Small Business Marketing – Losing sales when you're not thinking: case study

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From time to time in the gym, they have local outside vendors there, at tables and in little kiosks.  I don’t have a problem with this, but I often wonder what some of these vendors are thinking.

For instance, I can see why the chiropractor shows up – there are probably LOADS of good chiropractic prospects in the gym.  Everyone there has aches and back pains they want help with.

And sure, women selling cosmetics and other vanity goods, might get looked at by the ladies who are training.  After all, vanity is a huge component of why people work out (longevity, health, and stress release are some other reasons).

But the other day, I saw a vendor in there and I really wondered what he was expecting to get out of this event.  It was a guy selling paintball tickets.  I guess he runs a paintball shop and has these paintball wars and he was offering the tickets at “90% Off.”

First of all, appreciate that media selection is probably the most important decision you’re going to make.  So if, in this case, your “media” (meaning, how you’re going to communicate with your buyers) is “in person sales”… then at least go someplace where you’re MOST likely to find your core group of buyers.  Like maybe a sporting goods store, or a hunting store, perhaps.

However, do you think a large percentage of people who play paintball also work out in the gym?

I have no idea.  But… I also bet the paintball guys didn’t consider this, either.  They just figured they’d set up a booth and put “90% Off” on a sign, and people would flock to them like vultures to roadkill.

The truth is, early on in my career, I didn’t know any better and did similar things myself (check out the top of Page 10 in my book for a specific incident that happened).

Then what you do to yourself, is you don’t sell a darn thing and you wind up beating yourself up for it, which lowers your morale even more.  But reality is, you can’t sell things to people who don’t want to buy them.  You can’t ‘convince’ people who don’t want your stuff to buy it, no matter how hard you try.

Needless to say, these paintball guys didn’t get a visitor to their booth all night long.

But really, that’s neither here nor there.

Because what I want to focus on is what these fellers could have done to actually make some money, had they been in a location where paintball fanatics hung out.  There are three things they could have done, actually:

1.  “90% Off” is actually kind of meaningless.  I imagine the prices of these games vary from location to location, and… based on things like the number of participants… the length of the match, and so on.

Not to mention, unless you know these guys, your first reaction to “90% Off” is going to be “Scam.”  It’s like those gadget stores in Midtown Manhattan that are plastered with signs all over them saying “Going Out Of Business: 90% Off.”

Yes, again… you say “Scam.”

Plus, most people aren’t fast enough to calculate what 90% even means.

So if you’re going to be leading with a huge discount, let people know what this means.

“Save 90%:  Was $100, Now yours for only $10 bucks!”

2.  If you really want to get your buyers attention, and if you really want to make your offer more compelling, then add some kind of scarcity.

Force them to sit up and give some serious attention to what you’re offering.  So…

“Today until 5 pm ONLY!  Now Save 90%:  Was $100, Now $10”

3.  Lastly, and this is something I discuss in this month’s offline newsletter (using a classic case study that impacts EVERY single business out there), you really need to think the way your customer thinks.

For instance, most people probably do paintball stuff with their friends.  Maybe some go alone, but most probably don’t – like going to the movies, I’d imagine.  You typically have some kind of ‘posse’ with you.

And so, if this is how your customers consume your services (or products), then sell it to them this same way:

“Today until 5 pm Only!  Now Save 90%: Paintball wars for 2 (you and a friend), only $20 – and… get 50 bonus pellets, free (100 pellets for parties of three)”

Look, when you’re selling… you get maximum leverage selling to your marketplace based on how they buy.  Or, as I say in my book, “How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers”… “To sell John Smith what John Smith buys, you need to see the world through John Smith’s eyes.”

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

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About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)