Sales Tip: Never Forget What Your Customers Want [WIIFM]

Your customers’ favorite radio station: WII-FM. What’s In It For ME? It’s the most obvious thing in the world, except when it’s not.

Time for Me!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

When we forget to tell the customers what’s in it for them, it’s usually for one of two reasons: we’re either lazy, or we want to show off.

Lazy? Yesterday I was driving down Highway 380 between Denton and McKinney, and I saw a billboard for a car dealership that said, “Experience the difference new ownership makes.” Really? That’s all you got? You can’t tell me about how your dealership is going to give me a great deal on a used car or give me a loaner vehicle or give me the peace of mind that comes from free regularly scheduled maintenance? I don’t know what “the difference new ownership makes” means for me, so I don’t feel compelled to stop by.

Show off? We do it all the time, usually without thinking about what we are doing.

We want to make things pretty.

We want to make things clever.

We want to make things sophisticated.

Our customers want to know what’s in it for them. And if we won’t tell them, they probably won’t buy from us. They are busy—too busy for our cleverness, and we lose when we’d rather show off than make money.

Here’s my question to you: What is the reason you’re in business? To be clever or to create a sustainable, enjoyable, life-giving enterprise? To be sophisticated or to make money? It’s not always either/or, but if you have to pick one, pick the money. Then you can take that money and do something clever or sophisticated.

If you want to do something clever and/or sophisticated with your money, I recommend you give some away for a good cause. Here are a couple I like:

Charity Water: Provides clean, safe drinking water to people that need it but don’t have it.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital: Research and patient care for children.

Or you can pick your own.

What’s in it for you? Good feelings, mostly. Making a dent in the universe, sometimes.

Here’s your assignment: find a way to tell your customers TODAY what’s in it for them. Put it on Facebook, tweet it out to the world, but announce to the world what’s in it for your customers.

Outrageous Customer Service—Really?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

I was visiting my mom recently when I noticed that the senior living apartments she lives in has two taglines. One, “Building Healthy Communities,” is nice, a little innocuous. The other, “Outrageous Customer Service,” made me laugh.

Can you see the problems with “Outrageous Customer Service?” First, “Outrageous” could be good or bad. If I ask my son how skydiving went, he might tell me it was epic, or he might say it was outrageous. Either way, I understand that to be positive. Conversely, if I ask my son how much Valentine’s dinner cost and he tells me the bill was “outrageous,” I assume he doesn’t mean that in a good way.

When you open yourself and your company up to ridicule, you’d better be extra vigilant in managing your brand. Otherwise, you may go from attempting to provide “outrageous” customer service to providing “outrageous” service.

Another problem with “Outrageous” customer service is it sets the bar very high. That can be a good thing, but unless your business model supports the delivery of “outrageous” service, you are setting your customers up for disappointment. It’s sort of like naming your company, “Spotless Carpet Cleaning” and leaving big stains on the carpet. If you don’t measure up to your name, you invite extra scorn.

Today’s lesson: be careful how you position yourself and your business. Pick descriptive words that don’t mean both great and terrible, and be sure you have the business model to support your positioning. Otherwise, you look like a braggart and a buffoon.

It’s All about the Presell [Lessons from Disney]

One of the things that makes Disney World so magical is the presell for the events, rides, etc. A good rollercoaster (such as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) is made great by the presell.

When a rider approaches the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, they first walk into a “recording studio” where they see the members of Aerosmith putting the finishing touches on a new recording. The band has to leave for a show, but they convince their manager to call for a super stretch limo to bring their fans (the prospective rollercoaster riders) to the show. As riders walk through the doors, they are met with a rollercoaster that looks like a super stretch, and they are whisked off to “the show.”

What can we as business owners learn from this? I think if we remember that the sale is important to us, but the experience around the sale is what will build fiercely loyal fans among our buyers. Our buyers want to have a good experience, and if they have an exceptional one, they will talk about it.

How can you bring excellence to your presell? What could you do to give your customers the experience they crave? What would get them talking about you with their friends? Could you systematize the process and make it automatic?