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JUNE 12, 2015 7:12 AM any given morning during the typical school year, I can’t wake up my daughter, Marissa, without threatening to take her phone away – but there we were, three weeks into summer vacay and she was waking ME up. She must be sick! Nope. No fever, looks fine. But, why was she holding a pitcher in front of my face? Then, she announced that she was going into business … the Lemonade Business!
Since slinging lemonade all day was not my idea of fun, I tried to talk her out of it by showing her how much it costs to be in the Lemonade Biz: lemons, sugar, cups, etc. As in most debates with Riss, my self-admired business wisdom meant very little – she had made up her mind. Defeated as usual, I was hoping it would be at least an opportunity to teach her a little about something in which I thought I had expertise … SALES!
We sat down to write a sales plan and in about 20 seconds, Riss was completely bored with my lessons on effective selling (oh, and get this – she doesn’t even read any of my articles, either). Finally, she looked at me and said, “Daddy, I love our neighbors. Why can’t we just give them the lemonade?” How can you argue with that reasoning? So, we scrapped the sales plan and created a huge “FREE LEMONADE” sign, grabbed a folding table and headed out to the yard.
Lemonade: check. Cups: check. Ice: check … ready for customers! But not before Riss came darting out of the house with a handful of fresh mint sprigs. “I saw this on Pinterest!” she beamed. “Mint will make our lemonade extra special!”
Within a few minutes, a neighbor came over with a dollar to buy a cup – more than three times the price I originally suggested Riss charge. “But it’s FREE,” she told the woman. “Oh, no, sweetie. I want to pay for it,” she replied, shoving the dollar bill into a cup on the table.
As cars passed, Riss and her friend/business partner from next door would jump up and down, frantically screaming
“Free lemonade!” About one in every 20 cars stopped, and when they did, they all paid at least three times the price I had suggested to Riss.
End of day total for the “FREE” lemonade stand: $27.47. WOW!
Don’t just offer lemonade – add that sprig of mint.
I’m not sure that she learned anything about sales, but Riss’s truly pure approach of offering our neighbors some good lemonade for free taught me five inspiring sales concepts:
1. Give salon guests special treats for FREE. The act itself will always warm them up and create in them a natural desire to return the favor – creating more sales opportunities. Provide free product samples liberally and often. This will not only show your guests how much you love them, but will also open the door to new lotion sales.
2. Let potential customers sample your higher-end services: Like free sunbed upgrades, introductory teeth-whitening sessions or a complimentary spray-tan. When they experience your more exclusive services, they are much more likely to upgrade to premium packages.
3. It’s the little things that can make something extra special and memorable. Don’t just offer lemonade – add that sprig of mint. Make everything you do “extra special” and your guests will notice. Not only will they come back for more, they’ll tell their friends about it.
4. Get noticed! It wasn’t enough to just put up a sign; my daughter’s advertising consisted of jumping up and down screaming, “Free lemonade!” at passing cars. While it might seem extreme, it worked. How do you “scream” about your business?
5. Be persistent. Even though most of the cars that passed didn’t stop for lemonade, my daughter didn’t give up. Finally, after many drove on by, one of them did stop – and doubled her income for the day.
David McFarland is a National Educator for Sun Evolutions, offering brands including Supre Tan, ProTan, Fiesta Sun and Playboy. He is a face-to-face sales and beauty product fanatic who gauges his success solely on his effectiveness at selling real product to real, live salon customers.
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