Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Muffin Man

(1:05) Whenever I run across a marketing or sales experience that grabs my attention, whether good or bad, I start thinking of how that might translate into something marinas can use or learn from. We spent a week at Marineland Marina, a terrific small marina that does so much right. When they let us know about the Tuesday morning farmer's market, we made plans to attend. Then in a communication with a fellow boater who'd passed through the week before, we were told to visit the "muffin man."

(0:54) Tuesday morning as we walked down the dock to the market we passed boaters with containers of muffins. We just had to see what this was all about. We met Hugo who makes dozens of different kinds of "Vegan and Gluten Free Muffins." Now I know that many of you are wrinkling a nose. But then you probably haven't met Hugo.

(0:47) Right away he begins chatting in the most pleasant way and without you realizing it, he has determined some critical information. Are you Vegan, counting calories, or just looking for a tasty muffin? Do you live nearby or will you be moving on? This information lets him know what to offer you. He has long stainless-steel tongs and quickly begins tearing off pieces of various muffins offering a taste. He tells us they freeze well and gives instructions for freezing them for later. He notes that my husband is interested in the calorie count and rattles off the calories for each muffin sample he gives.

(0:34) The bottom line. We went there to purchase two muffins for breakfast and walked away with enough to fill the freezer. And at $27 a dozen I still feel great about my purchase.

(0:28) So what can you learn from this? First, Hugo had an excellent product. Without that the rest would have been just showmanship. Then he gave every customer the feeling that he cared about them and their needs. He wasn't just selling terrific muffins, he was selling a healthy food option, or a Vegan lifestyle, or a reasonable calorie count, along with a wonderful taste. He focused his sell on what was important to me. He had the confidence in his product to give some away knowing it would lead to more sales.

(0:17) You can use these same skills when bringing in boaters. When you are crafting your promotional message think about the many different reasons boaters might come to your marina. Don't hesitate to offer specials during down times to bring in new boaters allowing them to "sample" your product. Be confident that they will come back and tell others when they experience what you offer.

(0:09) Understand the needs of boaters as individuals and try to meet those needs. Make it easy for them to get what they are looking for. Learn from these interactions to craft and modify your promotional messages to focus on what boaters care about. Give me an exceptional experience and I will not only return but will tell others.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.