If you want a successful business, never do this.

“Would you like to try some?”

“No thanks.”

Businesses come and go as years go by, but throughout the town I grew up in, there was one spot where that happened the most. That is the place tucked away in the corner of one of the few malls we have here in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The location of the store is in the corner of course but it’s situated right across from the food court and right next to a small flight of stairs. It’s not the greatest place to be to sell… well, whatever they are selling.

But what gets me the most about this place — and what I find truly depressing — is their strategy for hooking people into their corner.

Their strategy — which many of the previous stores in that location used in the past — was that simple question above:

“Would you like to try some?”

Or if they are rushing:

“Would you like some?”

To this very day, my answer has been the same and no doubt many people have uttered this same phrase too.

“No thanks.”

But that’s only part of what I find depressing about that place.

Paired with the fact that this strategy has been used multiple times by different stores in that location, it’s clear that the business is going to tank.

But on top of that, the vast majority of people don’t even know what they’re selling.

And that is truly depressing.

Here rests a store with poor sales tactics for a product that is vague.

And some of you might think the company name would provide some clarity right?

Well not really.

The name of the store that sells whatever they’re selling is called Karma. And the inside of the store looks like a discounted version of Donald Trump’s room in Trump Tower.

The room is covered in what one would instinctively presume as fake gold, but it also looks dimly lit.

Perhaps cutting back costs to stay afloat due to shitty sales tactics? I really don’t know.

But as someone who’s been in sales before and runs a business now, I feel it’s my duty to provide some guidance. Not only to that store but to other entrepreneurs.

For the love of God, please….

Stop. Being. Vague.

I can understand why many people support asking questions. It’s a strong way for inciting curiosity. Their tactic is by asking this question, the potential customer is going to immediately ask:

“What is it?”

From there, they’ll go into sales mode and start pitching or providing more information.

But at the same time, I would argue that there is a time and place for this particular question. The reason being is because that person can also ask themselves that same question:

“What is it?”

In other words, the vague question can lead people to be curious about other aspects of that business.

“Why is the inside of the store look like a discounted Donald Trump apartment?”

“Why are the lights so dim?”

“The fuck’s a Karma?”

“What’s the name to do with whatever they’re selling?”

“What are they selling anyway?”

And no doubt many other questions.

In the end, their single question has such a high chance of triggering multiple questions that the person ultimately gives up and goes for the easier answer.

No.

On top of that, it’s important to note where people are in this situation. Their store is located in a mall literally across from a food court.

People are either coming in for food or have a very specific goal in mind.

Paired with the fact that we’re all generally lazy individuals, a vague question is an easy out for us.

When we are vague — and especially if you are going for a non-straightforward brand name — you will be raising more questions than answers. Paired with the fact that again we’re lazy people, you run into the situation that I find is depressing.

Your business will go under and the vast majority of people will never hear of that name again or even know what you were selling.

The only store that I saw that had any remote success in that location was a store called David’s Tea.

Probably because people could identify immediately what they sold. That’s a hunch.

Okay, so being vague doesn’t help. So what should I do?

Simple.

Engage The Person With Your Brand And Tell Them

Tell them exactly what you do in one simple phrase.

Obviously, that’s hard to do, but keep in mind you want people to engage with you. So by that logic, you only need to say so much at the beginning to rope people in.

To Karma’s credit, that simple question strategy they have can be enough to get people’s attention.

They have a person standing outside the store with a golden platter of whatever they’re selling. (I’m going on a limb here and say it’s tea seeing as it’s in cups)

It’s merely everything after that that leads to the quick rejection.

But going back to that strategy, I know that changing the question would help a lot. The reason I know this is because I employed this strategy before.

The only difference was I was very specific in the question I asked.

When I was selling credit cards I carted a grocery cart full of cookies and asked:

“Would you like some free cookies?”

The results were of course rejections, but a lot of people had a smile on their face. On top of that, I managed to hook in many people with this tactic.

I feel something along those lines is necessary for some situations for businesses. If you have a product and decide to provide samples, I think it’s important to see the samples as a way of branding your business.

This is a marketing and sales ploy after all and you want people to be engaged.

And there is nothing engaging when you are vague.

And especially if your name is so unfamiliar to people.

No matter the circumstances, it’s important for an entrepreneur to answer two questions to people:

“Who are you?”

“What do you sell?”

Samples are a great way of roping people in and telling people more about you and what you provide. But if you ask such a flimsy question, you’re providing a simple out for people.

Simple as that.

So if you want better business, tell people who you are.

And if you provide samples or any free product, please be very specific in what it is. Whether it’s samples of tea, an ebook, or a short service.

Be specific and incite enough curiosity that you can rope people in.



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