Take One Boxes and Contest Entry Boxes

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Everything from cosmetic make-overs and spa memberships to vacation clubs and credit cards are successfully promoted via take-one boxes and contest-entry boxes placed in businesses.

The purpose of these box systems is, of course, to collect names of somewhat qualified prospects for follow-up by mail or phone. A box can cost as little as a couple of dollars and, located in a busy business, collect hundreds of leads each week. The Constance Cosmetics skin-care studios in which I have an interest have used contest-entry boxes dropped off at outdoor bank ATM machines on Friday evenings and picked up Sunday evenings to collect hundreds and hundreds of leads for telemarketing follow-up.

If I had a business that could effectively follow up on leads by mail or phone, I would develop a contest-entry box and hire a reliable, ambitious college student in need of extra income to place a number of the boxes and then service them weekly or bi-weekly, and then pay the kid by the number of leads or the number of leads converted to appointments or customers.

When using a contest-entry box system, it's important to offer and honestly deliver a valuable, appealing first prize. In Phoenix, weekend getaways to cooler San Diego work very well. But, although not announced in advance, every entrant wins a second prize.

Let's say you want to promote an Italian restaurant, and you want to specifically increase your weekday early dinner traffic.

First, you get ten contest-entry boxes placed in nonrestaurant businesses, probably in a circle around your restaurant Second, you collect all the leads after a week or two. Third, you or somebody calls these leads or you mail to these leads with this message:

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING OUR SAN DIEGO VACATION CONTEST. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU DID NOT WIN THE FIRST PRIZE—IT WAS WON BY MR. AND MRS. JONES OF GLENDALE, ARIZONA. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE WON A VALUABLE SECOND PRIZE: THE ENCLOSED CERTIFICATE ENTITLES YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE OR FRIEND TO A 2-FOR-1 DINNER DEAL AT OUR BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN RIS-TORANTE ON 12TH STREET, MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY FROM 5:00 TO 7:30PM. WITH THIS CERTIFICATE, YOU PAY FOR JUST 1 DINNER AND GET A 2ND DINNER OF EQUAL OR LESSER VALUE FRED. ENCLOSED IS A

MINIATURE COPY OF OUR MENU SO YOU CAN SEE IN ADVANCE THE TREMENDOUS VARIETY AND REASONABLE PRICES WE OFFER. PLEASE CALL FOR RESERVATIONS AND REDEEM YOUR CERTIFICATE WITHIN THE NEXT TWENTY-ONE DAYS.

If nothing else, these strategies dispel the damaging, often-repeated idea that you need money to make money. I was recently at a seminar where each attendee's business project was analyzed, discussed, and worked on by the entire group. One fellow came there with the belief he needed to raise or borrow two million dollars to successfully implement his business project. By the time the seminar was over, he had a good business plan requiring less than $5,000.

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