How can you break the ice?

My point is once someone breaks the ice many others will follow...

For three years now I have been involved in my children’s Kiss and Ride program at their school. This is a program where parents drive by and drop off their kids and head off to work. In recent months I have started to notice an interesting thing. Whenever I wave to someone the next 4-5 parents feel obligated to wave back too. This then reminded me of my old boss who always asked that I ask him a tough question whenever he spoke at a company function. His believe was that if one person asks, others will follow. This of course got me to think about the dance floor phenomenon and how the empty dance floor always fills up as soon as one couple has the courage to dance. My point is once someone breaks the ice many others will follow.

So this month my question is, what are you doing to break the ice in your business? How are you influencing your customer to take that first big step? Years ago my father owned a well known donut chain, including a location on the Canada/US border. When he opened the shop, business was nowhere near what he expected. After thinking about it for a few days he had the answer, he hired three drivers to continuously go thru the drive thru and noticeably cut across border traffic leading people into the donut shop. The result – BUSINESS BOOMED! People needed to see others to make a purchase in order to get the idea themselves.

My point is we are all creatures of popular behaviour. The more we see others doing something, the more we think we should be doing it as well. How do you know where is a good place to eat? You look for the restaurant with lots of people in it. Where do people like to go drinking? At the place with the biggest lineup.

Some companies like to buy market share while others like to drive their message loud and hard and then there are the businesses who do nothing at all except sit and wonder where their business has gone.

Intel locked up the computer processor business when they added the logo “Intel Inside” on all the computers that used them. What are you doing to communicate to others about who is buying from you? What are you doing to let others see customers buying from you? When someone sees someone else make a buying decision a seed is planted in their ownmind. If you don’t believe me just wait until someone orders dessert the next time you are out. Ask yourself, how many seeds have you been planting lately?

Corporate professionals have an even tougher challenge because there is no store front for potential customers to see. That is why it is even more critical that you be out and around, reminding everyone about the business you are in and that there are many, just like them, who are buying from you.

Abraham Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs) reminds us that humans have a basic need to belong. So if you want to Master your MarketPlace then you have demonstrate that same sense of belonging.

This month take some time to make your customer’s buying habits much more visible for others to see. Whether you decide to give away t-shirts, provide case studies or testimonials or hire drivers to constantly “drive through” do one thing this month so that everyone knows that lots and lots of people are waiting in line to buy something from you.

Curt Skene