Having the best product available means nothing if you can’t get it into the hands that need it. To make that happen, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can learn from the success of the iconic little pink spoon. Ice cream giant Baskin-Robbins introduced its little pink spoon as a way to give its customers a little taste of its product for the clear purpose of increasing sales and ensuring customer satisfaction. And no one has improved on that little pink spoon since.
Today, the most successful companies offering products and services have found a way to share a little taste of what they offer in their efforts to entice prospects to become customers. Samples, trial memberships, storytelling, tradeshow floor demonstrations, elaborate YouTube videos — they’re all an extension of the original little pink spoon, an effort to give people a small taste of a new idea, product, or service.
Do We or Don’t We Give It Away?
There are two common mindsets of the new entrepreneur as it relates to giving things away. One side says, “Give it away, and everyone will turn around and buy it.” The other side says, “If we give it away, we’ll never make any money.”
You don’t want to end up with a warehouse full of something you can’t get people to try, but you don’t want to spend more than it takes to win a new customer either. Somewhere in between the miserly “no samples” and the overly generous “giving it all away” is the sweet spot of strategically sharing just enough to get prospective customers wanting (and buying) more. This is where you want to be. Find a smart, strategic opportunity to share your product and service knowing that some will invest and others will not.
Strategically Crafting Your Own “Little Pink Spoon”
It’s not as simply as handling out samples of your new product to everyone you meet. Instead, you want to strategically position your product or service with your target market. If your band plays for free at every farmers market in the county but you can’t get any paid gigs, that’s not strategic; it’s a donation.
Instead, consider these three questions:
1. What makes your product or service special?
This is what you should highlight. If your new software offers more high-level security, make sure your prospect experiences the higher level security. Giving them the basic version won’t get you what you want. You want them to taste the security of your high-level version and recognize the gap between what they have now and what you have to offer.
2. What will they pay?
There’s no magic number here, but if getting a customer costs you more than the customer will pay, you’re giving away too much. How long will it take you to recoup the investment you’re making in the way of product, service, time, etc.? Do the math. Does the investment fit into your business plan?
3. How much is enough? How much is too much?
A 30-day trial for your software may give your prospect a good taste of what it’s about, how it works, and the value it offers. A 30-day trial on your new dating app may get them married and out of your prospect list. You’re looking for the sweet spot — that place where you’re investing in them by providing a sample of your product or service to entice them to invest further in you.
People want to feel what it’s like to use your services and products. They want to experience the rush of your new videogame. They want to hear the power of your music and taste the flavor of your new spaghetti sauce. They want to experience what you’re selling before they invest. Do your best to give them a taste — offer them “a little pink spoon” — and show them (rather than tell them) what they’re missing and why they need what you’ve got to offer.
Laurie Richards, co-author of “Ready, Set, Go!“, is an accomplished international speaker, strategist, and organizational consultant who works with leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and other professionals to improve communication at every level. Known for her practical, interactive, and entertaining approach, she helps clients strategically plan outcome-based presentations and improve everyday communications to directly affect the bottom line.