Sales funnel observations from my trip to Minneapolis

I was in Minneapolis this past weekend. My wife went there for a conference and I tagged along for a change of scenery. During the trip, I observed a few interesting sales funnel tactics that I thought I’d share with you:

T.G.I. Friday’s
We ate at a T.G.I. Friday’s on the first evening that we were in Minneapolis. We’d never been to one before (there aren’t any where we live) and we were looking for something casual and new. (Let me interrupt myself here and say that their Jack Daniel’s burger kicks ass. It is really good. Order it next time you’re there). Anyway, we ate there and when we paid, they gave us two $10 gift cards to eat there again.

And guess what: We did eat there again. They turned the first meal into a sort-of loss leader (we got $20 in gift cards and spent about $25 on food). And it worked out in their favor: When we went back again, we bought more (after all, we could use one of the gift cards, right?). Verdict: Brilliant way to get people to return to your restaurant.

Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center
It’s a nice hotel. It was just renovated. The staff are helpful. We had a nice room. Unfortunately, the restaurant closes at 2pm so my wife and I ended up eating at the lounge on bar stools one night when we didn’t feel like leaving the hotel for supper. And when we went to the in-house coffee shop for coffee, we found that it closed before the afternoon. Weak! And at breakfast, there was an a la carte breakfast bar but they only took cash. I haven’t carried cash in… oh… forever.

I should have been able to charge breakfast to my room. Their restaurant, lounge, coffee shop, and breakfast bar put up too many barriers in their sales funnel(s) for me to end up spending a lot of money there. Verdict: Nice hotel. Good food. But the many barriers in their sales funnel made it hard to buy.

Tempur-Pedic Mattresses
I have a PVR, which means I usually fast-forward through the commercials. But when I watched TV in the hotel, I had to sit through the commercials. One that caught my attention was for Tempur-Pedic Mattresses. They are taking a risky, bold, (and I think: smart) move in leveraging social media to help them get more customers. During their commercial, they invited people to ask people on Twitter about their Tempur-Pedic mattress. This is a risky move because people who don’t like a product can be vocal about it. But it’s a bold and smart move because Tempur-Pedic knows the value of word-of-mouth and they’re willing to risk the occasional bad review because they are confident that they will get many good reviews.

Most companies won’t risk inviting their Audience and Lead contacts to search Twitter for reviews — probably because they aren’t confident that they’ll get an overwhelmingly positive response. Companies won’t like giving up control of the marketing message (even though social media recommendations are highly valued). Verdict: Risky, bold, and I think it will be successful.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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