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Of Cookies and Marketing


Every Child is a born genius- Richard Buckminster Fuller

Every once in a while along comes a child and teaches me the most amazing lesson!

For those of you who have children, it is probably the most intense education you have ever had. For me, I learn vicariously from other people’s children. A friend told me that her little 7 year old wanted to speak to me because she wanted to be in business for herself just like I was.

 I was , of course delighted to accommodate this request and spent a lovely afternoon with Hannah drinking orange juice out of wine glasses and generally helping her understand the basics of setting up a small business model for her to get her pretty little toes wet in the world of business. We sat down with a pad of paper and sketched out all the things she enjoyed doing.

 Having identified that she liked baking cookies with her mom, we decided that would be her first venture in the world of business.  She would bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and sell them to the neighbours.

 But we hit a road block very early in the discussion. My budding little entrepreneur did not want to charge for what she wanted to do. Sound familiar?  Regardless of my best efforts, there was no changing her mind. No matter how hard I tried to explain to her that it was not good business, she was adamant.  

 Nothing I could do or say would budge her. She was going to start a business and do it her way. She just wanted to give the cookies away to the neighbours just because they were always nice to her.

  How do you argue with a mind that is made up! She certainly was training to become an awesome spirited independent young lady? What happened next completely took me by surprise!

 Her parents helped her bake her cookies, and she set up a pretty little table in her front yard with a colourful tablecloth and a sign announcing Chocolate Chip Cookies for Nice People.

 And just like that, on a warm summer Sunday afternoon in a quiet neighborhood, she was open for business.

 As kids and parents returning from church passed by her table and lingered to eye her wares, one of them decided  to buy some. She generously asked them to help themselves and when they paid her 2 dollars (about twice the price we had originally determined she should charge) she protested , stating emphatically that they were free because they were nice people. They insisted however on paying, and little Hannah did not know what to do with their money. She put it into her apron pocket until her parents gave her a glass jar.

 Other neighbours and passers by wanting to indulge the little girl stopped by and gave her varying sums of money for her cookies even though she told them they were free. They laughed and left some money in the jar.

 At the end of the day, she had a few crumbs on her plate and had collected 29 dollars from passersby which she gave her parents. Four times as much as she would have made had she followed my recommendations.

  Far from my teaching her something about businessI learnt a few valuable tips about marketing from this wise young child.

 1. The Law of Reciprocity

When you genuinely step forward to help someone, it creates a natural desire to reciprocate and help you in return  In doing so, you’ll not only build trust, but also develop relationships with potential clients, who will prefer to do business with you over all the competition.

 2. Sample the buffet

Give them a sample of your best service or product. Treat them like an honoured guest. Just be sure to make it good. When users are excited about the quality of your foundation product, they are much more likely to buy an upsell.

 3. Make it special

Put that extra bit into your effort to make everything you do “extra special” and clients will take notice. Not only will they come back for more, they’ll tell their friends. And they will remember you long after you have forgotten to market to them.

 4. Start with the people you know

 Don’t be afraid to tell friends and colleagues about your services. You never know, they could refer you to your next big client later on.

 5. Promote your Business

What are you doing to let people know you exist? My mentor calls it “beating the drum” …that’s the only way you can get people to remember you exist!

 6. Tell them about your upcoming launch

Don’t wait until it’s ready to tell them. Start talking now. Build up some anticipation for your business, let people know it’s coming. Drop hints, show them samples, give them a taste or preview of what to expect and make them look forward to the big day.

 7. Don’t give up!

Even though she sat by her table all afternoon, sometimes with no one passing by, or not stopping, she was determined to stay until the last cookie was “ eaten” because she could not be persuaded to “sell” them.

 That Sunday afternoon I learnt some valuable lessons from my little friend. How are you marketing your business?

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Categories : Business

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