Pushing the Free Line to Get Customer Feedback

You need to push the free line to get customer feedback. Here’s a real world example.

UPDATE: If you’re new, then you’ll need to know that I’ve been working as a consultant to a small company that is selling clothing.

The “hook” this company has is that the clothing is being sold by Justin Bieber’s best friend…and the best friend, Ryan, has over 400,000 followers on Twitter.

Now I told this company at our first consultation that they couldn’t ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

“If you can’t get Justin to wear the clothing, then you’re going to struggle,” I said.

Fortunately, the financial investment in this process is minimal, but obviously the venture has opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen (that is foregone).

For example, all the energy they are putting into the Bieber venture could be put to better use on building their existing business.

Everyone has opportunity cost – when you choose to try and build your Facebook Fanpage, that has an opportunity cost…meaning you can’t be putting that energy into creating a better sales offer (which is really what you should be doing…but I digress).

However, today’s message is not about opportunity cost.

It’s about an update from my friends in the Bieber business and my latest, uncensored, advice I gave to them.

What follows is my response to an email where the company told me sales were slow and that they had NOT yet been in contact with Bieber to wear the clothing in public.

Here’s the advice I gave them:

Congrats on making your first few sales. Now about the issue of Justin wearing your clothes in public…

First, nothing will ever be as good as Bieber wearing your clothes on the red carpet, but since you can’t count on that, I have some workarounds for you.

But before we get to the workarounds, I need you to answer this question:

What totally-mega-super-awesome free gifts can you come up with to give the prospects?

(We are going to use these gifts to encourage feedback and action from prospects.)

In my market, it’s really easy…I just come up with bonus workouts or reports almost instantly…and I give these away to spur action in my prospects.

Here’s what might work as a cool gift for your business.

a) A free digital scrapbook of all the photos Ryan has of him and Bieber, put together in a digital storybook (online PDF, video, or hidden webpage).

I’m sure Ryan and his dad have really cool stuff that didn’t make the Bieber movie. (NOTE: EVERYTHING that you use must cast the Justin in a positive light…no “most embarrassing moments” or anything).

Yes, it’s a bit of a sell-out move. Too bad. It’s time to sell. But again, do so with POSITIVE content only.

b) A special Christmas video message from Ryan where he’s doing something cool…perhaps filmed ‘behind-the-scenes’ at MuchMusic (call it Canada’s MTV in the video)

c) A special Christmas video of Ryan and anyone else he knows who is semi-famous…so perhaps that band that Ryan is working with, giving a special performance ‘for friends of ryan only’.

NOTE: All of this leverages the heck out of all the goodwill/celebrity/connections that Ryan has.

DOUBLE NOTE: Make sure the video is good quality…not youtube flip cam BS. Remember, this is Ryan’s Christmas gift to them. Therefore, gift must be of appropriate quality.

This is something he’ll always need to be doing…leverage, leverage, leverage.

Okay, now that you have a gift idea or two, here’s how you are going to use it.

1) Use the gift to incentivize response to a survey

Here are the facts.

a) you have a ton of kids who said they wanted to buy
b) you don’t have a ton of orders (but I agree, two a day is better than none…we all start somewhere)
c) You need to know WHY they aren’t buying

Set up a survey in surveymonkey.com

Tell them they get one of the cool free gifts if they go and honestly answer the 3-5 short questions in the survey (will take 55 seconds).

In the survey, ask them why they aren’t buying.

Use multiple choice response:

– no money
– mom won’t buy
– can find this somewhere else
– don’t like the designs
– don’t trust buying online
– other

Ask a couple of other questions…you’ll know the best ones.

NOTE: Make sure to set up the survey so that when they are done the survey, they are automatically redirected to the gift. Any computer tech-guy can set that up.

2) Use the gift to incentivize social proof of purchase

For anyone who has bought the clothing, if they send a picture of them out in public wearing the clothing with at least one other person in the photo, then they’ll get access to the scrapbook, christmas video, whatever.

NOTE: Run this by a lawyer to make sure it’s legal to request and to post the photos. Always be conservative.

FINAL NOTE: Doing the survey is the most important of the two things to do. But you’ll need a really cool gift.

Ryan should always be thinking of cool stuff that he can give out randomly…randomly reward people for being part of his tribe…that’s the best way to keep people hanging around and getting them one step closer to buying from you.

That is all.

As for you, dear reader, there is still plenty of time for you to create Christmas gift(s) for your prospects.

If you haven’t already planned this out, what kind of Grinchy are you?

Go make something and give it to your customers and prospects in appreciation of their support.

Craig Ballantyne

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”
– Blair Warren