"Barter your way into Marketing as well as movie tickets"
by Gary Cole

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Many people have asked for new marketing ideas as well as effective ways to get some exposure in new business areas. With this little trick one can kill two birds with one barter, or is that one stone?
I'm going to tackle the topic of bartering. This is an EXCELLENT way to put your foot in many new doors as well as get paid, so to speak, as you get free exposure. It is an area that many people have not considered. It is time to change your mind and I'll tell you why.
First of all, it is a way to get some free exposure in areas that you currently are not capitalizing on. There are many people or companies out there that would love to have a face painter, ballooner or clown but do not have the budget to pay your regular hourly fees. Where they may not have the cash, they certainly have something that you might have interest in owning. Remember the movie Phenomenon? You know, the one with John Travolta. In the movie he was an auto mechanic that needed solar panels installed on his roof. He conjured up a barter to fix the car of a man that digs wells. The well digger, dug a well for a guy that knew how to install solar panels and wha-la all three parties got what they wanted and it did not cost them a dime. To top it all off, no taxes were even paid. Sorry for the slight diversion with the movie, but the same trick can work for you. The only thing is you might to have to think a little "out of the box" as they say.
When people want your services, but don't have the budget to do so, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone and simply ask: "well, what is it that you can offer in exchange for my services?" If you put your mind to work you will find that there are thousands of "swapping items" that you would be more than happy to have. They get a face painter (or whatever you do) and you are going to end up with goodies. Here are some starter ideas just to get you going... vouchers for restaurants, movie tickets, gift certificates, toys, clothing. Think about it and you will come up with a hundred. I have used this tool myself and earned everything from tickets to the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Star's sports games to a massive bouncy house for my four year old's birthday party. Heck, I even got free Dallas Star's tickets during the year when they won the world cup and you couldn't even buy them on the street.
The good thing is, in almost every instance, I was able to set up my workers in venues or areas of town that had high exposure to our services. Keep in mind the saying I often use... "you do not get what you deserve in life, you get what you negotiate". Here are some things that you should try to negotiate in your favor.
1) you barter to them your services at your full hourly rate and in turn they barter to you the "thing" that they offer at their full rate
2) try to negotiate that they pay you 1/2 of the fee in cash and the other half in "goods"
3) try to let them allow you to pass out or even better, display your business cards, at the event
4) if possible, ask that you would be allowed to put out a tip jar see http://www.rubyredpaint.com/faqtipping.htm for more on this
You will need to check with your local laws, but in most areas, bartering for services is considered tax free. You don't even have to pay taxes. Wow, I'm for that!
Now if it ends up being an ongoing event, you might have to negotiate further. After all, just how many movie tickets can one family use? Always consider giving out these tickets for everything from Christmas to treats for your children's school teachers. No matter how you slice it, you are going to get some great exposure. Good exposure, only means that new opportunities will be open for you. True success in this business depends on always opening new doors.
This is also a great way for the beginner to get a start. Think about it. You can bargain for less money out of their pocket and in the meantime you will be getting lots of practice. The more you face paint the faster you will get, the more designs you will be able to paint and the more business cards you will be able to pass out. The more cards you pass out, the more bookings you end up with. In time, you can do away with the movie theatre when you have a pocket full (or drawer full) of movie vouchers.
When people are calling for our services, I always will go for our hourly rate first. This way the painters get paid and the cash flow is rolling. Second I would go for the 50/50 barter, third I would go for full barter, fourth, paint by the face and fifth go for tips and the exposure. Don't give in easily and leave money on the table, but then again do not get too greedy. You can always raise your rates and negotiate a better deal later. Bottom line is, bartering is a true win/win that will open many doors. After all, what is it that you have that I would like to have? Can't we work out something?
Gary Cole


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