On my recent trip to New Zealand, I was super impressed with the way a glass-blowing gallery called Lava Glass in Taupo created multiple streams of income.
I had seen their advertisement in one of the local attraction magazines from the Information bureau and was immediately captured by the images of the sculpture garden, plus I love to see glass-blowing in action, so I put it on the must-do list.
A short drive out of town we found the gallery and headed inside.
Upon opening the door you immediately step into their gallery/shop which was beautifully laid out with lighting used to highlight many of the pieces and showcase the craftsmanship (which you can see with the display in the background of the image below)
You are greeted by a friendly sales assistant who asks if you have been to the gallery before and then given a quick explanation on where to find everything...and this is where their persuasive (and elegant) sales process starts.
But before I get into that, let me share the different elements to this business.
The business includes:
Now I've seen a number of glassblowers at work over the years and I've been to a few sculpture gardens before and in each instance I've never been charged for those experiences.
So it was impressive that they have taken these two elements and monetized them. And let's face it, it's interesting to watch glass-blowers at work!
But this is the start of their elegant, persuasive sales process.
The friendly sales assistant said that we could get a family ticket to watch the glassblowing and visit the sculpture garden for $50 (that included the five of us in our group) and $20 of that would be used as a credit towards any purchase we made.
Now think about that...
They have one element of their business that many of their peers give away for free. It's something people love to watch and clearly they have discovered that people WILL pay to watch it. So it makes great business sense to monetise it.
Now remember, I said at the beginning of this blog that I was captured by the images of their sculpture garden in the brochure? They have invested wisely in the photography of this sculpture garden and it definitely hooks you in and makes you want to visit.
So once you arrive, you assume that you can just walk around it. Remember, you've taken the time to drive out of town to visit this gallery...you're here now so it's more 'in for a penny, in for a pound' at this point.
I've been teaching people for years that people buy on emotion first and justify their purchase with logic.
Lava Glass has got that process nailed.
You arrive in a state of anticipation (emotion) and they give you a reason to justify purchasing your family pass by giving you a $20 credit in store. Very clever!
So I handed of the fifty bucks and we head in to watch the glassblower at work. We walk into the seating gallery and get a comfy position to watch.
It becomes quickly apparent that this is a family affair.
Dad (Lyndon Over) is the glassblower and his daughter picks up the microphone and gives us a running explanation and the steps it takes to create each piece.
Situated at the front of the workshop is a display of the pieces that are being created on this particular day. They work on one specific range and the workshop is set up with all the elements to make those pieces in a seamless manner (great productivity tips in this as well).
While I personally wasn't a big fan of the pieces being made that day, it was interesting to note that my mother-in-law really connected with them because she saw them being made in person and she later purchased a piece in the price range of $350-$450.
Persuasive selling doesn't have to be using words all the time. Persuasive selling can be getting your audience to connect with your product or service. That could be through seeing it being made. It could be from sampling it. It could be through a story in your content (Nescafe used to do this very well in their advertising for example).
From the workshop we stroll through the cafe on the way to the sculpture garden.
Let me tell you, the delicious aroma's that tantalized your olfactory senses, made your mouth water and you found your feet moving across to see what was on the menu....mmm, I can still remember that yummy smell of freshly baked brioche - I was definitely coming back for a bite of that!
Heading out to the garden we get through the locked gate with our pass and find ourselves in a beautifully manicured garden with the most gorgeous glass artwork throughout!
Showcasing the amazing glass art in a different format, each section had a description and story of how it came to be in that space.
(Glass Tulips at Lava Glass Sculpture Garden)
(Glass Mushrooms at Lava Glass Sculpture Garden)
(Giant Tree Orb at Lava Glass Sculpture Garden)
You ooh and aah your way around the garden, noticing the well placed amphitheater with generous seating, perfect for events or weddings (hmmm, another great monetization strategy). And you've loaded up your camera with a tonne of photos ensuring you get your pic under that glass rainbow that you'll post on your favourite social media site (thereby giving the business some nice free marketing to your networks).
By now, you have been visually sated, but you still have to make your way back through the cafe and shop to get to your car. Your tastebuds are tingling to get some of that deliciousness you can smell wafting through the door.
Your tastebuds win! Brioche here you come! Yum!
As you lick the crumbs from your fingers you remember you still have $20 credit in the shop to spend and you go searching for something you can bring back home to remind you of the lovely time spent here.
Success! You find something that fits your budget and your luggage and head to the checkout to happily claim your $20 credit.
Did it cost them to give you a $20 credit? Nope!
Did it increase your purchase in store? Absolutely!
What other lessons did you learn on how this business increased profitability through persuasive selling?