There is only one question your potential prospects want answered before they risk their money with you: “Why should I do business with you instead of your competition?” Basically, they want to know: “What’s in it for me?”
This is especially true if you have a new business and you need a substantial influx of customers right now to pay the bills. Because, guess what? It means you must steal customers from competitors…and lots of them fast! And I don’t know about you but I can tell you this… it takes quite a bit for me to leave the comfort of a current business relationship and take a chance on something new.
But, there is a solution to this. If you can clearly, and specifically articulate and tell people “why” you are better, cheaper, faster, whatever it is that you can do for them that your competitors won’t, you make it easy for people to choose you.
So, the absolute first thing you need to do BEFORE you spend big bucks on marketing is to develop…
. . . A Killer USP!
In fact, a USP is so important, you really should not even sign a lease or buy equipment until you know what YOUR USP is! Because until you have it very clear in your own mind how you are going to take market share from your competitors, you are just “another pizza place” saying: “Give your money to me instead of my competitors”.
A USP is your “Unique Selling Proposition.” It is what makes you stand out from your competition. It is what sets you apart from the crowd. It is what makes people choose you instead of someone else. And, believe me, “Best Pizza in Town” is NOT a USP. It is a slogan (and a corny one at that). No, no, a USP is what makes you “unique.” After all, anybody can scream “Best Pizza in Town.” But guess what? Nobody can say “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza” except Papa John’s, because Papa John’s owns it. Everybody thinks of them when they hear that. Just like “When it absolutely, positively has to be there over night!” But – back to pizza.
Remember, “Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free”? That USP launched Domino’s. Anyway, a great USP takes the vast details of your business and product and boils it down to a powerful sentence… maybe two. It must be clear, concise, and forceful. It must “sell” your product, not just sound cool.
Domino’s created “urgency” with the 30-minute guarantee. Papa John’s creates “desire.” After all, they have “better” implying everyone else has “crappy.” At this point I want to ask you, what do you have? What do customers think about you when placing an order? Or, what do you want them to think? Why should they call you instead of someone else? What is so special about you?
Now remember, “Best Pizza in Town” ain’t it. By the way, one of the craziest USP’s I ever saw was “Worst Pizza in Phoenix!” It’s nutty to be sure, but think about it. While everyone is screaming “Best,” he does the opposite. This same exact approach worked wonders for a pretzel maker in Coney Island many years ago making them the number one seller of pretzels on the Boardwalk. Their sign said: “Worst Pretzels in Town!”
Do you have low prices? How low? Can you back it up? (We will beat the lowest price by $2.00 or you get it free.) Are you putting out “high-end” pizza? My USP was, “The Best Pizza You’ve Ever Had – Or, Your Money Back – Every Penny!” So, even though I claimed “best,” I went further and backed it up with a money back guarantee.
Develop a powerful Unique Selling Proposition that makes people think of you only! Live up to it. And, put it on EVERYTHING! Menus, flyers, door hangers, letters… everything. Then, how do you enforce your own USP? Easy, you do that with an Iron-Clad Guarantee! A strong guarantee is what’s known as risk reversal. Instead of trying to persuade a potential prospect to fork over their hard earned money to try you out, you promise them that if they are disappointed for ANY reason what-so-ever you will refund their money with NO hassles!
To make my point, just decide which of the following businesses would get your money. They are identical in every way except for what’s on their front door.
- Toms’ Pizza – No checks. No refunds.
- Tom’s Pizza – (nothing else)
- Tom’s Pizza – Your complete satisfaction
Guaranteed – or Your Money Back!
When you put your guarantee out front, on menus, on flyers, on door-hangers, you are reassuring people that they are NOT taking a financial chance on you. And, at the same time you are sending a very strong subconscious message that your product must be good or, you could not offer such a strong guarantee.
If you do not guarantee your product, I can guarantee you ARE missing sales. Okay, so how can we even go a step further and get potential prospects to turn into customers quickly? Here’s how: Tell people what your USP is. Then tell them about your 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Then…
. . . Give them FREE Pizza!
I know. You’re freaking out about this one, but giving away free pizza to qualified potential customers is the cheapest way to advertise. And, there’s a very diabolical reason for this.
The diabolical reason is this: it invokes the reciprocity obligation that 99 percent of all human beings are bound by. When someone gives you a gift you feel obligated to repay that kindness. This is a deep-seated human characteristic that evolved with civilization. If Grog gave you some of his food, you owed him some of yours. That way everyone was pulling for the same cause…survival of the group.
Direct marketers use this today. They’ll send you free address labels with your name and address on them, and then launch into their pitch for a donation for the starving children. Anyway, back to giving away pizza. It will cost you no more than $3 to hand someone a free pizza, but, don’t hand them to just anybody. Send a postcard to 500 homes around your store that say:
Can I Bake You a Pizza and Give it to You FREE?
Hi, this is Tom over at Tom’s Pizza. I just realized my life long dream of having my own pizza shop and now that I’ve got the doors opened I’d love you to stop by and let me bake you your favorite pizza. But, here’s the catch…I won’t let you pay me. That’s right. I want to give you your first pizza – FREE! That way you can treat your family to a great dinner, try us out and save some money at the same time. Please stop by any time this week, and please ask for me… Tom, and I’ll bake you the tastiest pizza you’ve ever had.
Trust me. You’ll get plenty of takers with that and here’s what you’ll accomplish… You’ll get lots of people trying you out. You’ll keep them from shopping the competition (hurting them) and, you’ll create an obligation with those who got the free pizza. They will be highly inclined to order from you again.
Compare this to spending money on flyers, door hangers and mailers that ask people to quit buying from who they always buy from and to spend their money and take a chance on this new place. It’s hard enough to change people’s habits and routines, but it’s even harder when you ask THEM to take the all the risk and spend THEIR money to find out whether or not they will like your pizza. Tell them WHY you are different. Guarantee them that they will NOT be disappointed. Give them their first pizza – FREE.
Make sure that doing business with you is a greased slide. It’s easy to do. There’s NO risk to them. This will put you on the smart and fast track. I once took ten free pizzas to a large business right before lunchtime. (I knew they ordered from Papa John’s a lot.) Over the next three months, they ordered over $3,600 in pizza from us! Until next month…