James, you make good points. And I repeat, I would like to be in the place where you are, the top 5% beat a path to my door with your reputation, a few articles in the paper and a visit to a networking meeting here and there. my reputation and other marketing methods do bring me more than half my sales. But If I believe and listen to you and do not do direct mail, then I throw away a ton of sales this spring, last spring, and so on.
But James, you say "in your experience" that your top 5% don't respond to direct mail, so at least be honest with yourself. how much experience do you actually have in doing direct mail to your market? when was the last time you sent a very well designed full size, full color mailer to your target market? 2 years ago? 5 years ago? more? have you ever even done a multi card campaign over a period of 6 months? you probably think you don't need to, and if you are busy, you would be right, but another way to think about it- If a new company came out to your area, and did a well thought out direct mail campaign, how many customers yearly would they pick off from you? 1? 5? 10? more? again, being honest with yourself?
But you may also miss that you are wrong about a few other things James. you may not realize that the top 5% don't drive Bentleys and Rolls Royce. combined they sold less than 10,000 cars in america in 2012. only the top 1% of 1% buy those cars. And the multiple postcard bids I have closed on the 1-5 million dollar homes this spring have Toyota's, Cadillacs, and BMW's in the garage and drive way. $30,000-$60,000 cars. but I did see 1 porche. but his other car was a jeep. while these folks may make 500k to multiple millions per year, so they could buy a Bentley or Rolls, but they don't. They buy a very nice new mode of transportation, and they also want a very nice landscape lighting system. And they chose me initially because they saw the postcard.
The numbers play like this- we have about 500,000 population in my 2 county area. the top 5% would be 25000 folks. but I only mail to the highest home value properties, where you have to have some degree of income and or wealth to live there. it plays out to about a list of 10,000 or the top 2% of home value properties.
And finally James, among the hundreds, I have done 2 very, very nice homes that have a butler and 3 homes that had a personal assistant who opened the mail for them. 2 of the 5 were gotten by postcard. 1 saw my truck graphics at the grocery store. 1 was web search, and 1 was a reputation/referral.
I do believe in your area you can do exactly what you have done and be successful without direct mail. However, I am not so sure you can repeat that success using the same method elsewhere. I believe that to be successful in other areas my method does work, and if you stay at it long enough, no will no longer need to do direct mail. The machine will run.