Beat the Be-Back

I’m probably not supposed to tell you this. You are a well-meaning customer who is paying me a compliment by saying you’ll be back. You like my product that much, you just aren’t ready to buy today. But I speak for all merchants: we internally roll our eyes and secretly laugh when you say, “I’ll be back.”

Having just wrapped up West Seattle Summer Fest, I heard this phrase a lot. People stroll through the booths, decide what they want to buy, and circle back around. Or not. A typical interaction: “Ooh, I love this. And that’s great price. I just got here, so I’m going to walk around a bit, and I’ll be back.”

Well, I have a gift for you, Ms. Be Back. A new tool in my salesmanship box. A gift that is an incentive to return: A pretty little glass bead.

So, as soon as would-be customer says “I’ll be back,” I say, “Here, let me give you a reminder.” I reach into my box and pull out a colorful glass bead and hand it to her. “Take this glass bead as a gift from me, it even matches your outfit … And when you find it in your pocket later, remember that you were going to come back here and buy this.”

Some people probably thought of me when they found that bead in the washing machine later, but a few customers really did remember to circle back around and buy their items. The others? They got the pleasure of receiving a gift. Better than a business card, the bead reinforced a feeling. And in this gift business, what we really sell is feelings. Brand awareness accomplished.

– Shannon Felix, Avalon Glassworks