A true story:
Once a year the local Cub Scouts sell boxes of microwave popcorn as a fund raiser. The Scouts stand at the entrance of a nearby supermarket and ask people entering the store to buy a box of popcorn.
Cute as those Cub Scouts are, I have never stopped to buy microwave popcorn and I rarely see other people buying. I imagine the Cub Scouts make money because they do the same fund raiser every year.
Still I feel bad for the Cub Scouts especially compared to the Girl Scouts who seem to rake the cash in during their annual cookie sale.
The Scouts aren’t the only groups selling stuff in front of the grocery store to raise funds. A lot of non-profit organizations show up.
And one of the most memorable…at least in my mind…was done by the local Baptist church.
Let me describe what the Baptist church did.
The first thing I noticed when I got out of my car was the smell of BBQ.
The second thing I noticed was the line. It was 1 pm on a Saturday afternoon and there was a long line of people nearly blocking the store entrance. The people in line were waiting buy BBQ pork sandwiches and corn on the cob.
I hadn’t had my lunch yet and it was tempting, very tempting, to get in line and buy a BBQ pork sandwich. I’m not a BBQ nut and I know that BBQ pork is one of the “Top Ten Foods that are Good for You.”
But that BBQ smelled so good and the people eating looked so happy and the people from the church who were cooking and serving were laughing and having such a good time! Seriously, a little R&B and it would have been like a Fourth of July picnic.
It’s All About Creating an Experience for Customers
Now I don’t think any of those church members sat down in a strategy session and plotted out how to create a powerful experience to draw customers. They probably did what they did because it always worked in the past.
But there’s an important lesson here.
Creating an experience that shows people what you can do for them is one of the most powerful things you can do to generate leads and draw prospects.
AND most powerful experiences are the ones where not only do you deliver a solution, you deliver your solution in a way that fully engages your customers’ senses.
4 Steps to Creating an Experience that Brings in Business
Most people like the smell of BBQ and popcorn so those are easy examples. But what about you and your business?
Following are four steps for creating a powerful experience for your prospects:
1. Begin with offering a free demonstration of how you solve customer problems.
Ideally your demonstration is one that makes you visible to prospects as well as people who can refer you to prospects.
2. Brainstorm the factors that make your approach unique.
Some factors you want to take into account include: your values, experience, skills, education, methodology, passions, and idiosyncrasies.
Even consider factors that you feel put you at a disadvantage.
For example, a skin care specialist I worked with uses an unusual approach to help clients find the best products for their skin problems. Although her approach is different from what she sees more mainstream companies using, her clients get great results and I suggested she make her less conventional approach an advantage and talk about it in her marketing.
3. Ask yourself how you can help people experience the factors the make you unique.
In particular, how can people experience these factors in ways that are non-verbal? Consider:
- Visual – pictures, charts, graphs, symbols, light level, and color.
- Non-verbal Audio – sounds and music.
- Touch – texture, temperature, and pressure.
- Body Awareness – movement, balance, level of tension, hunger, thirst.
- Taste and smell – is it familiar or not? Sweet, Bitter, Sour, or Salty? How strong or subtle?
- Emotions – happy, sad, fearful, angry, excited and the strength of those emotions?
4. What specifically can you do to build these experiences into your demonstration?
In some cases, you may want to consider adding a tangible component to an otherwise intangible experience.
For example, a Tai Chi instructor creates a short video demonstrating some basic movements and asks viewers to try the movements as they watch the video. He also asks viewers before and after they practice to take a moment and become aware of how tense they feel.
When we think about marketing, we tend to think about words: written or spoken sales copy. And words are very important.
However, if you want your marketing to have real power when it comes to generating leads and attracting prospects, there’s so much you can do to create an experience that goes beyond words and allows people to experience what you can do in ways that go beyond just being a “cool idea.”
I encourage you to try out the listed steps and get creative when you come up with a way to allow people to experience what you can do for them. The more fully you enable people to experience your solution, the more powerfully they will be drawn to you and your business.
In fact, if I were going to give those cute little Cub Scouts some advice, I would advise they to get a microwave oven at the store entrance, make pop corn, and fill the air with the smell of buttery pop corn.
I’ll bet they would sell a lot more boxes of microwave pop corn!
Got a Great Example? Or a Question?
If you’ve had a success with creating a great prospect experience or you’re intrigued and wonder how you can apply these ideas to your own marketing, make a comment.