Being super dads as we are, my friend and I took our daughters to the mall and let them burn the extra 54,000 calories they have bottled up by running wild in the bounce house. As we were walking to our cars we were approached by two young men offering a CD for sale for $2. His words were literally, “Say man, we’re selling our mix CD for $2. Would you like one?” I quickly glanced at the CDs and then looked up (Coincidently Napoleon Bonaparte and I share the same height) and said, “Sorry…it’s really not my thing, but thank you”. As we walked off my unsolicited mentor instincts peaked and I turned around and asked him what he was hoping to accomplish by selling those CDs. (Note: Before giving advice get the person to tell you what their goal is, because by giving information people are more willing to accept information) As expected, his goal was to get people to “listen to his music”.
Let’s break this down for a second:
- These young men are attempting to sell to random strangers. Trust me, selling to perfect strangers is no easy task, and ESPECIALLY not in a dark mall parking lot.
- These guys have a lot of time and money invested in creating the music burning all these CDs
- They have dreams of a music career
- Their actual goal is marketing
With these facts in play here is what I told them they should be doing:
- Identify the target audience for their music
- Burn CDs that actually look professional by putting the CDs in a paper sleeve would have been so much better than carrying them around on a bulk spindle. Hell, imagine if the paper sleeve was full color with some cool graphics.
- The CD should have a few good songs and maybe even an interview of the artist so we get to know them.
- The paper sleeve should have their website address on it where people can get to the rest of their music.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Give the CDs away FOR FREE to those people in the defined target audience!!! DUH! Why would anyone want to buy an amateur looking CD from a random stranger for God knows what kind of music for $2!? Hell people have a hard time paying for music they already know. (Thank you Bit Torrent)
If you’re good at something and want to turn it into a business and don’t immediately know how to get customers then start giving it away for free! Get people in love with your product/service so much that they come chasing you down for more and telling all their friends about it. Get that word of mouth advertising going!
Here is a practical example to drive the point home. Say you’re starting a cookie business on the side. Here is the battle plan that comes to mind.
- Bake two hundred cookies and bundle them in nicely wrapped packages of 3 to 5 cookies.
- Attach a cute information card to the cookies stating the ingredients, company name, your name, your story, website address, and contact number.
- Personally walk around your neighborhood and pass them out. This will give you a few moments to introduce yourself (hopefully you’re likable) and let your neighbors know about your business. If your cookies are as good as you think they are then there is almost NO WAY you’re not going to get some business from this.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Send some cookies my way too.
First impressions only come once. These cookies better be absolutely delicious, look like they were crafted by the Gods, and taste like they were sprinkled with angel tears!!