Small Business Influencing the Influencers

marketing beercastTo paraphrase the late Jim McKay, we’re always “spanning the globe” to bring you tips for your small business.  I recently stumbled onto a blog and podcast called the “Marketing Beercast”.  Since the title contains two of my favorite things, I decided to give the podcast a listen.  In episode 39, the topic is influencing the people who influence your customers.  This idea comes from a dental office, of all places, but with a little imagination  it can certainly be adopted to any business.

Here’s how it works.  Many times a patient is accompanied by a spouse, a friend, or someone who has to cool their heels in the waiting room while the patient is having work done, sometimes for a fairly long time.  Rather than let them waste an hour or two reading old magazines, the dentist in question offers the “waiter” a prepaid $50.oo debit card with the suggestion that they go and have lunch or do some shopping.

Think about the consequences of this gesture.  First it makes both the patient and their “waiter” happy.  The patient doesn’t have to be concerned about the time their loved one has to spend waiting.  Obviously it makes the waiting party even happier.  Second, the “waiter” becomes a walking billboard for the dentist.  When he or she pays for their lunch, or their purchase, you know they won’t be able to resist telling the person they deal with where they got the gift card.  “Dr. So-and-so gave me fifty bucks to buy lunch while my wife’s getting her teeth fixed.  Isn’t that great?”  In fact, they’ll probably tell everyone they know, making them ambassadors for the dental office.  There’s no telling how much referral business they’ll generate.

Of course, the patient and the “waiter” will become loyal customers.  It’s a win/win.

Think about situations in your own business where this idea could be useful.  The amount of the gift card can vary with the type of business.  As the podcast suggests, maybe it’s just a $10.00 gift card to Toys R Us to get dad and the little ones out of the way while you do business with mom.  The possibilities are endless.

Check out this Beercast episode.  It’s less than fifteen minutes long.  While you’re at it, check out some of the other episodes, too.

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