Limited Seating Makes for Great Marketing

October 14, 2011 — Leave a comment

When I drive by a restaurant with a line coming out into the parking lot, I may not stop and wait, but it occurs to me at that moment that I should try it – perhaps on a less popular day.  The restaurant with no cars on Friday night at 7, is obviously not doing well – my assumption is the food must not be good.

I’ve been writing about marketing concepts over the past few days, as I prepare for today’s webinar on effective marketing and demand generation.  It’s on my mind because it’s important – selling is hard work, and where marketing is lacking, the selling is much harder.  They are clearly not the same thing.  Marketing is much bigger; it sets the stage for the seller – it considers the market, the timing, and the needs your company and its offerings will serve.  It’s the overall strategy that determines what you will go to market with, what people group you will serve, and how you will get their attention.  The line in the parking lot is one small indicator for me – the seats are full and I wish I had one of them.

Yesterday I commented on urgency.  Limited seating is one way to seem urgent.  It’s urgent that I get there early to get a seat.  But you can do more with limited seating to create a buzz.  I once heard a speaker talk about a doctor, years ago in London, establishing a practice. He had very few patients, but rather than opening up his schedule to the world, he limited his appointment times at first so that when people called in for an appointment, it was harder to get an appointment.  With only a few times available, patients had to wait for a time he would be free.  Word soon spread that he must be very busy since it is so difficult to get an appointment.  His limited seating capacity increased the value of each seat.  Before long, his schedule was overbooked – he had created demand for his services through limited seating.

Consider scheduling your week like this.  Plan days for office work at the start of the week, and block out certain times for meetings and client interaction.  Rather than telling clients, any time this week, offer two options with specific times.  When I have a choice of 40 hours to see you, suddenly I don’t know where I can fit you in.  But if my choice is Wednesday at 4 or Thursday morning at 9, I can see right away if one of those times works best.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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