The marketing department at a community bank in New York State devised a strategy to obtain a group of small-business accounts that were . . . with its biggest competitor. And it was a mouthwatering idea!
For six months, they delivered hot pizzas from the area’s best pizzeria to targeted accounts. A letter, taped on the box top, said, “Our staff thinks this is the best pizza in town. Hope you like it, too. If you do, join us at our popular seminar series, ‘Small Business Success,’ for more great pizza and dessert. Attend the Small Business Success session and learn, from small business experts, how to increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability without burning out in the process (These are hot buttons for all small business owners.)
“Come early and have an opportunity to network with other community business owners or visit with our investment advisor.” It was signed, “The Best Bank in Town. You can bank on it.” The marketing department paid regular visits during the month and called prospects every week to encourage attendance. They emphasized the “not to be missed” seminar leader who would be speaking at each event and, of course, the fabulous pizza.
To ensure the events’ success and get a good turnout, special customers and local chamber members were also invited. The bank’s vice president, marketing staff, branch managers, and investment advisors were present at every event. (So was the pizzeria owner.) Everyone had strict orders not to congregate together, but to mingle with the business owners.
The effort paid off. The first event had a turnout of seven targeted business owners. The seminar leader held a lively question and answer session after his discussion. Everyone attending agreed that the bank showed real concern for small business in the community—something its competitor neglected to do in such a bold and obvious way.
The result? Attendance at each session grew. During the six-month period, 11 local business owners transferred their accounts to the bank.
This event occurred several years ago. Today, they are the most successful community bank in their area. By the way, the pizza shop has grown by leaps and bounds and is a proud customer of the bank that believed in their pizza!
How can you apply this “real-world” story in your business? Can you think of a local business that might be willing to do a joint venture with you?
The above is excerpted from Christine Corelli’s recent book, “Capture Your Competitors’ Customers and KEEP Them.”
See Christine Corelli at Pizza Expo / Click Here to Register for Expo
Speaker and author Christine Corelli will give two seminars at Pizza Expo 2012, one on ways to capture your competitors’ customers and the second answering the question, “Are you a boss or a leader?”