You know that look your employees get on their face when you tell them it’s time to go out and do some door hanging? It kind of reminds you of that famous painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch.

Then they get that “1,000-yard stare” and their brain starts churning like a busted garbage disposal (okay – it does that all the time anyway).

Then you notice their eyes fixating on a point off in the distance. You determine this point to be a big dumpster about 300 yards up the street.

You quickly return to a state of complete denial and send your little munchkin out to do some door hanging. (Notice how when “they” do it – you never get as high a response as when “you” do it.)

Or, you could hire one of those door-hanging companies – right? Well, let me tell you a very nauseating story. It’s a real eye opener.  Here it is: Sometime in 2002, Kim Streeter at Red Rock Pizza in Las Vegas, hired “Nevada Flyer Distributors” to put out a boatload of door hangers—5,000 to be exact.

Now, this company claims to have “professional staff,” “radio control,” “longest in business,” blah, blah, blah. They charged her $300. Funny thing though – they started at 10 a.m. and returned to pick up their check at about 1 p.m. Hmmm. Four people did all that in three hours? 

Then, The Preacher Walked In

Well, about six months later a nicely dressed preacher from a church right up the street from Red Rock Pizza walked in and asked for the owner. He handed Kim a big bag with over 4,000 door hangers in it. He found the bag next to the church’s dumpster while hosing the area down. Kim was sick.

Do you know the ramifications from that con-job? It’s very significant. First, the door hangers were full color costing eight cents each. That’s $400. Then she paid these crooks $300 to have them “distributed.”

About 1,000 were actually put on doors resulting in about 50 orders—about $750 in business. After food cost, Kim lost a chunk of change on that deal. But, it gets worse.  Here’s why: Had all of them been distributed Kim would have generated $3,750 in sales.  More than a home run. But, even more important – she would have generated about 40 new customers who would spend around $12,000 a year! And, this would also put the squeeze on nearby competitors!

Well, what reminded me of this story is some recent chatter on the Think Tank on using boxes and box-toppers as a profit center. Basically, this is renting out the space on top of your pizza box. You’ll get someone to pay for the boxes or pay for an “ad” on the box.

And, in case you’re wondering what door hangers have to do with selling space on your pizza box – stay with me because it has EVERYTHING to do with it. Kim’s anger over the door hanger fiasco motivated her to try a different approach to distribute fliers “automatically” day-in, and day-out at no cost whatsoever. I’ll tell you what Kim did in a minute, but first let’s do the math on selling space on your boxes.

Let’s say you found someone who was completely out of his or her mind. And they gave you 25 cents per box (or box-topper). This figure is very high and you are unlikely to get anywhere close to that. But, let’s say you do. Now, watch this…You go through 2,000 boxes in one month. So at 25 cents a box – that’s $500 in your pocket.

Holy Cow!

But, before you go slapping yourself on the back and tell everyone how brilliant you are, consider this…Imagine for a minute that you went to the owners of service businesses in your area. And instead of watching their eyes spin like a slot machine while you try to “sell” them space on your boxes… you offer to trade with them.

You make a deal to do a flier exchange with five different local businesses. The dry cleaners will put your door hanger on each hanger or order that leaves their shop.  The quick lube place will hang one on each rear-view mirror. The video rental shop will hand one out with each movie. The coffee shop will hand them out. And, the carwash will put one on every seat. You will put all five of their fliers in a printed envelope that says “Super Saver” and put one on each box you send out (don’t forget to slip your box-topper in there as well).

Now, look at the leverage you’ve gained. You now have five businesses putting out fliers for you to their customers. And you can best believe you will reach people that have never heard of you before. And because they are handing them out, it becomes an endorsement of sorts from the business owner.

Let’s say each business hands out 500 fliers per month for you (20 a day).  That’s 2,500 total. At a 4 percent return, you’ll get 100 orders. At a $12 average ticket, you’ll make $1,200.

Better yet, you will likely gain 10 new customers that will spend an additional $2,880 a year with you. So, your total take will be around $4,080. This is far more lucrative for you than selling “space” for money.

Plus, these Mom and Pop shops have a vested interest in helping you. And once they’ve started with you, they are very likely to become a great source of “word-of-mouth” because they realize, the more people that buy from you, the more exposure their flyers get. How did this work for Kim?  Well, she said it was like an…

“Out of Control Vacuum Cleaner –Sucking in Customers Like Crazy”

You can easily trade with quick lube shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, beauty shops, nail shops, health clubs, movie theatres, video rental shops, carwashes, etc.  The mom and pop stores will be the easiest. Kim even had International House of Pancakes (IHOP) handing out flier for her.

If you’re doing door hangers – keep it up. I offer this example to you as an additional way to put flier distribution on “auto-pilot” and  do it for FREE. Will this take a little effort? Yes. Will it pay off? Yes. Will any of your competitors get off their rears and do this? No. If you’d like to make a little extra money selling space on your boxes, have at it. If you want to really apply some leverage and get some extra bang from your boxes – trade.