Marketing Dangerously Idea of the Week Tuesday, November 6, 2012 With Neil Godin

I was all set to drive to Seattle to speak at the ITEX Corporation’s annual meeting. In case you don’t know, ITEX is North America’s leader in cashless business transactions (i.e. barter), where businesses use ITEX dollars instead of cash to buy and sell services. But that’s not today’s story. So. If you want to know more about ITEX and barter (I’m a member and trader), shoot me an email at and I’ll tell you more). Okay. Back to today’s story…


While I was all set for the drive to Seattle, my car wasn’t. My cruise control had died. And I was leaving the next morning. No time to get to my regular mechanic. So off I went to a local service center called Norlang Auto. Friendly people. Great reception. A white board on the wall that describes their commitment to honesty and transparency in all their dealings with customers (great for building instant credibility and trust). They explained that the real problem was much deeper than the cruise mechanism itself, and advised me to do much more. I trusted and agreed. They went to work, and, about $800 later, I went to Seattle. But that’s not the whole story.


About a week later, I received a letter with a check attached, in the amount of $42.17 – representing 5% of the money spent on my repair – accompanied by a note from NorLang owner, Corey Doell, thanking me for my business. His note also invited me to contact him personally if I had any concerns or questions regarding my experience with the shop. Nice personal touch! And, a PS added to Corey’s letter invited me to either use the check personally for other services I needed, or pass it along to a family member or friend. Perfect.

Your call to action


This example of customer relationship building – incenting me to return, and inviting me to refer – is a real gem (and presents no marketing danger that I can think of). Now I’m trying to figure out if I could tweak Corey’s idea to use in my own business. Perhaps I could offer clients like ITEX a discount check if they have me come back and speak again.  Or, if they prefer to bring in new speakers each year, perhaps (like NorLang), I could invite ITEX CEO, Steven White, to pass my discount check along to the chief exec at another corporation that brings in professional speakers. Hmm. I need to think about it. Your call to action? You need to think about it too!

See you on Thursday.


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