PostHeaderIcon Second Life Selling Tip 08 of 15: Reverse Panhandling

Remember when you first came into SL what Gods and Goddess celebrities creators were to you? "ZOMG That creator spoke to me!!11ONE!" Remember how special that was? Believe it or not, if you create quality stuff, you are that celebrity to others. Use this to your advantage.

Among the huge mistakes many creators make is to set out boxes of freebies and giving away t-shirts with your company name on it or other junk. It's condescending and serves no purpose, not to mention, it gives a bad impression. This is not referencing "lucky chairs" and the like where you give away "real" creations you otherwise sell (and if you retire a product: retire it. Don;t give it away as a freebie. Reintroduce it in six-months or something.)

If you believe that giving away freebies actually helps business, it doesn't unless you go about it the right way: how about "reverse pan-handling"?

Rather than dolling-out worthless trinkets in a freebie box, do this: talk to people, strangers - not friends. And, as you do, give them one of your real, for sale products. Not a demo, not a certificate - the real thing. Don't tell them how much you sell it for. Don't say where your shop is and don't advertise what you do. Don't turn it into a sales-pitch. Make it not about you, but about them - more specifically: their opinion. Ensure a current landmark is in the box.

If you are in a place that allows rezzing, explain that it's a gift and you'd like their honest opinion of it. It's a reason to have them open it now! If not, it might sit in inventory, out of sight, out of mind, forgotten. Get them to open it now so they will see it, feel it, experience it now.

First and foremost you'll get valuable feedback. Also, you are face-to-face (virtually) with the receiving person, which does wonders subliminally. You'll get word-of-mouth started and get your product "out there" into the wild, where others will see it, hear of it and so on. Because of the face-to-face aspect, if others ask about that product, the new owner will talk about you, how you gifted it to them and wanted their opinion - they feel important and empowered now. They will exclaim how wonderfully angelic you are. You have provided human interaction with your customer and given personal service. This, dear merchant, is golden!

Now take it a step further: create a transferrable, no-modify prim with a design on it. Tell the person you have just gifted to take that "certificate" and give it to a friend or even use it themselves.

Explain that as a thank you for their valuable and important feedback, you will give a discount by way of a refund percentage of the purchase price of anything you sell to the one who buys something and then presents it back to you.

Don't bother with verifying anything. It doesn't matter - the certificate can be used only once anyway (it is transferred back to you). Simply ask which item was purchased and when. Verify that item was sold - doesn't matter to whom. Give that 25% refund without question or hesitation and you will make tidal waves in the customer-service realm. It costs you nothing to do this, but could gain you a huge boost in new business!

Now you have a little grass-root marketing going on.


Want the whole kaboodle? There is far more detail in the 'how' and 'why' in my book: Successful Business in Second Life (SBSL - Second Edition for 2009/10; 270-pages) is available at XStreet SL. The book includes both, an in-world and eReader version. There also is an  Amazon Kindle version, (you receive both: ereader and in-world versions no matter where you purchase it.)

Person-to-person "reverse panhandling" is one way to network. Another way is to take advantage of 'network vending' - getting others to sell your products for you.

art: Teddy Madison
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