How to get more leads, participation, purchases, and more.

 In Tips for Business Owners

Want fries with that?

How to get more leads, participation, purchases and more.

You’ve probably heard the ole’ American proverb “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It visualizes the fallacy that things only need attention when they bring attention to themselves. While a fallacy it may be, its application for human behavior is very insightful. As much as we should be driven to do things for a variety of reasons, we tend cater to things that grab our attention. It’s why we only get gas when the light is on, why we only go to the doctor when the pain is too intolerable to ignore, and why we tend to put fires out all day rather than proactively work on our business. We cater to the “squeaky wheels in life.” With that said, this isn’t a lecture on productivity or time management (although, perhaps it ought to be), but rather some thoughts on how we can use the fallacy of human nature to drive customer behavior.

Which leads me to my primary question.

Which one strategy, if implemented, would get you more reviews, more participation in loyalty and reward programs, more up-sells, more add-ons, more upgrades, referrals, likes, tweets, twists… whatever?

In short, what is one strategy that will get your businesses more from your customers? I’m sure there are dozens of things. But one thing seems to stick out in my mind above any other. It’s a simple, yet consistent, invitation.

Much like the wheels that desperately need grease but refuse to squeak, many initiatives that people ought to take tend to get ignored until they readily present themselves. This is why the root to driving customer action must be an invitation. In 2012, when we first released our digital punch card app, I asked Zak Manning, manager of Farr’s Fresh Ice Cream in Ogden, UT, how he consistently got more than 90% of his daily customers to subscribe to his loyalty program. He replied, “I just ask them.” Not believing his reply, I decided to visit his store one day to check things out. Sure enough, every customer that walked through the door was asked “May I get your phone number for rewards?” during checkout. And the majority of them said yes.

Likewise, in the 1970’s, marketers at McDonald’s found that they could increase purchase orders substantially by asking every customer “would you like fries with that?” This simple invitation has added tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year to the Goliath fast-food chain’s bottom line. It doesn’t take a sales pitch or a slide deck — just a simple invitation.

So what’s the catch? In my opinion, the catch here is that you’ve got to be ruthlessly consistent if you expect sixty cent fries (as they cost in the 1970’s) to add up to millions of dollars. And they were. To this day, McDonald’s — as well as nearly every other large food chain — takes advantage of what was learned and invites their customers to add to their purchase, so should you.

The strategy of adding a simple invitation can be put in place to do great things. Instead of simply saying hello and goodbye, ask your customers if they’d like to add something to their service. Furthermore, ask them for a phone number to participate in your loyalty/rewards program and when you are done, send them a text and ask them to share their positive experience at your business. Ask them consistently. Train your employees to ask them consistently. If you do, you will be rewarded. Some will say no, that’s a given. But the amount that says yes will always be greater than the amount that says yes to an invitation that is never given.

What other invitations are you extending to your customers during their check-out experience? Interested in learning more about how retention marketing can deliver ROI for your business? Click the button below!

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