsin. Then they said, “What are we supposed to do with this?” And they had to use a sponge or something to blot them off, and they thought that would be a good idea to send people a sponge to show them what they used to clean these letters off, and then they asked Dr. Nielson how they should attach them, and he says, “I don’t care if you use a bolt.” They go to the hardware store and these buy these huge bolts and they put it through the letter. They put a plastic bag, like a gallon bag, with a letter in there and the sponge from the water, and we sprayed them with Windex to keep them moist, and we got that from “The Big Fat Greek Wedding Thing”, that’s where I got that idea. And, we sprayed them so when you got the letter, it actually came in a box. You got this sponge bolted to the letter, and then at the end of it there was a plastic bag with the wet letter in, again congruent. This was the wet letter that they found on the ground.
Michael: So, the bolt had the nut? It was screwed on. Did you have the bolt and the nut?
Greg: Right, all through the whole thing.
Michael: That’s great. This is a wealth of great ideas. I really appreciate you sharing this.
I want to thank you for listening to
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