Stealth barter

Since the very beginning of my fascination with barter, it’s always been something I do “in stealth mode.”   It’s not something that I mention on my main business website.  It’s not something I mention to my “regular” business associates.  It’s not something I put on my business cards.  It’s as if I have a secret second life.  Of course it’s a horribly kept secret within my own office and in my personal life because I can’t stop blabbering about it.

Of course the cause for this duplicity is that I want to preserve my cash clients and only use barter to bring in new clients that I can only get on barter.  I’ve always assumed that most other businesses that operate on a cash and barter basis do the same.  The only lapse of my separation between “church and state” has been when I sweeten a cash deal by offering to do a portion of a cash project on barter to win a new cash client.  I’ve even had a few barter partners request that I never discuss barter in front of their other clients because they don’t especially want the beans spilled either.

So….here I am happily running my life as a double agent when, while reading a new book on barter I slammed into a brand new concept:  Outing yourself as a barter geek.  The book (that I’ll review on the blog soon) recommended printing right on your business cards that you are open to barter.  I was aghast.  In shock.  And then…intrigued.  Maybe it would work.  We all know all of the reasons why we keep barter secret from cash clients, but on the flip side; think of all the deals you could make if you were open about the fact that you barter.  Thinking about it was like the clouds were parting on a rainy day and sun was pouring down on me.  I could have so much fun bartering out in the open!  And here was the thought that makes me think it just might work without killing your cash business:  Most people are terrible at barter and only vaguely even understand what it is.  As such, most people prefer to pay for products/services in cash.  Honestly when I’m recruiting new barter partners I always have to sell them on the concept.  So…what if I was open about barter?  Would I really lose my cash clients?  Maybe not!!!!!

So far I’m too much of a chicken to actually try this concept out, but I would be most interested in your input on the topic.  Please post back comments using our new Facebook-comment feature.  If you don’t have a Facebook account, please just email me through our contact page.

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