Want a competitive advantage? Meet your customers where they are…

Went to lunch last week, here’s the powerful and likely profitable moment I watched as I ate.

Two food counters sat next to each other. Both were mid tier, one step above fast food with average orders around $12-15 per person, who would order and then sit in the food court area to eat. Both had similar food, sandwiches, salads, hot and cold food options. both had the same size locations and both were staffed with approximately the same number of people. I also have to say that both places seemed to have very friendly, outgoing employees.

I made my choice of restaurant, ordered my food, and sat down waiting for my number to be called. Then I watched.

Restaurant A had a person positioned out front offering samples of food and handing a coupon to anyone he engaged. He was fun to watch- he was friendly without invading personal space, greeted everyone who walked by, and would occasionally would call out that he had delicious samples to offer.

Restaurant B had a guy behind the counter that also was offering samples. He was very friendly, made good eye contact, had good food to offer, he moved around a lot, and even sang a few bars to accompany the overhead mall music.

Now- here’s the deal- I was eating a late lunch, about 2:15. So, the place wasn’t exactly bustling. I sat there for about 25 minutes from order to finishing my food.

Restaurant A had 9 people order. Restaurant B had 2 people order. Now it’s fair to say that preference of brand may have played a role here. However, I watched it…Restaurant A won because they were where their prospects were. Restaurant B never came out from behind the counter. B needed to have customers come to him before he could really engage. Guy A met them where they were, gave them a sample, then said something like “not sure what your food plans were, but we’re offering a coupon for the sandwich you just tried and a couple others….here, let me show what’s available…” It was so simple and brilliant and more importantly, it got results.

So, here’s the food for thought….Get out from behind the barrier and go to where your prospects are.

Now, Im not suggesting a total reboot of your marketing strategy here. I would not condone you hitting the bricks all over your market, passing out samples and just hoping for the best. That’s reckless. However, if there is a time that’s appropriate for you to give out samples, for you to do face to face marketing, or for you to really try and engage a prospect make sure you have removed any barriers before you do it.

This week, look for chances to step out from behind your desk, your counter, your social media feed, or your marketing automation plan and make a connection. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

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