Pair Yourself with Pain and Profit

Posted on: Sep 02, 2014

Categories: Marketing

painA few months ago, a story was published by NBC about a Girl Scout in San Francisco who chose to sell cookies outside of a medical marijuana clinic.

Knowing that cannabis is an “appetite stimulus,” this 13-year-old girl sold 37 more boxes in the two hours she spent on the sidewalk outside the clinic than she did when she was selling outside her local grocery store.

The brilliance of this strategy goes beyond selling cookies. When the Girl Scout realized that she could sell more boxes of cookies outside the marijuana clinic than the grocery store, she tapped into a universal truth for every business: you have to pair yourself with pain.

You’d think that selling at the exit of a grocery store would be the most logical location — everyone goes there to buy food. But in reality, when shoppers are rolling out of a grocery store with a cart full of food, the last thing they want to do is stop, take out their wallets, and spend another $4 on an snack they don’t need.

If we look at the marijuana clinic, however, the scenario is different. Hungry customers exit the building, eager for a quick snack, when they spot a table full of delicious cookies. They gladly pull out their wallets, grab a box, and walk away munching happily.

This Girl Scout found the pain — hunger — and paired herself with it. The result? Higher sales.

Meanwhile, the other Girl Scouts wasted time and energy trying to sell cookies to shoppers who already had all the food they wanted at the time.

Are you pairing yourself with pain? Are you selling food to the hungry or the full?

Consider where and to whom you advertise. If you’re a soft drink company, you’ll want to advertise in sports stadiums, not dental offices. If you’re a bail bondsman, you’ll want to advertise in the worst parts of town, not on the crime-free streets.

Sure, you can keep trying to sell cookies to those with full carts. It can’t hurt, and you may even sell a few boxes. But if you really want to move product, pair yourself with pain and provide a service or product to someone who really needs it.

By the way, I think the Girl Scout could add to her revenue by also selling Tic-Tacs and Visine, and her customers’ pain would really become her gain.

*Image courtesy punctuated

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