Strike While the Buying Iron is Hot

Photo credit: Bing Ramos "bingbing, on Flickr"

My family and I went snow tubing recently. Less than a mile from the ski resort, we stopped in at a quaint little family-run convenience store and deli.

The girls there were so nice. To their credit, they were talking up their lunch specials and contrasting the affordability of their deli-made sandwiches with the captive audience pricing at the ski resort. They even offered us a business card and said we could call ahead to place an order and it would be freshly made and ready to pick up when we arrived.

Photo credit: Carl Lender, on Flickr

That was their big mistake.

We were interested in their lunch offerings. Both because they looked delicious and because we knew, without even getting to the ski resort yet, that it would be better and cheaper than anything we’d find on the mountain.

They had us.

And then they let us go.

With nothing but a business card.

We did not go back there for lunch. Although it was only a mile away, leaving the ski area seemed like such a hassle. In all honesty, I actually would have made the trip but for one big concern: we did not have a menu and no one in our family could decide what they wanted without one.

On our way home we did stop in and buy dinner. While we were there, I offered the owner some free marketing advice. (I wasn’t being pushy. I offered to share my insights and she was grateful to hear them.)

  1. Offer delivery. No one wants to leave the resort to save $10 on lunch, even if it is better and healthier. But most would pay a couple of dollars to have it delivered to them. By combining multiple orders into one trip (only offer delivery at preset times — 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, 1:30) delivery could prove profitable.
  2. Don’t hand out a business card, give a take-out menu instead. If I can see what my choices are (or in my case, if my three indecisive teenagers can see what their choices are) it becomes much more likely that we’ll place an order.
  3. Better than either of the above, strike while the iron is hot. The ski resort allows skiers and tubers to bring their own food in. (Not everyone realizes this, especially if they haven’t been there before.) So the women should educate them as part of the sales pitch. The resort also has lockers where clothing and, importantly, food can be stored. In fact, the lockers are in the food court area. For anyone who buys lunch in the morning and takes it with them (like we would have) offer to pay for the cost of the locker ($0.50) with the purchase of lunch for four or more people.

Any one of those items would have spurred us to buy lunch. We probably still would have bought dinner there as well. They could have doubled their sales for the cost of… well, essentially nothing.