Photo by Josh Keown
Nancy and I just returned from an amazing adventure. We traveled to Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, Amsterdam and Paris. Now, call me funny, but I rarely buy souvenirs while traveling. Just never have. While some people have display cases packed with trinkets from every journey, all I buy are a few postcards because they look better than the snapshots I take. I’m just not a buyer. Or, so I thought.
Our tour guide in Beijing took us to a silk factory. I was practically yawning as we entered. But then the girl had us handle real silk cocoons and let me operate the machine that unwound over a mile of silk from a single boiled cocoon. She even had us get “hands on” with making a silk comforter. Then it was off to the factory showroom. I loaded up on silk presents. They also gave us a small gift.
The next day we stopped by a factory where Chinese vases are made. We saw the intricate copper work being performed, the application of colored minerals, the kiln firing, the reapplication of color … and more firing. Then we watched as workers used several polishing stones of varying coarseness to buff the vases to a spectacular shine. Then it was off to the factory showroom where we bought a vase. They gave us a gift.
Nancy was asked if she’d like to learn how to tell a real pearl from a fake. Why not? So we popped into a pearl factory. Our guide pulled a fresh water oyster out of a tank and just about had a knife in it before I intervened, telling her I didn’t want the oyster’s death on my conscience. So, it was straight upstairs to the factory showroom of course. I managed to convince Nancy that the “small” pearl earrings looked better than the big expensive ones. And we were off to the Great Wall (with another little free gift).
The day before leaving, we sat down for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. After tasting and learning about all the exotic varieties, I bought five tins of tea and a porcelain tea set (I’m not a tea drinker). They also gave us a gift — a pee pee doll (don’t ask).
Lesson: They began each “tour” with a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the item is made. This is called “educational marketing.” Once you’re fully mesmerized by the process — bam! Out to the showroom where you begin to explore. Of course you’re already “sold”, so now it’s just a matter of picking out the right item. After the purchase comes a little gift.
They never bragged about the product. Instead they showed me the painstaking care in which it was made. They demonstrated its rarity. They let me sell myself. The after-purchase gift made you feel you’d really gotten your money’s worth.
How you use it: Stop pointing at “price” as your only sales tool. Don’t shout about the “best” pizza in town. Show them. Prove it. Your ads and menus should take customers behind the scenes. Tell them about the fresh ingredients, the home-made sauce, the real garlic. Let them sell themselves on your pizza. Then, give them more than they expected (a little gift). ❖
Kamron Karington owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and author of The Black Book: Your Complete Guide to Creating Staggering Profits in Your Pizza Business. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.
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