Guerrilla Selling – the Reward Step

In the last issue, we discussed The Transaction Step, and how to get the customer to close the sale for you.  The Reward is the sixth and final step of the “NaB & CaPTuRe” roadmap: Need, Budget, Conviction, Presentation, Transaction, Reward.

The Reward is last step in the Guerrilla Selling process, and the one most often overlooked by salespeople.  Rewarding customers simply requires keeping something extra in reserve, congratulating them on their purchase, and then delighting them by “throwing it in” after the sale.

We added a room to our home in Colorado, and as we were finishing the exterior, I made a trip to the lumber yard to buy the rough-cut cedar lumber needed for the trim.

“Eight-hundred dollars?!!” I said, followed by an expletive.   I knew this wood was going to be expensive, but this was crazy!  I had no choice.  It had to match the existing trim.

“Yeah,” said the clerk.  “The price of cedar has gone through the roof in recent years.   Nice stuff. Lasts forever.  But it’s expensive.

Carpenter's Pencil“Tell you what,” he says. “Here’s a carpenter’s pencil.  They’re normally $3.00, but I’m sure you can use one,” and he hands it to me with the receipt. Instantly, my whole attitude switched, from outrage over paying a king’s ransom for cedar lumber, to delight at getting a free pencil.

Recycled Paper

One of our clients runs a very successful office supply store, and he’s devoted to encouraging customers to use recycled products.  After writing up the order for a new copier, the clerk thumps his forehead and says, “Oh, I almost forgot!  You’re going to need paper.  Let me give you a case, that’s 10 reams, about 5,000 pages.  I’d like you to try this 100% recycled paper.  It’s a bit more expensive, but it has a smoother finish.”

Is the cost of the paper included in the price of the copier?  I’m sure it is.  But instead of saying, “This copier comes with a case of paper,” the salesperson saves it as a surprise.  Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when they don’t expect it.  It feels like winning the lottery.  The last thing your customer feels is surprise and conquest.

And because any behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated, this customer will return again and again for paper, toner, and other supplies.

Continuity Programs

Airlines have built special lounges where they lavish frequent flyers with VIP check-in, comfy chairs, big-screen TV, computer workstations, conference rooms, high-speed Internet, soft drinks, coffee, snacks, and even a private bar.  Customers pay extra to belong to these clubs, and will endure long connections to rack up miles, just because they’re members of the Club.  Rewards win customers and keep them coming back.

The hotel industry has put the Reward tactic to work as well.  Now, even three-star hotels offer amenities like WiFi, assorted pillows, in-room coffee makers and mini-bars.  Frequent gusts are rewarded with newspapers, upgrades, breakfast, cocktails, even limo service.

Small businesses are discovering the marketing power of continuity programs as well.  It can be as simple as a “Buy-10-Get-One-Free” punch card.  Starbucks prints a coupon on their packaged coffee that says, “Bring this bag to one of our stores and receive a free Tall brewed coffee with purchase.”  People who buy their beans at the market are now encouraged to visit their brick-and-mortar coffee shops.

You don’t even have to give something away to make customers feel special.  My friend Don Jensen is a consultant who travels regularly to San Francisco.  Don likes to stay in the same hotel, because it’s close to his client’s office, but he also asks for a particular room.  When the front desk clerk asked him why, Don explained that it just made him feel more at home.   On his last trip, as he put his key into the lock, he noticed a new sign on the door, the “Don Jensen Suite.”

From a weekend at a resort to a free order of fries, guerrillas have learned the power of giving the customer something extra when they make the sale.  But make sure that the customer knows it’s a bonus. If it’s built into a bundle, it’s part of the product.  And if it has your company name or logo on it, it’s advertising, not a reward.


One of the most powerful ways to reward customers is simply to pay attention.  Even something as simple as a hand-written thank-you note can be a reward.  It’s an old-fashioned custom that’s seldom used today, but it differentiates you by showing care.

Guerrilla Photography

A guerrilla bundled in a day-glow green down coat stood at the top of the chairlift, dancing around excitedly with a camera around his neck and a clipboard in hand.  “Free photos today!” he shouts to the skiers as they come off the lift.  “No catch.”  He explained that he would send me one free eight-by-ten color glossy of me and my friends looking cool on the slopes, with Lake Tahoe in the background.  If we want more copies, they’re $9.00 each.  We bought three!

Free Shine

People will gladly pay and pay handsomely for exceptional treatment.  That means rendering service that never sends them away frustrated, service that surpasses the norm, service that surprises and delights.

One spring morning in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was walking from my hotel to the convention center to speak at a large convention, and there was a boy, maybe 12 or 13 years old, standing on the sidewalk counting and pointing, “Ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine . . ,” He points to me and says, “One hundred!  Congratulations mister!  Today’s my birthday, and every one-hundredth person walks past my stand gets a free shine!”

How can I refuse? This is my lucky day!  Then I realized it had to be a scam.  He’s going to hit ‘em a few times with a rag then hit me up for a tip.  But no.  This kid turns out to be a performance artist of shoe-shine.  He’s brushing and buffing and popping his rag and rapping in time to it all.  He looks up and says, “All dressed up like that, you mus’ be goin’ someplace important.”

“Well, yes,” I said.  “I’m giving the keynote speech today at the Convention Center.”

“Well, then!  An important man like you gotta’ look his best.  Where’s my beeswax? We’re gonna’ give you the FINE shine!”  He just upgraded me.

This kid works my wing-tips to a high gloss, and all he says is, “Thank you sir!  It’s a pleasure serving you. You have a great speech now!”

I admired his work, reached into my pocket, and pulled out the first bill I touched.  That was the first time I ever paid $20 for a shoeshine.  But what the heck, it was his birthday.  Right?

And as I continued on my way that day, I heard him counting again, “Ninety-five, ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine…”

In future installments of this series, we’ll explore the world of Guerrilla Selling, with more unconventional weapons and tactics that will double or even quadruple your sales.

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