Sell Customers to Other Businesses

One of dozens of strategies listed and linked to here:
How to Make More Money From Your Business


The idea that you can sell customers to other businesses doesn't sit well with some. But as long as it is done in relevant ways that are likely to be beneficial to your customers, there isn't really an ethical issue here. My credit union even does this now. They put offers from insurance companies in with the monthly statements they send. I can assure you that they don't do this for free.

Of course, you want to sell or rent your customer list to companies with non-competing products. The credit union is not going to let a bank pay to advertise to their customers. But the products or services should also be complementary in some way. Insurance is probably pushing it, but at least it is a financial product. If the credit union starts sending out ads for hair-growth medicines customers might get annoyed.

Most of the time you do not actually sell customers or customer lists. You rent them. Rates vary according to the nature of the list and the offer that the buyer/renter will be making. The credit union, for example, might get $100 per thousand names for an insert they include in those envelopes, and the inserts themselves are paid for by the advertiser. At a nickel per insert for printing, and a dime to send them, that advertiser gets their message in front of people for just 15 cents each--much cheaper than doing their own mailing. Meanwhile, if the credit union has 10,000 members (no idea--I'm just speculating on these numbers) they get an extra $1,000 per advertiser (sometimes they have two inserts) per month.

Even when the names and addresses are "sold," so that a company can do it's own mailing, they are usually rented. They are sold for a one-time use. You can track this by including "dummy" names and addresses that you track (perhaps your own address or that of a friend). If a second mailing is received at the dummy address, you can sue the list renter. Your customers only become part of his list if they contact his company or buy something from it. Otherwise, to use your names again he would have to pay again.

I have seen lists sell for as little as $50 per 1,000 names, and up to hundreds of dollars. Again, the prices vary according to the nature and quality of the list. A list of real estate investors would be worth more than a list of people who filled out a form to win free cat food, for example. A list that was from sales made years ago would have very little value compared to a list of customers who bought something this year.

So, if you have a list (see the page Use Your Customer List for more about why you need one), consider whether you would like to sell those customers to make more money. You have the control, so you can rent out the list or choose to include ads in your own mailings. You also have the right--and perhaps the obligation--to allow only relevant products and services of real value to be promoted to your customers.

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Every Way to Make Money | Sell Customers to Other Businesses