I have a new purse, and whilst it looks big enough (in this photograph at least) to drive both my kids to school in it, I can assure you it's normal size. Whatever "normal" is.
Okay, so why the purse pic? You will notice on the bottom left corner are my embossed initials (pre-name change, purse since changed). A very lovely personalised touch, I'm sure you would agree?
This was a complimentary, added value extra. It didn't cost any more to have my personalised initials embossed, so why not? Whilst I don't profess to be a purse embossing professional, I doubt this took more than a couple of moments to achieve, but it gave me just a little more than was paid for. This is perceived added value, regardless of whether or not, the embossing was actually factored into the price. More importantly however, this modest and well intentioned feature surprised and enchanted me.
We all enjoy getting more than we bargained for (in the positive sense of the phrase), so how can you enchant - i.e.: charm and delight - your clients and customers? What can you do in your business to give your clients/customers a little thrill like this, which will differentiate you from your competitors? Are you able to personalise your products and services? Remember, marketing is as much about denying your competitor's the business, as it is about finding and retaining them for yourself.
How about a free sample, or initial consultation? Ben & Jerry's, the great American ice cream creators (used to at least) give away a free scoop to in-store customers. Whilst the short-sighted and tight-fisted bean counters may tsk at the initial loss of product, this is actually a genius idea. Think about it.
If you go into store and ask for a Chocolate Fudge Brownie cone, but try a free scoop of Phish Food - something you wouldn't have previously thought about trying/risking - you might actually love it. So whilst your preconceived assumptions would have previously ruled this flavour out, Ben & Jerry's clever marketing plan have allowed you to try it, at no cost/risk to yourself, and allowed you to rule it in, or out, for future purchase. There is however every chance you will become a loyal and regular Phish Food consumer, as well as remaining a loyal Fudge Brownie devotee. What's the ROI on the initial free scoop now - for a brand new loyal and life time customer?
Negate your customer/client risk wherever you can and don't be constrained by fear, small thinking and short termism; you have to give to get.
How about giving them 6, when they ordered 5? Or the classic BOGOF offer, or some variation thereof. The supermarkets are full of these deals because they work. As I've already said, we all want something for nothing, so find a way of making this happen for your business. Look at your pricing structures to see how this strategy could work for you. I can help you with this if you're new to running a business, please just ask.
Pricing & Rewards. Are you cheaper than your competitors? Are you better quality? Are you better value? If I can get the same high quality product from you - plus free shipping, ideally - at a lower price, then I'm swayed towards you. As a customer/consumer, what will you give me to stay loyal to you? How will you reward and encourage my repeat business? This really needs thinking about. This is why the big retailers have reward-based bonuses - so why not implement the ideas they've spent time and money researching and refining? From a consumer's point of view, isn't some kind of reward-based promotion almost expected these days?
Free Stuff: Okay, I know some of these suggestions are ripped straight out of the Bleeding Bloody Obvious Handbook, but I'm writing this article more for the newly initiated entrepreneurs, not the scarred and weary entrepreneur warriors who have already fought and won these battles.
So often I have brand new start-up entrepreneurs sitting opposite me in a mentoring session, blinking and overwhelmed with the things they haven't thought through well enough. Whilst this article isn't nearly everything they need to think about, it's a jumping off point, and we will discuss more when I've learnt about their individual businesses.
Here's a great example of Free Stuff: During a girls night (of...ahem..."quiet prayer and contemplation"), we decided we needed a Chinese takeaway. There were a couple of highly rated local restaurants to choose from, but my friend/our host recommended one in particular. Why? Because we would get free spring rolls with our order, and would qualify for the free delivery.
Whilst maybe three restaurants offered highly rated food, the point of differentiation was Free Stuff. However mercenary we may have been, would you have made a different decision? Why would you pay for delivery and spring rolls, when you could get them free with equally delicious food from somewhere else? As a result of offers like these, my friend is a frequent and loyal customer, and specifically, not their competitors. Then on top of all of this, the food was delivered hot and on time by a charming and friendly delivery driver. Bingo...we were enchanted customers right then and there. Again.
It will always be the charming little things - well thought out and executed, that stay lodged in the minds of your customers. In fact, Guy Kawasaki wrote an entire book on the principles of Enchantment, which I highly recommend to everyone, and allows me to segue quite nicely into my next point...
Customer Service. There's no point being cheaper if your reviews and testimonials are pants. Why would I pay a lower price for something that is never going to materialise, or will materialise damaged/not as advertised? This is tantamount to theft. I'd rather pay slightly more and actually have the thing, rather than pay a lower price for an empty promise.
Everyone checks reviews and testimonials in this increasingly online world of retail and commerce, so your reviews had better be exceptional if you're planning world domination. There's everything to gain by offering as much reassurance to prospective customers as possible. Think about how important online reviews and testimonials are to your own purchasing decisions and habits, and assume your customers do the same.
This list is not exhaustive, but if I carry on I may as well publish a book! I thought my embossed initials on a newly acquired purse offered me an opportunity to highlight the principles of Enchantment, which I hope will inspire you to read and learn more about it, to help your business grow.
If you'd like to discuss your individual circumstances in more detail, please reach out to me and make an appointment. Your initial consultation is free, i.e.: your "free scoop" to see if you like working with a mentor, with all of the financial risk eliminated. See, I practice what I preach! Why not check out my testimonials to see how I have enchanted small business mentoring entrepreneurs and personal development life coaching clients alike?
I will look forward to chatting with you soon. In the meantime though, be sure to bring the greatness today, and everyday!