You heard that right, come up with something that is unique to you that you can use that helps make you stand out from the crowd and all the noise and possible saturation in your market, industry or field of expertise.
In marketing terms, Dictionary.com defines “gimmick” as a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.
Well, not bad, I liked the first part of that definition, but I’m not sure I would agree with the second part. So, allow me to further describe what I mean when I say you should … come up with a gimmick!
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say there may already be a lot of competition out there among professionals in your chosen field of expertise. Maybe, maybe not. Well, what I want you to do is to come up with something that you can do, say, bake, show off, tell, sing, play, etc. that helps you breakthrough the crowd and into the hearts and minds of prospects, customers, clients and vendors alike!
Something, specifically, that makes people laugh; something that makes them easily warm up to you or helps them in some special way that has nothing to do … with business (or doing business with you) in general. The best kind of gimmick(s) you could come up with are inexpensive or free to you to produce, make, bake, do, tell, say, play, etc., and yet provide unlimited value in the eyes and hearts of those you share your gimmick with.
Now, you might ask, “Bart, what’s your gimmick?” Well, several years ago, I began introducing a very special talent of mine to the clients, vendors and customers I started working with. This skill allowed me to build that bridge between two people, a group, even an entire company in such a way that I appear more to them than just an author, trainer, speaker, service provider, etc. Instead of being classified or grouped in with all the other folks in my business category, they also see me as the world’s best … chocolate chip cookie maker!!! And, I’m not kidding …
That’s just one of my gimmick — I make the worlds best chocolate chip cookies. I even put my mom out of business when I was 18. And today, 25 years later, and thousands of satisfied chocolate chip cookie lovers all over the world; whenever I want to attract new business, renew an old business relationship or send thoughts and care to my current customers … real simple, I’ll just whip up a small batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies and mail them a small box filled with my delicious chocolate chip cookies after I ask them the ever-so famous question, “Do you like chocolate chip cookies?” When they, “Yes!”, they don’t know it yet, but they’re about to be put under my (secret marketing) spell …
It’s usually at that time, we’ll digress from talking about business and get to talking about something fun, like my famous chocolate chip cookies, in this example. I’ve found people love to do that; they love to talk about fun stuff, not always business-stuff. And, when you can help take people away to some fantasy play land in their mind or in conversation, they usually wind up appreciating you much more and in such a different light than “just the guy or gal wanting to sell them something.” You appear real, heartfelt and above all … human!
When the intended parties receive my famous chocolate chip cookies in the mail, they always call me up to say, “Bart, thank you for these. You weren’t kidding! These are the best tasting chocolate chip cookies in the whole wide world! What do you put in them? We so look forward to doing business with you … Again, many thanks!” That, to me, is a great gimmick!
I have a couple of clients who I’ve helped discover their gimmicks. Once they discovered how “personal” and “unique” their gimmicks were, they began using them every where they went. And, pretty soon, even their prospects and clients started to associate them with their gimmicks and BAM! Instant business/sales explosion!!! Why? Because they remember you more when you stand out!!! Besides, they like you, better than the rest. They only want to do business with you … Well, you’re starting to get the picture, aren’t you!
So, your homework, is to come up with a gimmick that is unique to you … It could be an instrument you play, a dish you make (that can be mailed to others), a song you sing, something you do, a pet you have, a funny face, a gesture, a costume … Whatever it is, come up with it and add it to your list of FREE marketing tactics and use it whenever the situation calls for it.
I usually ship out a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies every now and then. Be careful, not to overuse your gimmick. Keep your interactions business-like, always; and only bring out your gimmick when you know people need a break from their boring business lives and routines. That’s when you come to their rescue and that’s when they’ll remember you wondrously.
Also, you could make your gimmick fun to talk about, heck, make a web site for it. Check out my web site for my famous chocolate chip cookie gimmick at BartsCookies.com. And, while you’re at it, also check out PizzaBS.com and SaladBS.com and BSTheBook.com. All of these, are designed to entertain, enlighten, humor and basically, make people feel good when talking to me on the telephone or working with me in person and/or out of sight. Think about what you can do to generate the same kind of goodwill feelings between you and your prospects, customers, clients and vendors alike!
Keep in mind, your “gimmick” could even be a book you write/wrote, outside of your current profession. I had a client who was in the real estate business, and when he told me he had a long history flying small airplanes where he lives, I told him, “You need to write a book!” I told him to document his stories, get them into written format (via a small book), come up with a hot book title, and while you’re doing business with others in the real estate field, mention your book! Digress for a minute, whip your book out, story tell for a bit then, casually, get back to the business at hand. My client was so excited about the idea and blown away with its potential to help him story tell and network with others in the real estate profession. It was the perfect ice breaker, lead-in, you name it. “So, what do you do?” — “Oh, I sell real estate and I write books!” — “Really? What kind of books do you write?” And, so the story goes and he now has a new prospect he can get to know better all because he had a simple side-steppin’, entertainin’ gimmick to share.
Again, your homework, is to come up with your own gimmick this year (if not sooner). Experiment with it. Try it out on a couple people. Get their reaction. Then, forge ahead, and add your gimmick to your list of FREE marketing tactics you already use to help bring you more business, leads, sales and goodwill than you ever thought possible!