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.