410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Turn smiles into sales by getting your customers to LOL!

Turn smiles into sales by getting your customers to LOL!

March 03, 2011

With all the news about gas prices rising AGAIN, state governments talking about mass layoffs and worries over whether we may dip back into another recession, you'll be surprised to find out what's selling like hotcakes these days.


And no, I'm not talking about a trip to the dentist. What's flying off the shelves (real and virtual) these days are products that make people laugh or smile.

It seems your customers and clients are looking for something to break through the veil of doom and gloom that pervades the news. With so many people feeling hassled, anxious, overworked, one man thinks he has the answer: we need more fun! 'When we're stressed, we revert back to the things that comforted us as kids,' says Howard Papush, aka, Dr. Play, author of the book When's Recess? 'We want to play our way through stress.' I couldn't agree more.

I was recently at a trade show, and one of the most popular freebies being given at booths was a smiley face stress ball with the company's info screen printed on the other side of the face. I saw people at the show tossing these balls around, squeezing them, and rolling them on their own tables.

And guess what? They were all SMILING!

Speaking of smiles'if you listen to the radio like I do while on the road, you've probably heard 1-800-FLOWERS' ad specifically promoting their happy face mug. According to their Web site, nothing makes a person smile more than a bright yellow happy face mug filled with cheery fresh flowers!

Another company making a killing online that sells stuff that makes you smile is LiarWear (LiarWear.com), which produces shirts, hats, and even underwear screen printed with whatever lie someone has told you. You can wear the shirt or give it to the fibber to wear. The company says there seems to be no end to material.

'When you Google 'lie,' thousands of them pop up. Little white lies (like) 'Oh, honey, you look good in that, or whatever,' says company co-founder Larry Razzing Razzano, who came up with the idea of Liarwear at a pub last fall in Florida with his buddy Mike Sidwell. They were watching TV analysts dissect the presidential debates between Senator John Mc Cain, and now President Barack Obama, and concluded that even guys at the top can fall short.

With tee shirts saying things such as 'The new upgrade is on its way' or 'Go ahead tell me. I promise I won't get mad' or 'Looks don't matter, it's personality that counts!' they've found a ripe market for their brand.

I found a really cool product with a high 'fun' factor that's selling well called the Bubble Calendar. It's a poster-sized calendar with a bubble to pop every day, which puts people's love (obsession?) of popping sheets of plastic bubbles to a useful purpose: marking time in style. Described as 'The Cleverest Calendar Ever' by noted tech author Guy Kawasaki, this groovy calendar can also be customized with your own logo or business formation, and can be used as a freemium or even resold. 'Having a fun gift is a real need right now,' creator Stephen Turbek says.

As Lynn Dornblaser, a new products guru at researcher Mintel said in a recent interview: 'People are looking for escape valves to take their minds off the economy.'

Use that to your advantage in marketing your company or in your product line. And keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily have to be 'happy' products. It can be products that just make people giggle.

It doesn't take a psychologist to understand that people today are buying products and services because they convey a sense of playfulness or happiness. Even if your company doesn't 'sell happy products,' you have to keep in mind that sales are based on feelings'and it's essential to try to stimulate feelings of happiness and security in the minds of your clients and customers.

The best way to do this is through your own attitude. After all, if you are not genuinely enthusiastic about your offering, how can you expect your prospect to get excited? Negative thoughts and emotions will kill your sales. I've got some great ways to avoid a downer sales attitude that I'll share with you next time.

But in the meantime, what can you do to make your customers smile?

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman, President