How To Lick The Competition

How To Lick The Competition


Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to Baskin Robbins with my dad on warm summer nights on the back of his motorcycle and having my pick of “31 Flavors” of ice cream.

The best part of the Baskin Robbins experience was getting to try free samples of as many flavors as you wanted before deciding which one to buy. Those little pink spoon samples made buying an ice cream cone irresistible.

What I didn’t realize then that I do now, is that Baskin Robbins was a genius in marketing.

And you can be, too.

Like Baskin Robbins, you don’t have to give away the whole ice cream cone to make a positive impression or get them to act. You just need to give people a taste of the value you have to offer. That’s what will keep them coming back for more.

Here are communication techniques that will add flavor to your marketing plan:

  • Listen for a common theme. Narrow down all the things people want to know about you to the thing that best showcases your most important skill. That way you’ll have a consistent platform for showcasing your strengths.
  • Share what you know. When you can easily draw on your expertise to answer someone’s question, do it. Good-will gestures are a great way to earn respect, a referral or a recommendation.
  • Have some phrases in your hip pocket. When people ask for more than a reasonable free sample, so to speak, say, “As a favor to you, I’ll hold it to one tip. Beyond that we’d need to be engaged in a billable-service agreement.”

Your goal is to propose two kinds of assistance: (1) a quick tip, which might entail a chat over lunch and some generic advice; (2) the billable option, where you agree to provide a level of service someone’s willing to pay for.

Remember: A tasty tip is a sure-fire way to make a memorable impression.

Before you act . . .

Be prepared to set boundaries about what you’re willing to share for free, but don’t be overly stingy with your intellectual capital. In both cases, you want to entice someone to hire you, speak favorably about you and recommend you to others.

It worked for Baskin Robbins, which currently has more than 7,300 franchise locations around the world that bring in $165 M in annual revenue. Sweet!

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