As online marketers, we're all focused on the same thing. (Besides sharing viral videos of animals doing people things, of course.)
We're all trying to effectively assist in the sales process through the power of our online presence.
Well, it came to my realization over the weekend – over a bowl of French onion soup – that ordering dinner at a restaurant just may be the quickest sales process that exists. Because the process of ordering off a menu is so quick, it serves as a great model for quickly identifying the core principles which affect a buyers decision.
There's also infinite case studies, as everyone from you to the leader of the free world orders food out on occasion.
Because of this, there's extreme value in analyzing the "how?" and "why?" that occurs during each exchange that leads to your plate of Spaghetti Bolognese.
What can we learn from the way in which we order from a menu that can apply to our own marketing efforts?
Marketing off the Menu
Consider what brings you to closer to making a decision on what you're ordering off any given menu.
For me, it comes down to five basic principles:
In the age of Yelp and Google reviews, there's a slew of information to be gathered prior to ever visiting an establishment. It's because of this that we all essentially have our own foodie "bucket lists" based on what we find to be interesting or offering a unique experience.
However, upon entering a restaurant, we’re looking for both ease and comfort. We want to feel welcomed by the environment as a whole as well as our respective server.
It helps immensely in making a decision.
We've all done it.
We've seen the guy at the table next to us digging in to that delicious looking lasagna, and we've asked the waiter, "gee, what's he having?"
Or, if you're feeling a little more bold, you'll actually ask the person themselves. "So, how's the lasagna?"
Whatever superlatives follow (or don't, for that matter) have a significant impact on our buying decision.
Recommendations and referrals have far more impact on our purchasing decisions than any ad or marketing material ever could.
3. Gathering of information
Are the scallops fresh?
Can I get the cavatelli with Alfredo sauce?
It's this process of information gathering that ultimately leads to our decision.
However, the menu has to be set up to assist in this process. If it's not, confusion and frustration ensues.
In order to get the most out of the information gathering process, we often look to the server.
We ask questions. We seek clarification.
This usually occurs immediately before a decision is made.
Depending on the information and level of engagement we receive will determine our final decision.
5. Quality of Service
So here's one major difference between your company and your local restaurant; once you've entered the restaurant – barring any catastrophic occurrence – you have intentions to purchase.
The same cannot be said for visiting a store or a website.
However, the quality of service attained after the purchase will be the difference between a repeat buyer and one who never returns.
This principle transcends industries.
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