Every summer, when the pavement heats up and the sun blazes down, kids dream of starting a Lemonade Stand. I was not excused from this dream as my daughter insisted the Summer of 2012 was ‘The Year’ to sell this thirst quenching beverage to our neighbours. Her vision included kids of all ages flocking to our driveway begging, pleading and coveting our delicious lemonade. Of course this was not going to be the case unless we developed a clever sales and marketing plan to attract the crowds (our street has 4 kids on it and no thru traffic).
The similarities for marketing and selling your solution or service can be akin to setting up a lemonade stand.
1. Promote Your Message
This one was pretty simple for us – ‘Lemonade Stand – 50 cents – Somewhere St’ with an arrow pointing in the direction of our street. Simple is good. Confusing messages can cause prospects to bail in a hurry, especially on the web. We used my Twitter account, my wife’s custom cake & cupcake Facebook page and the good ole phone to invite guests (Papa, Oma, Grandma and Grandpa). While these channels may be a little extreme for a Lemonade Stand they did get the message out and across to those closest to us. Your business and or personal brand should be doing the same to attract the crowds. Check out Paul Castain’s “Social Networking Playbook” to see how you can leverage Social Media.
2. Always Be Hustlin’
Of course, I use ‘Hustlin’ in the Tech Startup sense. When the girls didn’t have any customers they waved down vehicles driving by. Many turned around and bought. Just sitting and waiting would not have attracted nearly as many customers. Are you emailing your customers frequent enough about updates, enhancements of your product or service? Here are some ways you can make noise in your marketplace:
- start an email list – offer something of value to your audience in exchange for an email address or contact info
- social media networking: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin (see point 1 above)
- content marketing: promote webinars, newsletters, articles and other content. Follow Junta Joe on Twitter for advice on developing great content marketing strategies.
3. Offer a Free Trial
Our best seller was Blue Lemonade – 30 cups to be exact. That was also our differentiator – nobody sells Blue Lemonade… but with the introduction of a new color many were suspicious of the taste. Giving away shot sized samples calmed the fear for those who were sceptical. Are you giving away samples of your ‘Blue Lemonade’? Freemium business models in software have become very popular because prospects can test value before they start paying.
Can you offer something of value to your prospects for free?
4. Powerful Presentations
If you cannot provide a free trial – wow your prospects with a demo. Setup a meeting with https://join.me/, its free. Here’s how you can wow them:
- provide a quick overview of your company history
- tailor your demo to their business needs – understand how this will quench their thirst
- ask engaging questions to make sure nobody falls asleep on the other end
- talk about your existing customers – video testimonials are super powerful
5. Have Fun
Selling your ‘Lemonade’ can be tough, complaints about price (50 cents in our case), poor customer service (we spilled some cups on feet), hot summer sun, and long hours (11 AM – 5 in our case) can be draining. Keep yourself and your co-workers motivated by incorporating the following:
- make sure you celebrate the successes – there will be plenty of disasters
- recognize hard work and reward it – (I’ve not met one person who doesn’t like a pat on the back once in awhile)
- highlight customer testimonials – hang them up in your office as a reminder
- Try Rypple.com – Feedback, coaching and thanks
A Lemonade Stand is usually the first Startup venture of a child, however there are many striking similarities to a real business. Yes many of us dream of just selling lemonade – its simple. Sometimes getting back to basics is the best move you can make.
Let me know if there are any other similarities I should consider for this list – just leave a comment below.