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Are You Waiting For Sales?

Don’t tell my wife but I just spent nearly $200 at a local nutrition store. I had no intention of spending anywhere close to that amount of money. I simply wanted to find a replacement for the highly caffeinated energy products that I often turn to during occasional afternoon drops in energy or for excess stamina during longer weekend workouts.

Thanks to a very knowledgeable, energetic and persuasive sales associate, I added a month’s supply of protein and lean mass supplement to my already selected pre-workout mix. But the story here is not in what I purchased—it’s in WHERE I PURCHASED and WHAT LED ME TO PURCHASE.

While most retailers are guilty of WAITING for shoppers to COME to THEM, this nutrition store decided to GO WHERE THEIR IDEAL PROSPECTS WERE ALREADY HANGING OUT—LOCAL GYMS. Think about it—where would you expect to find prospective customers that are interested in their health? There’s dozens of places…including gyms. How about bike shops, golf courses, adult softball and basketball leagues, yoga and pilate studios, 3 and 5K race events, marathons, swim meets, ballparks, tracks, volleyball and tennis courts, competitive sporting events, martial arts studios…and more.

This particular nutrition store happened to set up two large display tables at my local gym. And they brought lots and lots of samples—from energy bars to protein drinks, pre-workout mixes…everything you could imagine. Most importantly, the sales woman was friendly and engaging without being pushy (how did she accurately guess within 3 words that I was originally from New Jersey?). I never heard her try and “sell” anything; she was mostly there to offer free samples, answer questions and recommend products based upon the specific goals of the individual gym members.

There are several GNC and other nutrition stores within a 3 mile radius from my home. So, why did I travel 11 miles out of my way to their particular store? Because she piqued my interest, encouraging me to go online and read the store’s rave reviews (which I did). Plus, she spoke in glowing terms about the store’s owner—a walking encyclopedia of nutritional knowledge and how skillful he was in customizing plans to help clients realize their health and fitness goals MINUS any sales pressure (a point that was continually reinforced in online reviews).

My visit to their store did not disappoint. True to her word, the store owner was very knowledgeable. He encouraged me to try various samples in his store including different flavored protein drinks that he made fresh from the container. What struck me was how skillfully he obtained my e-mail address, without any hesitation. He confidently explained that there were special offers throughout the year with attractive savings that he didn’t want me to miss out on. Had he seemed the least bit uncertain or dispassionate about his company or the quality of his products, I would never had relinquished my e-mail address. But it was hard not to be swept up with his enthusiasm.

A mere 2 days after my purchase, I received a postcard in the mail, thanking me for my purchase and offering me a 20% savings off my next purchase of $40 or more. One day prior, an e-mail was sent asking two questions about my store experience (and the promise of a free gift for answering the two questions). Hard not to be impressed with this retailer who UNDERSTANDS what marketing is all about. Let’s summarize all the great things they’re doing to PROACTIVELY CREATE SALES.

  1. Go to where your customers are already hanging out. Hoping and waiting for them to come to you is why most businesses fail
  2. Let customers sample your products and services in advance. If they’re as good and valuable as you say they are, then sales will inevitably follow
  3. Get excited about the value that YOU, your products and your services bring to the marketplace—you can’t expect customers and prospects to be interested if you and your staff are not passionate about what you’re selling
  4. Never stop learning or looking for ways to better serve your customers and prospects. As former NHL great Wayne Gretzky said; “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it’ is”
  5. Capture your customers’ contact information so you can inform them about special promotional offers, educate them about new products and services, and most importantly, thank them for their business. Stay in touch with them on a regular basis

I hope you’re as inspired as I was by this small business that is leaving nothing to chance. Instead of waiting for sales to find them, they’re going out and creating them. What about you?