by Lynn Bardowski
After returning from a recent successful customer event, I feel like I’ve discovered the answer to the question, “What do women really want?” It actually all started a few years ago when attendance at our events started tanking. Our leadership team brainstormed ideas on how we could do things differently to connect with more customers.
Three years is like light years in this economy; therefore, innovation and creativity are the keys to keeping your business above water and thriving.
Although our events continue to be works in progress, our leadership team has come up with many fun and effective approaches that you can use to keep your customers coming back. We create what I call an “I love (your company name here)” experience, as outlined below.
Here are seven of the lessons I’ve learned about what women really want.
1. Swag. What woman doesn’t love free stuff? As soon as our guests arrive they are greeted by our happy, smiling “Prize Patrol,” who strategically stand next to a round table of gift bags by the front door. You can gift every customer with a freebie, look for sponsors to provide a freebie, or do freebie drawings. Our guests receive tickets for (a) bringing a guest (= new customers), (b) being a rewards member (= loyalty), (c) placing an order (= generate biz), (d) wearing red (= fun and customer engagement—for example, the winner at one of our events wore beige but showed off a red bra underneath), and (e) customer appreciation (= customer retention). Sometimes we even have a biggest loser prize drawing for guests who didn’t win a prize during the event. You’ll want to come up with some fun (and silly) categories that are tailored to your business.
2. To Be Heard. Women love to tell their girlfriends about their favorite products, restaurants, books, movies, hairstylist—you name it, we share it. The 50 Shades of Grey phenomena is a great example. Instead of our top sales reps showing off our new product line, we ask for customers to volunteer at our event and come up and share what they are excited about. We actually have women running up to the microphone to share their opinion. They sell the crowd for us and get a moment in the spotlight at the same time. There’s a free gift bag in it for them, too.
3. To Make a Difference. Women are natural nurturers. We love to give back and make a difference in the world. My feeling is this: if I’m going to have an event with a room full of people, why not do something for charity at the same time. All of our events include a charity focus. We have asked guests to bring socks for the homeless, buy a pretzel or bottled water for the American Cancer Society (ACS), donate canned food for a local food bank, and more. Your business and your custom
ers will connect on a whole new level when you are making the world a better place together.
4. A Deal. Bargains get my adrenaline going—it’s intoxicating, without the side effects. Although, finding a good deal can be addicting. I can actually feel my heart beating faster when I find something I love on sale. Women love to share how much we have saved versus how much we have spent. (At least, that’s what we tell our significant others.) At our events, we offer great value to our customers, including the following: spend $50 and get a 1/2 price item, a 25% off fragrance of the month, a sale display of discounted items, and online coupon codes to influence shopping after the event.
5. Fun. Every business is in show business. What can you do that would be a really fun reward for customers that say “yes”? We’ve used everything at our events from prize wheels to balloon pops. When a customer says “yes” to a specific offer, they get to spin the wheel or pop a balloon for a prize. It takes us back to the scenario of the little girl at the amusement park who popped a balloon and won the big stuffed bear. Awesome! Fun is even part of our charity focus. During our events, we have set up a putting green for guests who donated socks for the homeless—if they made the putt, they won a free tealight.
6. Booze. Yeah, I went there. I’m not talking about a free-for-all with guests doing keg stands. Girls just want to have fun and enjoy a glass or two of red or white wine. A glass of wine can magically connect Gen Y/X to 50+ boomer women like me. A really fun or fabulous pair of shoes can do the same thing. If you want to sell to women, there are three things most women like to do, preferably all at the same time: Shop, Sip, and Save.
7. Pampering. Most of the women I know work their butts off and have very little “me” time for themselves. If you pamper, they will come. Our events include a variety of pampering for women, including $1/minute chair massages, angel card readings, fashion consultations, and mini-manicures/facials. We team up with local independent business women to provide pampering for our guests while supporting a local biz owner to meet potential new customers. It’s a win for all of us.
Lynn Bardowski is a 22 year entrepreneur, a best selling author, national speaker and mentor. For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, follow her blog, milliondollarpartygirl.com and LIKE her FB page, https://www.facebook.com/MillionDollarPartyGirl. You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.