Does This Secret Customer Strategy Still Hold Water?

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing the Tuesday Tidbits™ for over five years. One of those classic Tidbits was written in 2014, and it was titled The Strategy Secret I Learned From 50 Bad Restaurants In Miami Beach.

My wife and I spent the past weekend in South Beach. I thought back to this tidbit and wondered if the same strategy would hold water five years later?

Today, I’m reprinting that Tidbit from 2014, and you’ll have to skip down to the bottom to see my answer to that question.

Originally Printed in January 2014

As you walk down Ocean Drive, you’ll find one restaurant after the other, each one almost identical. They’ve all got great outdoor seating and heat lamps – because apparently, it’s “winter” in Miami. They’ve all got gigantic Mojitos and plates of Crab Legs and Lobster Tails on display to tempt your taste buds.

The restaurants were nearly indistinguishable – at least 50 of them, and probably many more.

They also shared another commonality. Each restaurant had two or three attractive people standing outside who attempted to literally pull you into the restaurant.

The women would physically hook your arm and walk 20-30 feet with you, smooth-talking along the way, trying to convince you this was the best spot in town. As you passed one restaurant, the process would repeat itself again, and again, and again. Fed up, I asked a few friends where we could get the best seafood in the area.

Nearly all of them, including the Hotel’s concierge, recommended a restaurant named A Fish Called Avalon.

Since Avalon is my daughter’s name, I knew it had to be great. As we approached, I noticed something interesting. Perhaps even a telltale sign of what made it great… 

There were no women trying to pull us in, and this was the busiest place on the block. They weren’t trying to drag people through the doors. 

Instead, business was naturally flowing to them. In fact, if you didn’t have a reservation, you weren’t getting a seat. The place was packed.

 Ironically, they were the only ones who weren’t fishing.

Your Challenge For This Week

Can you identify what makes you stand out from competitors in your space, or in the eyes of your prospective clients? Write it down, or better yet – ask them. 

Or, do you feel the need to use flashy but ultimately meaningless marketing to pull people in, hoping that they’ll like what they see? 

The danger of using tactics like this is that it too often leads to the new client addiction that I’ve always railed against – you put in time and effort into trying to up the ante to bring people in, and that takes your focus from giving them a compelling reason to stay. (Remember, it’s often easy to get the first sale. It’s the second, third, and fourth that set great companies apart) 

A Fish Called Avalon knows something its 50 competitors don’t – that with the right combination of great quality, happy customers, AND well-placed influencers recommending and referring them, there was no need for flash, glitz, and glamour. 

Indeed, they looked far better than everyone else by contrast for its absence.

Back to 2019 

As we strolled down Ocean Drive, the same story repeated itself. 

Every place fighting tooth and nail to drag someone in for their oversized touristy drinks and greasy 2-for-1 appetizers. 50+ locations all fighting hard to get anyone to have a seat. 

And then we approached A Fish Called Avalon. 

The place was jam packed. It was bustling with happy dinners. Not to judge a book by its cover, but the place looked exquisite. Diners were smiling, conversing with servers, enjoying normal-sized martins and eating delectable looking dishes. 

We approached the host’s stand and at first, there was nobody around. 

Within a few seconds, a young man approached us, he greeted us warmly and smiled if he asked if we had made a reservation for this busy Friday night. He made no judgment, or attempt to make us silly for not making a reservation. 

We already had plans.

Before we could tell him that and we were looking to make a reservation for Saturday night, he suggested he could secure us a great table for a reservation the following night. I smiled and said, that would be just great.  You can apply these lessons to any business, any industry, and customer type. It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B, B2C, retail, e-commerce, offline, online, hospitality, or selling heavy manufacturing equipment….

The 5-year old “secret” strategy still holds water, and yet, hardly anybody is using it. 

Meanwhile, A Fish Called Avalon continues to thrive in an ocean with lots of fish.

By the way, Did you know I've created, in total, 10 courses for LinkedIn (previously and their global learning platform?  

These include course like Retail Sales Fundations & Management, Data-Driven Sales Management, Customer Retention, Sales Games, Customer Service in The Field and more. These courses have been viewed tens of thousands of times You can see everything I've done for LinkedIN HERE.