A few years back, I had the sincere pleasure of speaking to a room full of tractor distributors in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. This was an audience of t-shirted, baseball-capped, suspender-equipped, gum-chewing ladies and gentlemen who also, like you, had an intense interest in learning how to “eat regularly.”
Prior to my chance to wax eloquent, I sat back in the audience taking copious notes learning what was important to this particular group so I could hit a home run when it was my turn to speak.
I could not help but focus on a single question from one distributor who voiced his concern about “being competitively priced” with all the other options out there. I guess a tractor is not a tractor is not a tractor after all… or something like that.
You guessed it. I thought of you and the plight of today’s travel agent. How many times a day do you hear that your customers and prospects “can get it cheaper elsewhere?”
Back to Johnny Deere. I needed a “hook” and I needed one fast. This group was getting feisty and the clock indicated that SHOW TIME was only minutes away. I opened my session by asking the audience to picture the following scenario:
A guy and a gal are riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle down a highway, living large and enjoying the ride. The sun is shining and they both appear to be endorsing the popular slogan, “Life Is Good.” They pull off the side of the road and slide off “the HOG.” They gently toss their safety helmets beside the bike and climb up onto a shiny new Tractor. They then commence to mow the spacious lawn outside their house, looking forward to Happy Hour. Just another day for two people who have a zest for life.
I then reminded them that Harleys were not for everybody, and that one could purchase a competitive brand for a lot less. I inferred that any old tractor was not the answer.
So why do so many people spring for a Harley Davidson? What made a Harley worth so much more to so many people? Why spring for a Gucci handbag? Or Coach? Or Dooney & Burke? Why pay for a Mercedes? A Porsche? Or any Luxury SUV? Why buy Ben & Jerry Ice Cream? Why cruise on Regent when Carnival offers a less expensive experience floating across the same ocean to the same ports of call? Why?
The answer to price differential is an easy one if you stop long enough to compare apples to oranges to grapes to lemons. Harley Davidson riders buy more than just two wheels and a gas tank held together by some handlebars.
They buy much more: Image. Fraternity. Peace of mind. The right to wear a black leather vest over a dirty t-shirt. The immediate image of “toughness” compared to another Harvard graduate. (I’m practicing poetic license here.)
And so it is with you. When people do business with you they buy much more than a room key and a ticket to ride. When they choose to do business with you, they also buy ______ and _______ and _______.
Now, it is up to you to fill in the blanks.
Of course they can buy it cheaper elsewhere. But they won’t be riding with you. And riding with you is worth lots more than the difference in price. Right?
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at email@example.com.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.