A few days ago I had a fascinating interview with a consulting and marketing psychologist called Elliott Jaffa.
During our interview Elliott mentioned that he had helped a number of his clients do very well selling at Trade Shows.
And he told me about his "Japanese Invisible Fish Strategy" to help his clients get noticed and remembered positively at a trade show.
The strategy is very simple:
Step 1: Place a rock on the bottom of a five gallon aquarium and fill it with water.
Step 2: Place a sign next to the aquarium: that reads Japanese Invisible Fish in both English and Japanese.
Step 3: Have answers at the ready to the ridiculous and inane questions you will be asked as attendees look for the invisible fish. (They're invisible!)
Elliott then taught his clients how to quickly assess whether each visitor is a qualified lead for what they were offering.
The idea behind the Japanese Invisible Fish Strategy was to first of all have fun and get the attention of a lot of people fast.
And at the same time make the stand with the Japanese Invisible Fish memorable.
Elliott had a lot of fun with this strategy with his clients.
He got his clients salespeople to ask visitors to their stand if they would like to feed the invisible fish.
And if they said 'yes' they were given an ice cube to add to the water.
For the trade show visitors that qualified as good prospects the invisible fish strategy made it easy to follow up with them.
Elliott's clients would phone a person who visited the trade show stand and say "You might remember me we had the stand with the Japanese Invisible Fish. I'm sorry to have to tell you that I have some bad news. The fish died".
The person on the other end of the phone invariably laughed or had a quick chuckle and were now receptive to what the phone call was about.
I really liked what Elliott did with this strategy and it reminded me of a valuable marketing lesson.
If you can make people laugh or smile and feel good they are a lot more receptive to doing business with you.
In other words having fun in your marketing can work very well to boost sales.
Here's another example:
Dr Michael Hewitt Gleeson is the best-selling author of 'WOMBAT Selling'.
In one of his first jobs Michael sold a sales training programme called KISS - Keep it Simple Salesman.
Michael sold this programme to companies with a number of salespeople and found that he was getting three people saying 'yes' for every five sales presentations that he made.
Michael would do about three appointments a day. He hated cold calling so he would phone people, qualify them and make an appointment to show them the programme.
Then Michael fell in love with a brand new Mercedes 280SL sports car and knew that he had to own one. He realised he needed to make at least ten sales presentations a day to get his sales target and buy the Mercedes.
The only way this was possible was if Michael cold called on a lot of businesses in the same area. But he hated cold calling.
So Michael tried a lot of ideas and finally came up with one that had was humourous and fun and worked brilliantly.
Michael printed a little book called 'How to Sell without Working.'
Michael would then walk into the sales manager and say 'Hi, my name is Michael and I've brought you a little gift to add to your sales library, it's a book called How to Sell without Working.' and he'd hand him the book.
Now when the person opened the book, all the pages in it were blank.
There are no words because there's no such thing as selling without working. (In other words it was a joke book.)
A lot of the time the person he was talking to would open the book, laugh loudly when saw it was blank, pick up the phone and say 'hey Jack come and have a look at this'.
And Michael has already got the humour and fun effect working right at the beginning of his sales call.
The prospect is then happy and smiling and when he asks what the call was about, Michael would begin his sales presentation.
Once Michael realised he'd found something that got a terrific reaction when he handed over the book he was happy to work all day long making cold calls.
And the use of that simple idea that used humour and fun enabled Michael to quickly buy his Mercedes 280 SL sports cars.
Humour and fun used in a tasteful, professional way can be make for very effective marketing. And could be worth testing in your own business.
"You should laugh everywhere you can find even the slightest glimmer of humour" - Doug Stanhope
How could you use humour and fun in some of your marketing?
- Graham McGregor is a Marketing Advisor and helps businesses who offer an expensive service to quickly attract ideal new clients. You can download his brand new 106 page marketing guide 'The Expensive Service Marketing Solution' at no charge from www.TheExpensiveServiceMarketingSolution.com