Friday, November 02, 2012

Your First Day Back...

I'm at the AAEX / SEMA tradeshows this week. If you were here, too, I hope you had a great show.

Every year at this time I write the same basic tip. Hope it serves as a reminder to not let all your hard work as an exhibitor go to waste ...

Your trade show or special event is over. Great! Time to breath a sigh of relief and catch up on things.

Whoa! Not so fast.

Consider using your first day back like it's your last day at the event.

It's easy to get so swept away catching up that you put off following up.

But what's more important? The day-to-day grind -- or reminding that hot prospect that you're the one exhibitor out of hundreds they met that they want to buy from?

Take a moment to jot a quick thank you note, send a catalog, or ship that sample you promised. Don't let your follow-up get fouled up by competing priorities. Set your priority on contacting the hottest prospects first and working your way down the list.

How do you know who's hottest? You should use a lead sheet that asks questions that will help you, like:

When do you plan to buy?

How many do you plan to buy?

Are you considering any other brands?

This is also a good day to make notes on improvements for next year's show while everything is still fresh in your mind.

But above all try to avoid calling anyone you met at the trade show the first day you're back.  After all, they'll probably be as swamped catching up that day as you'll be -- tomorrow.

BTW, If  I don't call you today please don't be offended, be inspired.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Assumptive Selling....

This morning, I called my local phone company to confirm details on my new contract. The representative assured me everything was OK. Then she jumped into a sales pitch for an add-on service. 

I stopped her mid-sentence. 

"I very busy," I said "I'm happy with my service. Don't change my mind." 

Yesterday, at the bank the commercial teller told me about their new credit card offer. 

"That's interesting..." I said, feigning interest. 

Then, instead of handing me an application, she actually began filling it out. 


"Whoa!" I said. "I said 'that's interesting,' not 'sign me up'!"

Ending a customer service interaction with a sales pitch is all too common today. But it's gone from suggestive selling to downright pushy.  And that can breed resentment. 

Remember, today's customer's are the same ones that created the firestorm for Bank of America and Netflix. Customers are demanding more of business than sales pitches: they want authenticity and integrity. 

A better approach than being pushy: hand the customer a flyer, offer to email them the information, or ask if you can mail them a brochure. 

Are you nudging customers to buy -- or shoving them?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Big S'Mac 2...

Yesterday,  I wrote about LivingSocial's Big Mac half price offer [http://bit.ly/bigmac13].

LivingSocial, the smaller social couponing website rival to Groupon, is owned in part by Amazon. In an attempt to wrestle the industry lead from Groupon (who has about three times as many subscribers) LivingSocial has been taking big risks.  This one with McDonald's may cost LivingSocia some cash -- and some cache.

The offer that was to cap at a million booklets has been extended today with less than a quarter million takers.

Why the problem? In an unusual move, the company is issuing printed booklets instead of their usual print-at-home offers. This may be take the impulse buyers out. They want to buy it now and use it tonight.

The type of offer is somewhat limited by focusing on only Big Macs. (I prefer the Quarter Pounder. But I haven't eaten at McDonald's for I don't know how long. And given a burger choice, I'd visit BK.)  I get the impression more adults frequent McDonald's these days for their specialty drinks or prefer the healthier fare on their menu.

The bigger problem is that I think LivingSocial probably has a million coupon books in a warehouse somewhere ready to ship. This makes the fiasco an even bigger black eye for LivingSocial.

The whole social couponing world is interesting. It tends to slant younger and draws into businesses a lot of discount shoppers with no loyalty.

So, my guess we'll see that Big Mac offer online for a while to empty the warehouse. So walk, don't run to http://bit.ly/bigmac13 and see where the numbers are right now.

And be aware that this could happen to your business if you overpromise. Much better to underpromise and overdeliver.

And I'll keep you posted on this marketing tale. I'm one of those 250,000 takers. (So, if you find Big Mac and fries coupons in your stocking from me this year, you'll know the backstory.)

Big S'Mac....

I haven't had lunch, yet. So, I'm a little hungry. Maybe that's why this
story caught my eye....

Crain's Chicago Business reported that LivingSocial and McDonald's are
offering a special promotion today: $26 worth of Big Macs and fries for
$13. (If you're feeling hungry, too, you can get in on the deal at:
http://bit.ly/bigmac13 .)

What makes the story interesting is that Groupon and McDonald's are
based in Chicago, but LivingSocial has managed to broker this deal right
in Groupon's backyard.

Groupon, which went public with an IPO last month, has seen it's stock
price decrease. So it seems LivingSocial, with about a third of the
subscribers of Groupon, has worked this deal to put their name in
headlines and try to boost it's subscriber base. They want to smack the
competition while they appear down.

So, what does this mean to you (other than a good deal if you like Big Macs)?

It means that just because your competition may be bigger than you,
there are still opportunities to position yourself to make a leap forward.
A good way to do that is to ride on the coattails of a big brand. Perhaps
it will have a halo effect on your brand.

Or it could become an embarrassment.

McDonald's is capping the deal at a million. As I write this, 152,440
people have signed up for this deal. That seems like the deal isn't
generating all that much excitement.

I'll give my follow-up on this when the deal is over.

Meantime, I thinking about Burger King...