I'm often the recipient of amazingly good product  marketing.

As a journalist, I'm inundated with product pitches--so many, they can be hard to count. Only the good ones rise to the surface. I write a lot about managing your email and pumping up your productivity, but sometimes you have to give in and let yourself be persuaded. It's fun to rabbit trail once in awhile, especially if the trail leads to something worthwhile.

Attending an auto show recently, I met a representative for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. Don't call it a minivan. It might look like one from the outside, but it's a tech marvel. I had a few doubts, but the rep did an amazing job of convincing me it was worth a look. I might even buy one when it debuts. Here's what he did to convince me.

1. Act patient

The rep didn't start selling me on the vehicle right away. There's an art to acting assured about a product. Call it the Apple approach. You know it's good. By acting patient and laying out the features in a way that doesn't seem desperate, you let the customer make the decision. The rep was an expert at this, not just because he was avoiding pressure tactics, but because he was trusting me to explore on my own. To build trust you have to give trust. We all like to explore on our own and be the ones who figure out that, hey--the iPhone dims the screen when you talk! Hey, the new Samsung Galaxy S7 warns you not to charge when it's wet! The best kind of enthusiasm is the kind the customer discovers on their own. It lasts much longer.

2. Respond to customer reactions

One of the rep's strongest attributes was an ability to let me discover what was cool and then react in kind. This never seemed like an act, even if it was. When I pulled out a vacuum cleaner stored next to the seats, my eyes widened a bit with interest--my kids tend to make a big mess. The Pacifica is one of the only vehicles that lets you vacuum as you drive (imagine that). I became interested, the rep responded. I noticed several other fine details--that there's one button to move the driver seat forward...in the middle section. That there are USB charging ports in the second and third row seats. Each time, the rep responded with enthusiasm. How does this built trust? We all need confirmation for our discoveries. We like the support.

3. Use the market basket to full effect

OK, the killer approach that worked on me had to do with what I call the market basket. This comes from my days as a design and usability manager in retail. It means, when a customer buys a DVD player, you "market basket" by making sure he or she buys an HDMI cable, an extra power strip, and maybe a surround-sound speaker system. In retail, these are the high-margin items anyway, so they dramatically help on the bottom line. I noticed the HDMI ports for the second-row passengers. The rep responded by explaining that the Pacifica has a large cargo area under the feet of the second row for storing an Xbox or a PS4. He linked one feature to another to build enthusiasm. It was a brilliant strategy.

Published on: Mar 10, 2016
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