Selling Shiny Objects

5 secrets proven to attract customers and make your franchise more profitable

In marketing, there are two basic ways to sell a potential customer. You can try to convince or argue them into buying your product (the classic salesman technique), or you can discover what it is that naturally appeals to them about your product or service, and use it to attract them, like a magnet. I call this latter approach, Shiny Objects Marketing. Everyone is attracted to shiny objects. We can't help it - it's in our DNA. The truly successful franchisee discovers the shiny object hidden in their product or service and puts it out in front of their customers, for all to see.

But simply finding and displaying your product's shiny object isn't enough. To be truly powerful, a franchisee needs to use that shiny object to inspire customers with an overwhelming urge to possess it.

Consider the raccoon. When a raccoon sees a shiny object, he isn't content to simply gaze at it. Instead, the shiny object fascinates him, until he must grab it and not let go. Would you like your customers to feel such attraction? They will, if your product, brand, or service displays the five facets of your customer's shiny objects, described below.

These shiny object facets might appear to happen quickly or simultaneously. However, for a shiny object to inspire and attract loyal customers, it must attain each facet and they must occur in a precise order:

  1. Grab their attention
  2. Create a driving curiosity
  3. Stimulate an irrepressible urge to touch
  4. Activate emotion
  5. Demand ownership

1. Grab their attention

Catching the eye of your customer is the most obvious of the shiny object facets. But for the purposes of marketing a product, service, or brand, we are not merely concerned with creating a casual distraction. The operative question for this facet is, "What will cause your customers to stop dead in their tracks and take notice of what you are selling?"

To accomplish this facet, you must present the shiny object in its best light. This requires excellent design, constant attention, appearances where your customers will see it, and a clear, concise message.

2. Create a driving curiosity

The purpose of the second shiny object facet is to hold a person's attention long enough to deliver the rest of the shiny object. The overriding question is, "What will make your prospects want to invest their time and efforts to take a closer look?"

Some time-proven techniques to accomplish this are to ask a probing question, make an alluring promise, give a brief peek into your product, make a provocative statement, issue a dare or challenge, use humor, display some forbidden fruit, or tap into a fear factor.

3. Stimulate an irrepressible urge to touch

The third shiny object facet should inspire the customer to take action in order to draw them deeper into the shiny object. The driving question for this facet is, "How do you get your prospects to reach out and try your product?"

Some ways to make this happen include, making an offer, distributing samples, providing a demo, holding a seminar, or giving a free trial.

4. Activate emotion

The fourth shiny object facet is all about getting people to experience your brand, product, or service, not just to try it. The driving question is, "Which emotions evoked by interaction with my product will lead to a sale?"

I am a firm believer that every purchase, no matter how technical or rational it may seem, has an emotional factor. Over the years, I have successfully marketed semiconductors, equipment, electronic test equipment, property management services, title and a host of other products that might seem to have no bearing on emotions. Yet these companies were all successful in their marketing efforts because they discovered the right emotional button that connected their prospects' view of a shiny object to their product.

5. Demand ownership

The purpose of the fifth and final shiny object facet is not just to sell your product but also to create such a strong relationship between your product and your customer that the customer literally demands ownership. The driving question here is, "What will make your prospects want to grab your product and not let go?"

Some time-proven methods to engender this demand for ownership include the following:

  • Consistently meet or exceed the promise of your product or service
  • Create a sense of immediacy
  • Instill comfortable familiarity - make it emotionally difficult to leave your product
  • Provide uncommon courtesy
  • Sweat the small stuff

Just as information is power only if acted upon, so too are shiny objects only powerful if utilized. The five steps listed above have been time-proven by hundreds of companies in almost every product or service category, and can transform your franchise into a brilliantly attractive shiny object to your customers.

David LaBonte is a seasoned marketing professional, with over 30 years of experience. President and partner of AdMatrix, an Orange County, California-based marketing/advertising agency, LaBonte teaches futuristic marketing techniques to clients across the country. Author of the book, Shiny Objects Marketing (published by Wiley and Sons), LaBonte writes articles for marketing publications and blogs, and trains entrepreneurs in his successful marketing philosophy called Shiny Objects Marketing.

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