One of the great things about owning a business is it can enable you to do some really fun travel on the company dime.
Many people don’t like business travel. There is the time zone change that wreaks havoc on the body of my middle-aged self.
Which begs the question. How did I get to be middle-aged? Seriously. In my mind, I don’t feel like I’m any older than I was 30 years ago. If someone can tell me how to stop the aging process, I’d like to connect you with a really good marketing person.
I’ll only charge you 0.0001 % of revenues for the introduction.
The fountain of youth would be worth billions or even trillions of dollars. Now if you’re in Europe, it would be billions or trillions of euros.
So if you have the secret to the fountain of youth, let me know, and we’ll both make lots of money together.
Now you must actually have the fountain of youth. If you only have snake oil, go ahead and find someone else to talk to.
Alright after that fountain of youth diversion, I’m back.
Getting back to business travel. This week I’ve been in the Netherlands for a business conference. I had the weekend off, so I decided to fly to Ireland for a couple of days.
I’d never been to Ireland, and my friend Dave Rinn said you got to go to Ireland.
Dave said, “The Irish are the friendliest people in the world.”
Here’s a tip I’m going to give you. Don’t be a stupid American like me. I never use cash in America. I always use my credit card because it is super convenient.
When I left for Europe, I said to myself. I don’t need cash. I’ll just use my credit card.
My credit card worked fine in the Netherlands.
Not so in Ireland.
In order to get around in Ireland, you have to use cash. Less than 20% of taxis take credit cards. If you want to use public transit, they only take cash.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, get some cash for your trip.
Now that I’ve given you a helpful tip for your next trip to Ireland, I’ll continue.
My first night in Dublin I decided to stay at the Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport.
I still needed some time to recover from my jet lag, so I wanted to have a slow day for my first day.
It was lunchtime, and I needed to eat.
I went to the restaurant and asked the waitress, whose name is Chloe if I could get a bite to eat.
She then directed me to my table. My friend Dave Rinn had just visited Ireland, and he was glowing with his newfound love of Ireland.
The Irish are the friendliest people in the world.
I was intrigued by Dave’s comment, so I decided to test it out with Chloe, my waitress.
“My friend Dave said the Irish are the friendliest people in the world. Is that true?” I asked Chloe.
“Oh, yes, that’s true. We are very friendly.” Replied Chloe.
“Why are the Irish so friendly?” I asked.
‘We enjoy life, and we’re probably drunk all the time.” Replied Chloe as we both chuckled.
I then asked Chloe what I should do while I’m in Ireland, where I should go and what I should eat.
We had a wonderful conversation as we talked.
She then told me more about herself. She’s studying robotic engineering. In her college, only 20% of the engineering students are women.
She told me about how she had created a knee-high car that was designed to drive automatically. I had an amazing time explaining how things were in America and then asking about how they do things in Ireland.
Chloe then had to take a phone call, and she came back and said your fish and chips are ready. I’ll get them.
I looked at my plate, and I was astounded. It looked so good.
I then took my knife out and cut the fish up. I pierced the fish with my fork and placed it gently in my mouth.
Ummmmm. Amazing. The fish was simply amazing. Wow.
I smiled with glee as I continued to savor my meal.
A minute later, Chloe came over and brought me a card.
She explained that the hotel was trying to improve its ratings and asked me if I would be so kind as to write a review.
Just follow the directions on the card and write a review.
“Absolutely!!” I replied.
I was so pleased to have a real authentic conversation with a local Irish woman. How would I not leave a review?
I finished my meal and then went to my room to post my review of the hotel on Trip Advisor. You can read my review here.
This was a simple task for me to do that only took a few minutes.
As I finished my review, I thought a little bit further about the review I had just written.
The person that designed this review system is a marketing genius.
I’m going to explain now why this person is a marketing genius.
Third party testimonials are one of the best marketing tools a person can have. One of the biggest tasks a marketing person has is to get new customers.
Most marketing is very expensive. The reason it is expensive is because the business owner has a very difficult task to accomplish.
The main task of marketing is to earn enough trust with strangers that they will give you their money.
There are three phases a person has to move through before they will part with their hard earned cash.
Know –> Like -> Trust
These three steps are progressive. You have to take a person through the three stages before they buy from you.
Before a person likes you, they have to know who you are. Think about this for a moment. I cannot like someone until I get to know them. This is a basic human fact.
The biggest risk that someone has when they go to purchase something new from a new company or person, is that their money will be wasted because they did not get what they purchased. The product or service is defective or broken. Maybe the product made them sick.
Then once someone likes you, they can begin to develop trust. Once you have developed trust with the customer, then that person has opened their golden chest to you. As long as you continue to maintain and build trust from that person, you will be able to take from their golden chest.
With one caveat. You have to be providing that person something of value. If the product or service is not valuable to that person, they will not give you their money.
What is the best way to find out what the person values?
Ask and Listen. Listen twice as much as you ask. There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.
One of the biggest things to realize is nobody should trust you until you build trust with that person.
Your goal should be to build trust with a person before they buy from you. I can tell you from experience that selling to people that trust you is much easier and cheaper than selling to people who don’t know who you are.
This is the reason why third party testimonials are so valuable. When I go to any company website, and I read a third party testimonial I am more inclined to trust the company is honest.
If the company is honest, then I can let my guard down and trust the company.
I had a sales coach give me a simple example.
Every time we tell people about what our company does, we are telling a fish tale. When I tell a fish tale, most people will think I am exaggerating. Exaggeration is a polite way to say I am lying.
If I want to convince people I’m not lying, I want to provide proof so that person will see with their own eyes that what I’m saying is true. Here are some examples of proof
- A picture of the fish.
- The stuffed fish on a plaque.
- My brother tells them he was there and saw me catch the fish.
- A video of me catching the fish.
As you can see, third-party testimonials are gold.
As a side note, I’ll use euros as the currency since that is how I spent my money when I was in Ireland. At the time of this writing, the exchange rate was 1 euro = $1.14.
Here is what it cost the hotel to implement the third party testimonial program.
- Print some business cards. Conservatively one could print 500 business cards for 100 euros.
- Hotel discount. I was given an ethical bribe to help the hotel out. The hotel gave me a discount to help them with their marketing. It cost the hotel 10 euros to give me that discount. Instead of spending 170 euros for the night’s stay, I only had to spend 160 euros.
- Employee bonus. I’m not sure how the hotel rewards its employees for getting customers to review the hotel. I’m guessing the employee gets a cash reward. I’m guessing the cash bonus would have been 10 – 50 euros.
All in it probably costs the hotel 20 – 70 euros every time a customer provides a review. Not a lot of money. And remember the hotel only pays out when it gets a review.
This marketing method is very easy to measure. Every time the hotel gets a review on Trip Advisor, the hotel knows that their marketing worked.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they decide to market their business is they do brand advertising.
Brand advertising is utterly useless for most small businesses under $20 million in annual revenues.
A good example of brand advertising is a billboard. Coca-Cola has lots of billboards. The last time I looked at the income statement for Coca-Cola, I learned that Coca-Cola spends more than $20 billion a year. That’s a lot of money.
Direct Response marketing is the only marketing that is measurable. With direct response marketing, there is a call to action that directly links the action to the marketing method.
A good example of direct response marketing is a podcast advertisement where the customer is told to go to a website and enter a coupon code.
The coupon code is directly tied to the advertisement. When the customer puts the coupon code on the website, we can tell that the advertisement worked.
Easy to do
As a customer of the hotel, I was given one simple task to perform. Write a review. I was given the business card with all the instructions on it.
The job that Chloe had to do was easy as well. All she had to do is explain why she wanted me to write the review and give me the business card. Super simple.
Chloe asked me to review the hotel while I was still eating. I was having a lovely time with her. She saw that I was having a lovely time, and she seized the opportunity to get me to help with the hotel’s marketing.
When is the best time to get a customer review? When they are happy. I was happy with my service. Chloe saw that, and she asked me to review the hotel.
In fact, I was so pleased with my service that I stopped eating and wrote the review for the hotel
If Chloe had waited until after I checked out of the hotel, I would have never written the review. The memory of her helping would have diminished a little, and my review would have been weaker as a result.
It’s amazing the things that I’m able to observe by just watching what occurs in my daily life. I see numerous examples of good and bad business practices each day.
I’m guessing that if you just observe what’s going on around you each day, you will see key business lessons in the most obscure activities.
For today, watch what is going on around you and look for something in your normal operations that can teach you how to improve your business.