It’s Not About the Cupcake
I sat in my car in the parking lot of a plush retail shopping center observing people purchasing cupcakes. It wasn’t the cupcakes that were drawing my attention or even those who were purchasing cupcakes early on a weekday morning. I was observing the result of an idea, an idea that was perfectly choreographed and designed to create a memorable experience.
The first impression was, that is really cool, a cupcake ATM machine. Then I was intrigued to see what was on the other side of the glass and where the cupcakes came from. I was quickly engaged just by approaching the cupcake ATM. Lights flashed on the screen to introduce a selection of cupcakes that made my head spin with delight. I selected my cupcake, the lights flashed, themed music played, and the secret door opened and there was my attractively boxed cupcake. It was a memorable experience from start to finish.
Bring your Idea to Life
People want to be fascinated and drawn to your idea. It breaks the monotony, inspires them, entertains and helps them. You’re not simply trying to shock people or get a laugh. You’re also not trying to be purposely vague so that you can hook ’em and reel them in with a polished sales pitch.
Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes said, “I conceived the idea of an automatic cupcake machine after having late-night sugar cravings while pregnant with my second son.” She said, “I couldn’t get my midnight cupcake fix. I thought ‘there has to be a way’ and so the concept of the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM was born.”
You want to bring what you do to life in a meaningful and very compelling way. You want to create excited anticipation for something more, something people believe will add value to their life, bring an unexpected smile to their face, and hopefully solve a problem that they have.
You want them to be so captivated by your idea that they desire to dig deeper, beyond scratching the surface and engage your message with enthusiasm.
Yank People off Their Well-worn Path
If you believe deeply in the value of what you do, if you truly feel you can help people, solve a problem for them, or make their day brighter, then get the courage to do something fascinating like the Cupcake ATM. Yank people off of the well-worn paths of business as usual and move them towards your idea.
Following are some thoughts to consider regarding your idea:
- You are what you charge for. And if you’re competing solely on the basis of price, then you’ve been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation.
- What would your customers and prospective customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? The answer, EXPERIENCES.
- Become masters of observing details. What are the steps a person takes to do business with you? Is it easy? Is it remarkable?
- A lot of sales trainers will teach that it takes 100 calls to get 10 meetings that result in one sale. If that’s true, then one good relationship is 100 times more important than 99 casual encounters. Yet many people will treat that precious resource with neglect, spending endless time making still another 100 calls, searching for the next contact. What if you came up with an idea that would nurture, grow and protect that good relationship?
- The door to engagement screams for theatre. Create a show.
Resources and References
Richard Abraham, Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships, 2002, The Richard Abraham Company, LLC.
B. Joseph Pine II & James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy, 1999, Harvard Business School Press
Tom Asacker, Opportunity Screams: Unlocking the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Idea Economy, 2011, Paramount Market Publishing, Inc.