Big Lessons From Little Cookies

Jim Donovan There¹s a lot to be said for simple, time-tested ideas. With all the changes taking place in business, especially in marketing, we sometimes overlook the simple, effective strategies that have always worked. In our quest for the latest high-tech marketing methods or buzz phrases, we sometimes forget the basics. While I¹m all for change, having a core belief that change is good, every now and then I like to go back to the basics of business and marketing and revisit these old standbys that have served us well throughout history.

³Here, I made these cookies. Have some.²

This simple offering of a free cookie (otherwise known as sampling) was the start of what became an empire for cookie entrepreneur Wally (famous) Amos. His natural, outgoing style and love of people, coupled with a great product was all he needed to build his fortune. I once had the pleasure of meeting Wally and immediately understood why he is successful. He¹s fun to be around!

Does your product lend itself to sampling?

If you¹re in the food business, the answer is most assuredly, yes! Nobody returns a puppy There is another variation on the sampling approach in which you give the potential customer the opportunity to try the product (or service) before committing to buy it. I know of at least one giant MLM who has used this technique almost exclusively to build their business. The old timers in sales (I may even be one of them by now) called this technique the ³puppy dog close² because it was a take-off on what pet store owners used when selling puppies. They would tell the customer, ³Here, take the puppy home for a few days and if you decide you don¹t want him, just bring him back². What percentage of people do you think returned the cute, friendly, lovable, furry, dependent, cuddly little puppy? You get the idea.

We used to use the same technique, years ago, selling vacuum cleaners. Rarely does a person want to give up a new appliance after they¹ve had a chance to experience the benefits from it. I¹ve even seen car dealers use this technique to close sales on expensive automobiles. Does this lend itself to your business?

Eliminate the fear of loss

What both of these time-tested proven techniques accomplish, is that they remove the fear of loss or risk by allowing the customer to try the product before committing to a purchase. In the case of the cookies, you¹ll know in a minute or two whether or not you want to buy more. The more you can remove this fear, real or imagined, the less resistance you will encounter. This principal, commonly called risk reversal, is a powerful strategy and one that every business can use to increase sales and profits. I know of an accountant who offered a three month trial service, after which, if the customer was not satisfied with the service, they would not be billed. What can you do in your business to reduce or remove the risk associated with purchases?

Make it easy to buy from you

If your company sells a product, there are most assuredly sample sizes available. Use them. If they're not available or if your product needs to be used for a longer period of time, like a nutritional or weight loss product, you might consider delayed billing, if you can afford it. It is not necessary to do this with every prospect either. You can selectively test the approach to see if it works for your particular product. Maybe it¹s simply a matter of taking credit cards to allow the person to experience the benefits of your product before having to pay for it. I personally sell my books with an unconditional money back guarantee and, I am pleased to say, have never had one returned. I even offer a total satisfaction, money back guarantee for my keynote seminars. I want to make it easy for people to do business with me.

Remember, whatever you¹re selling, people do not have to do business with you. There are always options, no matter what. The easier and the less painful you can make it to do business with you, the more likely I will be to do so. Reducing my fear or risk is one way to accomplish this.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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