“The best way to succeed in life, is to act on the advice we give to others!”
55. Push. Pull. Play and Profit.
I’m convinced involvement was a principal reason for the initial success of Sharper Image, the nationwide chain of stores founded by Richard Thalheimer, that offered adult electronic toys and gadgets in 187 retail locations in 38 states.
Sharper Image promoted participation. You were encouraged to ride the exer-bike, lay down on the massage table, jump on the pogo-stick or crank up the CD. I know this, because I did all of them at Sharper Image stores across the United States.
Aside from having a great time pushing, pressing and playing, I participated in and witnessed a simple, but most effective business-development technique—involvement! (In 2006, Thalheimer was removed as CEO by the Sharper Image board. And as the economy worsened, all retail stores closed in 2008 and the company filed for bankruptcy.) Now, under new leadership and ownership, Sharper Image still sells cool, high-tech, futuristic stuff online and by catalog.)
Remember, an involved customer is more likely to buy or invest. And the more customer senses you can activate, the greater the likelihood you satisfy a need, solve a problem, or help someone realize a dream or goal.
Land Rover took involvement to a new level. They transformed the typical car “test ride” into an automotive adventure. The Land Rover Experience began in 1990, as Land Rover erected multimillion-dollar boutiques known as Land Rover Centres.
Salespeople were dressed in khaki safari attire, and they accompanied a prospective owner of a Land Rover Discovery, onto an off-road course built in the dealership’s parking lot—that included steep inclines and rocky hills. Customers loved it!
And they still love it today! Where Land Rover offers one hour, two hours, half-day and full day “experience drives” all over the world:
- in California: Challenge yourself to hill climbs, log crossings, side tilts and rock crawls on 180 acres of perfectly rugged landscape.
- in North Carolina: Explore the wooded trails, log piles and lush meadows on the grounds of George Vanderbilt’s stunning 250 room chateau.
- in Quebec: In the grounds of Chateau Montebello, one of Canada’s most luxurious getaways, navigate woodlands trails and obstacles (and keep an eye out for moose)
And, are you ready for this—customers pay for these experiences!
Involvement is a simple and savvy sales strategy. Yet it’s often ignored. Once, I was in a suburban Baltimore guitar store where each guitar displayed a sign warning, “Please do not handle. If you wish to buy me, call a salesperson.” Unfortunately, this owner didn’t understand the psyche of his customer—the musician who wants to make music! Oh sure, I know the owner is trying to deter the masses from making musical mayhem, but there were so many other ways the message could have been conveyed.
What if the sign on the guitar said, “Together, we’ll make beautiful music—Please call a salesperson so you can start to enjoy me!” Or, “I’ll make you a star! Please call a salesperson so I can hear your musical talent!” Or, “My strings are lonely, please call a salesperson and bring me to life!”
Confucius must have been a pretty good businessman. He once said, “If you tell me I will forget, If you show me, I will remember, If you involve me, I will understand!” So the next time your customer or prospect wants to touch, see, sniff, taste or hear—let ‘em! These statistics reveal the full story and value of involvement.
- 20 percent of what they hear.
- 30 percent of what they see.
- 50 percent of what they see and hear.
- 80 percent of what they see, hear and do.
One financial planner I know uses a strategy that makes his presentations or reveals memorable and profitable. Why? Because Rick has mastered the art of involvement. Rick’s clients are wealthy, high net-worth individuals, sophisticated decision-makers.
Yet, Rick is the first to admit his approach isn’t sophisticated. If anything, it’s simplistic. It’s also incredibly effective. Here’s what Rick does. He takes out a plush felt bag filled with pennies. He gently hands the bag to his clients and tells them the bag represents their “financial future.” He then encourages them to pour the pennies onto the conference table. Somewhat skeptically, they do.
Rick then tells his clients (let’s call them Harry and Pam) that each penny represents $10,000 and belongs to them—it’s their money. Rick suggests they push, pull and slide the pennies across the table to form different piles. Each pile or category represents the couple’s goals. One pile could be a retirement fund. Another could be set aside for their kids’ or grandkids’ education. While another represents a major purchase down the road or significant contributions to various charities.
Rick says Harry and Pam quickly forget they’re playing with pennies. Instead, they strategically plan and calculate their financial future. Obviously, Rick’s clients are involved!
© Blackman & Associates, LLC
Jeff is a Hall of Fame speaker, best selling author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, please contact Sheryl Kantor at: 847.998.0688 or [email protected]. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s FREE e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include; Stop Whining! Start Selling!, (an Amazon Bestseller), and the new, revised 5th edition of the bestselling Peak Your Profits. You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults