In a previous post, aptly titled Learning from Customers, I published my implementation for a customer gift this past year. The idea was to give something a little different instead of the usual seen it before gadget. In order to sell my idea better to management, I had to wrap it into a two-part concept, with one part including the "safe" bet. Let's review:
Part I -- the car toolkit with imprinted corporate logo. Even though this is something that everyone may already have, the packaging is compact, the tools are still useful, and the message is still relevant: we care about your safety.
Part II -- The Big Moo. Even though this is a book written by a renowned group of modern thinkers and practitioners and led by Seth Godin, not everyone knows Seth, not everyone wants to risk sending something unusual that people may not be ready to receive, etc.
And this part included a message on giving back to three deserving charities by virtue of accepting the book.
What happened in the field? I'm very fond of field research and real time observations so I had included my business card with each gift and cover letter.
- Right after the gifts were received by our sales team to hand out to the customers, one of my internal customers, a field manager, called me to ask where he could purchase more copies of the book for his family and friends. I put him in touch with Aaron Schleicher at 800CEORead and Aaron was kind enough to extend him the discount we received for the 700-book purchase.
- On January 8, just a few days after receiving the gift, one of our customers took the time to send me an email to thank me for "the wonderful book the Big Moo. What I have read so far has been very useful and insightful," it said, "I appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness in sending me this gift..." No mention of the toolkit.
- In a conversation with one of ous sales managers three days ago, I learned that "many of my customers are loving the book. I tried to read a little of it in between travel, it sounds really good." Still no mention of the toolkit.
- Last night another one of my sales managers left me a voice mail with a name and phone number of one of his customers who remarked how much he liked the book and that he'd like to talk to me. Since he's based on the West side of the country, I'll be calling him in a few minutes. Maybe he wants to order some for his customers as I suggested in my cover note. The toolkit was not mentioned here.
And these are early days; some of the gifts are still being distributed. I promised Seth an update and I always keep my promises. Do you see how easy it can be to break from the pack and do good at the same time? Do you see how difficult a sell this can be because it looks so easy?
As Seth wrote this morning "surprise matters". What kind of projects that seemed simple surprised you and your customers?