I get asked a bunch of questions about… you know… stuff. And in the early morning hours I enjoy responding (hopefully) thoughtfully and thoroughly. A couple members of my team suggested I start sharing my advice. Previous AMA’s are here. So, without further ado, please enjoy this installment of Ask MilEs Anything:
A reader asked me: “How do we get away from using gimmicks like freebies and scarcities?”
I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s a real challenge and there’s no easy fix. If you currently rely on gimmicks and scarcities to get customers through the door, you’re an addict.
You have a real problem. Your high comes from those transactional shoppers who come in at the slightest hint of saving some money. So, just like with any other type of addict, when you wean yourself off of your drug of choice, there’s going to be some detox – pain and chills if you will – associated with that.
I also have to ask, because I don’t want to give an over simplified answer to a question, what part of your soul did you give up to do those sales? What were you saying to the other audience, the ones who want to buy from someone they know, like, and trust?
Because those people, the ones who are not as concerned about sales, they are the ones that lead to higher average ticket orders, higher profit margins, and higher closing ratios . We call these relational customers.
So far, this is what they have heard from you:
Now…that’s a hard thing to fix.
You have to start at the very bottom of the First Order of Business with your goals and your values to answer some important questions. What is it you’re trying to make happen? What’s in your way? What plaque have you built up on your businesses body that you need to eliminate?
So far all I know from your question is that you stand for gimmicks and promotions. There has to be more. What else do you stand for? What things can you replace the gimmicks with to make yourself stronger in the eyes and in the hearts of relational shoppers who care very deeply about what you stand for what you stand against?
This is where your guarantees and your warranties come into play. Make sure they have teeth to prove you walk this new talk that you have. Keep in mind though, these relational shoppers aren’t convinced quickly. Your relationship with them is not unlike a marriage or dating. One night stands (your gimmicks and promotions) are dangerous. What we’re talking about now is you trying to settle down. You’re trying to find a mate, a relationship for life. That rarely happens after one night.
And so now, you’re going to need patience.
You’re going to need consistency. You’re going to need frequency. And most importantly, you’re going to need relevance for those relational shoppers.
You’re going to have to bond with them by talking to them about what matters to them in a language they understand. Then you have to back that up with observable actions, systems, policies, procedures, warranties, and guarantees that prove you have what it takes to serve them when they need served.
Did I mention yet it’s not easy? Remember, it’s like an addiction, and it’s going to take some pain to heal.
The good news is, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once you can break through that dip in sales and traffic, the new you will be stronger, healthier, and have a much brighter future with these relational customers. The ones who will come back to you again and again and again.