Competent Clothing, Handshake Currency, and Free Mattresses – Sales Lead Digest

In this week’s digest we’re drifting toward things that make you go hmm. A story about snap decisions based on apparel, the use of incentives to drive record sales, a toxic workplace, and the challenge with being too easy to do business with. All good things to think about as you run into 2020!

This weeks sales and marketing news:

person in a nice shirt

In a split second, clothes make the man more competent in the eyes of others

“Ku’s pitch to the big fashion brands with regard to China was a straightforward one. “I asked them, ‘What’s easier?’” he says. “‘To find one person who can afford to spend $1,000 on one Valentino shirt? Or to find 1,000 people who are willing to pay $1 to buy a virtual Valentino shirt?’ We are really opening up a completely new revenue stream for brands. With this model, anyone walking down the street is a potential customer.”
Sometimes you bump into a sales premise that sounds so flawed it makes you wonder if you’ve missed something. Is it easier to find 1 person willing to spend $1K or 1000 people willing to spend $1? It’s hard to find 1000 people! I mean, it used to be, right? I used to work in the apparel business and if there is a virtual market for a virtual copy of every design you ever created it could be “big, if true” as the kids say. A marketer’s dream problem!  READ MORE


The Handshake Economy

“But the most intriguing of all is the handshake. Idol acts stage huge handshake events where fans queue up in their thousands to high five or shake the hands of their favorite idol stars. ‘How do you get your pass for a handshake?’ I hear you ask, yep, you go it, by buying a CD. But why stop at just one CD? Many artists will let you upgrade to a hug if you buy 5.”
There are so many amazing tidbits in this article from a few years ago and I’d love to know if they hold up today. It’s a great reminder to segment and give your audience what they want in a way that benefits your business. I don’t know that we have any superfans, but if you’re interested in a lunch with us, next time you’re in Omaha give me a ring. READ MORE

luggage“People are getting soft”: How the Away scandal exposed a Silicon Valley culture war

“…last Thursday, The Verge published an article about Away, now valued at $1.4 billion, that started a rousing online conversation between tech investors, founders, and operators about how far Korey went to make Away a success. In the piece, 14 former employees described a culture of surveillance, verbal abuse, and an exhausting workload that spanned late nights and weekends with restricted PTO.”
I love the reports about conversations that happen on social media and I’m a sucker for workplace culture news. This one has them both! Think you and your people work hard? Imagine what it’s like to sell luggage! I get the Away postcards with regularity and now here they are making news for possibly mistreating employees in the race to build a better rolling bag. Next week it’s worth the time to sit and think about your team’s culture and your company’s culture at large. Sometimes growth comes from inside.

Unintended Perk of the Online Mattress Boom: Never-Ending Free Trials (paywell)

“Online mattress startups popularized the 100-day free home trial. Karan Bir devised his own home trial that could last for years.  Over the course of 15 months, Mr. Bir slept on five different mattresses, each one purchased and returned consecutively using the free-trial policies of dozens of bed-in-a-box startups.”

In the race for growth we face unintended consequences, like every competitor using a 100% guarantee and teaching consumers to change their mattresses every 90 days in the process. The behavior of a few extreme customers will always make the news, but it’s a good time to reflect on our own new customer policies. How easy are we to start doing business with? How can we make it easier? What would have to change?

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