W-A-Y West of Jewfish Creek

Dear Friend & Subscriber,

Oh boy!

What you are about to read is probably the best news I've had to report since I started publishing this letter. For some of you, what you are about to read will seem like a message from heaven. For the rest of you, who don't need this info immediately, you'll certainly know someone who does need it and, you can share it with them as an early Christmas present.

Alright, let's get to it. Unless you've been living in a closet for the last few years, you are undoubtedly aware that it's damn near impossible for a direct response company to get a new merchant account. It's really a terrible situation. So bad, in fact, that many people in our industry have had to resort to dealing with total slimebags who make a Chicago loan shark look like a saint.

Moreover, this situation has spawned a new breed of rather sleazy opportunists who promise, for a fee and a percentage, they'll get you a merchant account no matter how many times you've already been turned down.

Personally, I listened to this same song and dance so many times I've grown weary of it. We paid $500 to some guy named James Elliot of Peachtree Financial and got nothing for our money but an abusive phone call. We paid $400 to Kyle Keough & Associates and ended up with squat. We were referred to a company called Mag Card but they couldn't help us. Another guy called and said he could take care of us for $15,000. Someone else offered to allow us, for only $100,000, to buy a piece of a "bank-to-be" that would issue a merchant account to any of its shareholders.

And so on.

So, perhaps you can understand why, when a very nice young lady came to our office and said she could maybe help us get a merchant account, I sloughed her off to Paulette and refused to give her any of my time.

Well, lo and behold, guess what? This young lady took some credit info from Paulette and, two days later, we did indeed have a merchant account. But her fee... oh Lordy, are you ready for this...

Her Fee Was A
Big Fat $150.00!

And that was it. No BS percentages. No trickery. No hassles. Just a nice young lady who delivered what she promised for a fair price. And, wonder of wonders, there are no extra "processing charges" or any other Mickey Mouse tacked-on expenses.

And know this: some people who've offered to solve this problem for us wanted a rate of 11%! Yet, but working with this young lady, we pay a simple, fair and just rate of...


Now, I bet many of you are hoping I'll give you this young lady's name and number, aren't you?

Fear not, I will. However, there are a few other things you need to know: (1) the bank she works with will not take telemarketing firms, (2) you may (we did) have to make a reasonable security deposit in the form of an interest-bearing CD, (3) your "financials" will be closely examined and (4) I'll be looking over her shoulder at the inquiries she receives and, if I'm able to recognize any bad apples, I'll do what I can (considerable) to put the kibosh on the deal.

Enough said. The lady's name is Joyce Gaines and her number is (213) 257-1818.

You know, I can see it now. Some scumsucker, by clandestine means, gets a copy of this issue and reads what I've just written and drool and spittle will begin dripping from his mouth. His greed glands will be amped to the max and he'll be thinking...

"Hey, this dumb little twit doesn't know what she's stumbled onto. I could be getting thousands for what she's offering so cheap. I think I'll look into this and knock her out of the picture and take this deal big time!"

Beware slimebag. As I said, I'll be looking over her shoulder and, if you try any of this kind of crap, you may just find that the amazing, semi-handsome Prince of Print has a little unpleasant surprise for you.

Let's change the subject, shall we? Now, how'd you like some more good news? Well, why not? It's Christmas, isn't it? Listen: I've stumbled into something that's new (at least it's new to me) that can unfreeze your mental sludge and open up brand new vistas of profit for you. There's probably a better name for it but, what I call it is...

Vanity Radio!

You are, of course, familiar with vanity publishing, right? That's where some dork writes a book on the "History of Caterpillars in Iowa" and, he discovers, surprise... surprise... that no one will publish his book. So, what he does is, he goes to a vanity publisher who pretends to have read his manuscript with great enthusiasm and who charges him an arm and a leg to print up 5,000 copies of this book, all of which, (except those he gave to his friends), end up collecting dust in his garage.

Not so with vanity radio. It actually is a valid, viable way to advance your business endeavors...

Providing You Have
Something To Say Of
Some Interest!

Here's an example of how it can work. There's a station in Glendale, California whose call letters are KIEV and you can get them at 870 on your AM dial. Now, what they'll do is sell you a block of time, at a very reasonable rate, in which you can create your own talk show. The way I got onto this was, I was running one of my ads in the L.A. Times, "The Amazing Cash-Flow Secret Of A Desperate Nerd From Ohio," and I get a call from a guy who says the subject of my ad (my report "16 Ways To Sell Anything to Anyone Without Ever Meeting Them In Person") would be a natural for a radio talk show. He then goes on to tell me I can buy an entire hour of radio time for only $1,200 and he'll arrange to have me interviewed by one of the station's announcers.

What the hey? Always eager for another shot at self-aggrandizement, I go for the deal and I send off a check and show up at the station the following Saturday. A few minutes before air time, the guy who's going to interview me bursts into the room and says, "Let's go next door. You sit here and I'll sit there."

And we're off!

I'd already given this guy a list of questions I wanted him to ask me and he did so while, intermittently, giving out the telephone number the listeners could call to order my report.

It worked out pretty good. I did enough business to just about pay for my air time (actually, counting the "back end", I'm probably considerably ahead) and, as a bonus, they gave me a cassette of the show that I am free to use in any way I choose except... I can't re-broadcast it.

There are some very interesting ramifications to this situation. Let's say, for example, you're working on a space ad or a direct mail package and you can't seem to get it on paper exactly the way you want it. Maybe this is the umpteenth time you've had to sit down and bat out a piece on the same thing you can't seem to come up with any fresh ideas. Or maybe you're working on a brand new project and you just can't seem to get it flowing.

In any case, what you might want to try as a novel approach is, to book yourself an hour or 1/2 hour on KIEV or a similar station and arrange to have yourself interviewed by one of their people. You make up a list of questions you want to be asked and also, you let the interviewer ask his own questions as they occur to him. And, since this is a talk show format, you'll also be receiving call-ins from people with additional questions.

In any case, when it's all over, you'll have  a 30-minute or a 60-minute tape recording of you (hopefully at your best), talking about whatever it is you're selling. most likely, you'll hear yourself saying some new things, things you've never said before, or said perhaps quite this way. That will occur because of the unexpected questions that will pop up and because of the adrenaline inherent in the situation.

Now, what you do next is, you get a transcript of the show and you go over it with a fine tooth comb looking for fresh ideas you can transfer over to your print campaigns.

So, the first thing you can use vanity radio for is to get your brain unglued whenever you're stuck.

What else? Ok, since the announcer will be constantly telling the listeners how to call and order what you're selling, you also rake in some money... maybe even a profit.

What else? Ok, let's say you're selling something like financial services that require quite a bit of explanation plus... quite a bit of validation and, being on the radio will give you some.

So maybe, what you might want to do is make dupes of the cassette of your show and send that cassette with a cover letter to your best prospects. By the way, as a little "insurance" you might want to "stack the deck" by having some of your friends standing by to call while you are on the air with questions, the answers of which make you look especially good.

So, what you get from all this is...

1.     help in creating your written sales pitch

2.     orders

3.     credentializing


 You Get To Be A
Star For A Day!

Ah, but what's all this wonderfulness going to cost you? An arm? A leg? Your sister's virtue? Not at all, Kemo Sabe. What it currently costs (call KIEV for more exact figure) approximates...

$1,200... for a full hour
$600... for a half hour
$300... for 15-minutes

...or if you just want to buy some 2-minute spots (it would be silly) you can get them for about $200 apiece. So, if you're interested, here's the name and number of the man to call...

Walter Zlotnicki
(213) 245-2388

Now, having said all that, let me say this - the real reason I did the KIEV radio show is, I'm getting ready to film a half hour "infomercial" for cable TV and, doing it first on the radio is a cheap way to "debug" the show. In other words, you can use the facilities of KIEV or, you can record somewhere else and, you just give KIEV the tape and they'll play your show straight through without making any changes.

And, speaking of radio, let me remind you of something. Many years ago I learned that, whenever I'm running full-page ads in newspapers and, I also "advertise my advertising" by using radio spots that reference the newspaper ads that, as a rule, it...

Triples Response

You do it like this: Let's say you're running an ad that exhorts people to buy their Xmas trees from you because... "You won't be cruel, just because it's yule" and you'll give them a real bargain. So, on the day your ad appears, you run a bunch of 60-second spots that go like this...

"Attention everybody
who loves Christmas! Would you like to have a real live northern pine evergreen Christmas tree to help make your holiday season mucho merry? Would you like to buy your Christmas tree in the most convenient way possible and get it at the cheapest price in town? If so, read the Herald Examiner. Read it today. Just look for the page with the big headline that says... 'How to buy a great Christmas tree and still have enough money left over to celebrate New Years.' That's today. In the Herald Examiner. Once again look for the page that says 'How to buy a great Christmas tree and still have enough money left to celebrate New Years.' That's today. In the Herald Examiner. Thank you."

And heck, while I'm on the subject of radio, let's go for more. A couple of weeks ago I was teaching at a marketing boot camp (you should go to one) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I met a copywriter named Bob Rutz. He told me about an outfit called American Radio Network that has midnight to 8 A.M. slots on stations in 4 major areas. Those areas in California are: Riverside, L.A. & the "Valley," and Fresno. They also have a station in Hawaii. Now, apparently, they'll play your canned 1-hour show...

For Only $65.00!

They say that you own each show and you can run it on other stations. Also, they get 4-minutes of your hour to run their commercials. Also, according to my erstwhile researcher, "Cruel Johnny Carlton," they also want you to come in and do a test tape to make sure you're not pathological or sound like Minnie Mouse. There's more: They want you to commit to your time slot every week, they want you to attend 4-weekends at their studio (they're kidding, I hope) to learn how to handle the studio. And, since they're not set up for live shows yet, you definitely must pre-tape or can all your shows.

Listen: I haven't checked all this out but it does sound interesting. So, if you want more info you can call them for their written information at (213) 468-0080 and, you can call Friday noon to 7 P.M. only, at (213) 468-0095 and ask for Jim Guthrie.

Who knows? Maybe this will come to naught and be a total bust as far as you're concerned. Or maybe, it'll work out. Give it a try, if it fits within your scheme of things.

Let's change gears and go on to another subject. There's something I've been wanting to tell you for a long time but, so far, I've never been able to make it fit into the "theme" of any of my letters. Well, it doesn't fit into the theme of this one either but, I'm going to tell you anyway.

So there.

And, so anyway, years ago, I was sitting at the feet of Ed Mayer, the "Dean of Direct Mail," and he taught me many amazing things. Here's one I've never forgotten: Ok, let's say you have a successful sales letter that pulls in a certain percent of orders. Then, if you wait 3-weeks and then mail what appears to be a carbon copy of your original letter with a note that says, "Here's a copy of my earlier letter - still waiting for your reply," that you'll pull in about 60% to 70% of what you pulled in with the original letter.

But here's the kicker: If you mail the carbon copy version first, (without ever having mailed the original) you'll pull in more than you would have by mailing the original!

Now, here's another direct mail idea that can dramatically increase your response. Let's say you're mailing a piece that includes a brochure. What you do is you convert your brochure into an ad, run that ad in a prestigious publication like a national newspaper and then, you have extra copies of that ad printed up... and printed on newsprint!

Then, you replace your brochure with the newsprint reprint and, in your sales letter, you say something like...

"Dear Friend,

   I'm sending you a copy of a recent piece about how to cure poverty that appeared in  _________ ___________ _________."

Etc. etc.

You'll get more readership, more believability and more orders!


Gary C. Halbert

Airhead of the Airways

Do you know any more stations across the country who use this vanity radio idea? I'd like to know about them.

P.P.S 1988 has been good to me. I sure hope it was for you, too. I want to wish you the happiest of holidays and a...

Merry Christmas!
A Happy Hanukkah!
And For Sure
A Happy New Year!

God bless you.

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Copyright 2003 Gary C. Halbert.  All Rights Reserved.