Burgers, Ice Cream & Prospecting
I like ice cream way too much. Burgers and fries too. I say “way too much” because, now that I’m in my thirties, it’s a lot harder to work off that burger/milkshake combo than it was back in college. So I’ve learned the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, but that doesn’t mean that every now and then I can’t still enjoy the great tastes of a juicy burger. This urge to splurge usually happens on the weekends while watching football. So, at halftime, I’ll get in the car and drive around the block to a street with just about every fast food place you can think of – at least the ones that locate in Texas.
I’m no different than most consumers these days – the closer that a restaurant or retailer that I like is to me, the more likely I am to go to that place. We consumers like convenience. We want to get to, get in, get out and get back home as quickly as possible. We work such long hours that we want to spend as much time at home with our families as we can…especially if we can be at home with our families enjoying a nice burger/milkshake combo with football on the television!
So, with all that being said, it is ironic that the closest fast food burger place to my house was the one that for four years I never ate at. I didn’t really have anything against the place. It looked clean, always had cars in the parking lot, etc., it was just that I had never been exposed to this regional fast food player. So, I never wanted to take a chance on it over the places I did have experiences with. You see, I grew up and went to college in South Texas and so I had never heard of Braum’s.
This approximately 300-unit burger and ice cream chain is based in Oklahoma City and has numerous locations in North Texas, where I’ve lived for seven years now. Braum’s, which is not a Buxton client, has a good reputation around these parts – just ask the Oklahoma transplants in the Metroplex. It’s just that I had never been there and so I didn’t know how good or bad it would be. And, with the few times I let myself splurge these days, I can’t take any chances.
However, something finally changed all that. It seems simple, yet it really worked on me. One day, Braum’s sent me a direct mail piece. It was a nice piece, on quality stock, with great pictures of the different flavors of ice cream they had for sale. I think there was a coupon, but that didn’t interest me as much as the pictures of all the different flavors of ice cream – I’m pretty easy that way. Anyway, that one piece, and nothing else I can think of, was the catalyst the drove me into Braum’s for the first time. Seeing the pictures of what they offered, and what they were essentially about – quality ingredients and friendly service – got me excited. They were no longer the generic building with a logo that I would pass by to fill my craving at Jack in the Box. They were now what looked to be a quality ice cream place. Or at least one that I was willing to now give a try.
I know this sounds simplistic, but it is the absolute truth. I ignored this place like they ignored me. When they finally reached out to me to tell me what they were all about, I reached out to them.
When I got to Braum’s that Saturday afternoon I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger combo with a chocolate chip shake instead of the drink – I know, I know – but I felt like splurging a little more that day. That was two months ago, and yes I’ve had a few splurge days since then. Let me just say that Braum’s has received my business on most of those days – taking my business away from the other places down the street.
It happened because of a direct mail piece. They reached out to a prospective customer, told me what they were about and got me interested in trying them. Once there, the product and service were so good that I keep coming back. However, I would have no idea how good that product and service was if they didn’t reach out to me.
Are you reaching out to your prospective customers? What about your competition?