Sorry, You Can’t Have That!

I was reminded of today’s tidbit while working with one of my clients over the past few days.

People want something other people can’t have.

It’s one of those rare human desires. We have a tendency to want to own, possess, or access things that other people can’t.

In fact, this human tendency can be used as a powerful incentive to drive loyalty and customer value.

Could you use this in your business?

Sure you could.

Here’s just one small example:

One of my small business clients who runs a highly successful restaurant decided to show people exactly what they couldn’t have, but how they could get it if they really wanted to.

Each month, they create a new special menu. The menu is set on every table, but it’s unlike the normal menu. This menu rests within a gorgeous black leather folder. It’s there in plain sight for everyone to see. Almost every customer who sits down can’t help but wonder what’s inside the black leather folder.

This special menu contains about four to six new items every month. The difference between this menu and the regular dining menu is simple – ONLY members of their exclusive loyalty club can order from it.

The menu explains the various other perks that come with being a member. This is a paid club at a restaurant! How many paid memberships do you belong to at restaurants? I’m guessing not many.

The waitstaff was instructed that there were to be no exceptions to this rule.

If you aren’t a member, the answer is no, you can’t order from this menu – unless of course, you join the club.

You get the odd customer who isn’t happy about the rule. They are shocked in disbelief when the server says, “no, seriously.

But for every one customer who complains, they sign up a hundred new members.

The program has been running for a little more than a year and the numbers don’t lie.

Twenty percent of them pay the membership fee merely to order from the menu. You always get one at the table who wants the items everyone else at the table can’t have.

Meanwhile, eighty percent of those who join come back again, and again, and again. Many go on to become the company’s most valuable and profitable customers.

What could you offer that’s exclusive to only your best and most valuable customers?

What sort of offering could you create that customers would pay extra to be a part of?

How could you improve your loyalty program so it’s not just another useless card in the wallet?