Tuesday, May 10, 2011

That One Thing

In the classic movie, "City Slickers" Jack Palance explains to Billy Crystal what the secret of life is, "One thing, just one thing.  You stick to that and everything else don't mean s#@%".  It's up to you and me to figure out what the one thing is.

In this second part of being a better marketeer I'd have to say the one thing for me is, WIIFM?  "What's In It For Me?"  It's universal, whether you're brokering a deal or sending a message, the respondent demands to know and know now or they won't listen.

Several years ago I was working with a certain car dealer.  His business was doing well but growth had stalled.  In every ad he loved to share how his family had owned the business for three generations, that they were the biggest truck dealer in the state and were located on a road that had even been named after them.  Blah, blah, blah, who cares?  Why don't you talk to me and address my needs?  I don't have time for you and your cars because you bore me.

Meeting after meeting and I couldn't wrestle the "me" talk from him.  He held on so tight his knuckles glowed red.  One day he was sharing about a guy who had approached him and wanted to set up a latte stand on his lot.  My dealer friend figured he could keep his employees and customers happy (and on the lot) and even make out with a cut of the profits.  I urged him to dig deeper to see if we could uncover a better solution.  One thing he was especially proud of was that they were closed on Sundays.  In spite of that, people like to stop by and window shop and that rolled over to creating brisk business on Monday.  "So, what you're saying is people enjoy coming here when there are no salespeople and browsing at their leisure?" I asked.  "Yes, it seems that way" was his slightly reluctant response.  "Why don't we capitalize on that?" I enquired.

He agreed to a "test period".  We changed his ad to read, "Hi this is Mike Smith from Smith Motors.  Here at Smith Motors we share the same values as you and that's why we're closed on Sunday.  We do invite you to stop by and take a look at our vehicles.  You won't find any salespeople on the premises but you will meet Mark.  Mark works in the latte stand in our parking lot and he'd love to prepare your favorite beverage; absolutely free."  Now you're talking my Love Language!

Years later when I no longer worked at that station I heard those familiar ads on the radio.  Business is good.

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