Topic O’ the day – Small business marketing strategies learned on the boardwalk in Venice Beach California.
So the other day I’m strolling down the boardwalk in Venice Beach in Los Angeles taking in the greatest freak show/sales floor on earth.
If you can appreciate salesmanship at any level, especially the nose to nose, toes to toes street level kind, you’ve gotta experience the boardwalk.
Not familiar with Venice Beach boardwalk?
Well it’s the strip that runs along Venice Beach in Los Angeles California and the city allows local artists/vendors, better known as marketers, to sell their services and creations from marked spaces up and down promenade.
You’ve got people offering everything from tattoos, swimming suits, food, medical marijuana, art (statues, paintings, jewelry, etc.), hell, there was even a guy walking up and down the way with a sign that said, “Shitty Advice – $1”.
Yeah, on the east side of the promenade you’ve got some storefronts selling tourist stuff like bongs and t-shirts but almost everything on the west side is a grab bag of home spun awesomeness.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled Open For The Marketers Using Bryan Franklin’s Secrets Of A Successful Sales Sequence
In a post I put up recently up where I gave you notes on Eben Pagan’s Traffic Intensive Summit, the section I picked out of the whole seminar was what I felt was some of the best sales advice I’d ever come across.
There’s mountains of stuff you can read about sales but Eben put his trust in a man named Bryan Franklin to come up and present his concise formula for The Order Of Emotions You Need To Generate in a person in order to get them to buy.
Very quickly, they are…
First Emotion – Curiosity
The Second Emotion they must feel is Empowered
The Third Emotion they must feel is that of Possibility
The Fourth Emotion they must feel is Urgency
Of course, 85% of the street vendors in Venice set up their table, spread out their wares or put their “Palm Reading $10” sign out, sit under their tent in their lawn chair and hope people will flock to them and buy what they’re selling. Not too unlike the lazy ass marketers at conventions and at the mall do.
There’s a wealth of examples there on HOW NOT TO market. 85% of the people you see in fact will teach you how to do everything wrong. For instance, I was walking along and saw a picture of something that had to do with the Lakers and being that I’ve got friends who are fans, I wanted to take a pic of it and share it with them on Facebook.
I raise my camera to snap a shot and I hear, “OH NO YOU DON’T!!! DON’T BE TAKING PICTURES OF MY SHIT!” And the guy comes to block me. I was taken aback and at the same time I didn’t care all that much. I looked at his tough guy glasses and said, “Cool,” and walked away and behind me I could hear him grumbling somewhat incoherently to “take my fuckin’ cheap skate tourist ass away from his booth.”
We can both agree that his sales presentation wasn’t optimized.
One of the most important lessons I learned from Thomas Stanley’s research for his “Millionaire Next Door” books was that you should never assume a prospect is rich or poor based on their appearance.
There’s a stereo type out there that Asians and Jews are cheap. That’s wrong. Being cheap and wanting a good deal are two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS. Both of these cultures have segments that spend extravagantly. Especially in Los Angeles.
I don’t consider myself cheap. In fact, I know I’d be better off today had I been cheap and miserly instead of spend happy and fool hardy spending every cent I had to my name in the past. In fact, had this guy schmoozed me that day, he could of sent down the walk with his product under my arm, which is presumably the purpose of his being there in the first place.
In fact, he could’ve easily used Bryan’s secrets of a successful sequence like this…
CURIOSITY – “You like this, eh?
You’ve got good taste. It took 147 blissful/grueling hours to take this canvas from blank nothing to where I felt it was worthy for you to behold. When I was done, I celebrated so hard I don’t think I was sober for almost a week straight. That’s how we do shit here in Venice!
I see you’re wanting to take a picture of my baby here who’s going to be leaving her daddy any time soon. I’m assuming you’re doing this to add to your memories and to show friends and family back home.
Can I ask you a favor. I’m an up and coming artist trying to make a living at what could be called a talent and something I love doing.
As you can see from my little tent here, I don’t have a jillion dollars in the bank to promote my work. So any promotion helps. I would love for you to take as many pictures as you’d like and the one favor I ask of you is to share just one pic of you and I next to the painting and my name and my website address in the caption of the pic, with your friends on Facebook or Twitter so that they know what I look like and where they find me should they visit this city and have as exquisite taste like you. Would you do that for me?
(Take the pic, ask them to upload it on their phone there if possible, then say…)
Some of these door knobs here on the boardwalk will flip out on you if you go to snap a pic of their art. But not me. You know why? Because I know the truth. The truth is, you’re actually cheating yourself, not me, by taking a picture of this beautiful one-of-a-kind piece.
Your picture will never compare to the pleasure you’d get by showing the real thing of to all of your guests who saw it wherever you proudly displayed it. But hey, maybe you don’t have anywhere to show case this because your walls are filled with other art already.
EMPOWERMENT – But let me ask you a couple of questions…
First, when it comes to investing in an original piece like this, are you the only one making the decision as to where you’d put it up? Or do you have a significant other who you confer with what art you bring home and where it should go?
(You’ve gotta know you’re talking with the decision maker before you decide what path to take)
POSSIBILITY – If you were going to take this with you, can you imagine in your mind where you’d love to put it, the perfect place for it, in your office or your home?
URGENCY – I don’t know if you believe in fate or any of that woo-woo stuff but it seems like there’s a reason you and I met today and you’ve taken a shine to this one-of-a-kind painting here.
As you can see, there’s only one of these paintings that exists. You can also see that there’s thousands of people walking up and down the boardwalk. Do all of them have the same taste you do? No. Do some of them them? We both know the answer is yes.
And by chance, you were led to me, just in time, before it was snatched up by one of those other people. Now I’ve gotta ask you to close your eyes and remember in your mind that space in your home where you pictured you would show this off. You see it? Are you ready to do something about filling that boring, plain, and bare space right now?
Or something like that.
Two whole different conversations. One is gonna lead to free exposure and a potential sale on the spot. The other will lead to you sitting on inventory damning the economy and all the cheapskate tourists for not providing you with rent and beer money.
Be On The Look Out For Superstars
When you go to Venice, you’re looking for the top 5%-15% of the street pro’s who’ve actually put thought into their presentations.
Don’t worry about missing them, they’ll find you, either with their awesome signage, the mob crowding their booth, or they’ll use their people skills to bring you in themselves.
One of the first sights we encountered after parking was an energetic 70+ year old black guy who’s accent sounded like it was from Jamaica or somewhere in the islands over there.
Check out his sales presentation here…
What’d you think?
He’s a character, eh?
He stretched his shtick out for 12 minutes and turned it into a little production and then closed like a beast directly addressing the problem to getting money – people walking away when he was done. He explicitly told you what he wanted you to do. – “I wanna see $5’s, $10’s, $20’s in the black box”.
Big balls close.
I can guarantee you he’s a superstar salesman on that beach. He’s probably bringing in more than 85% of the people selling objects or services on the beach there – for doing NOTHING but knowing how to work a crowd. If I needed a live salesman, I’d be highly tempted to take that guy to dinner to see if he had his shit together enough to work for me. I KNOW just like I know Tuesday comes Monday that he’d sell like a muthafucker!!!
Be on the lookout for sales talent like this in unexpected places to poach or to learn from.
Lewis LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2
PS. If you’re looking for deeper insights in how to convert prospects you get in front of on or offline, you’ll definitely want to see these notes on Eben Pagan’s Platinum Conversion Summit…