A sales menu is a great way to show your customers what options and choices they have at your business. There’s a reason why restaurants use them. Can you imagine otherwise? You go to order the filet mignon only to find out that they don’t serve it, so then you order the grilled salmon, but the don’t serve that either. Finally, you wind up ordering a burrito, because it’s a Mexican restaurant and you wouldn’t know what they serve because in this alternate universe menus don’t exist.
Yes, absolute horror. But that’s what your potential customer might feel when they come into your business and there is no menu. So what should you do? Create one! But here are some ways to keep your menu from sucking.
1. Show Them What They Get
There’s this old writer’s adage, ‘show, don’t tell.’ I think that applies here. If you’re telling your potential customer all the things they get, there’s bound to be a bit of a disconnect between your understanding and theirs. All that talk could come off as empty promises and turn your customer off before they see the value of what you do.
Solution: Include pictures in the menu. Most people order the foods that are pictured on the menu at a restaurant, and they’ll probably pick the services and/or products that they can see on your menu over those that are just words on a page.
2. Give Choices
If they haven’t already decided exactly what they want before they step into your door, most customers need some guidance as to what is going to be a good choice for them. And by ‘guidance’ I mean being informative, not salesy and pushy. That’s the stuff of the past, and while it can still work in certain situations, it works at the cost of your reputation (think angry Facebook reviews) and trust, the foundation of your customer relationship.
Here’s where you let the menu do the selling. People expect a menu to be salesy. It’s a menu that’s what it does. But along with that you can provide information on different packages you have to offer. You can show your 3-4 options in a clear, concise way that allows them to feel that they have some level of control over the situation. Consumers like that ability to choose, and rather than fight it you should embrace it.
3. Asterisks Everywhere*
You’ve seen it before. The offer that’s too good to be true. And you know it because of that little star shining above the end of the sentence. That little asterisk is there to light your way, to lead you, the consumer, away from shady deals and hidden fees. It’s usually an instant turn off for me, and can be for many other consumers as well. Sometimes I don’t even bother looking at the fine print at the bottom of the page.
So what should your menu do to avoid sucking with tons of asterisks all over the place? Don’t use them. Just don’t. Be clear in your pricing, in your offers, and don’t try to hide anything on the page. Instead of an asterisk you can say ‘ask for details’ or something similar. That’s a much better alternative. And if there’s something you don’t want on the menu for whatever reason (and sometimes there are legitimate reasons) it should be part of the presentation of the menu for you or your employee to explain that little bit clearly so that it doesn’t come back alter to bite you in the a**.
4. You Don’t Have a Presentation to Go Along With It
And by that I mean you don’t say anything. You’re just like, ‘Here are your options. What do you want?’ That works at restaurants, but even your server will tell you the special of the day. By saying nothing you’re leaving it entirely up to them, and people usually feel rushed in these instances to make up their mind and decide. So, help ’em out a little.
Practice going over the menu on a daily basis. In the past with other jobs I’ve had, this is what I would do. I would go up to my manager or another coworker and give the presentation of the menu as if they were the customer, and they would give me feed back. It doesn’t have to be the same exact thing every time, but having a presentation to give will accomplish two things. First, it will take away the awkwardness of selling, especially if that’s not your thing. Second, it will make you look like you know what you’re talking about (especially if you don’t pause or look like you’re reading right from the menu), and everyone wants to do business with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
5. You Don’t Let Them Keep It
There are a few things you learn about people in the business world. They don’t read and they don’t remember things. Your customers are like most people in that sense. They want you to do the work for them. After all, that’s why they’re paying you (and not your competitor).
So, when you’ve gone over the menu and all the options and information included, it’s not a bad idea to let them keep it. Look, this like back in the day where you could keep this kind of information a secret for very long. The new way to do business is to be transparent and forthcoming about pricing, and then to over-deliver on your promises. Let them keep the menu, or at least take a picture of it.
I can hear you saying it already: “What if they’re a competitor that’s spying on our business?” or “What if they share that photo on Facebook and everyone knows our pricing?” My response is, great. Let them. If you’re worried about the former, you’ve got other problems (and so does your competitor, since they’re wasting time spying on you). If you’re concerned about the latter then either you’re priced too high or you don’t offer enough value for what you charge.
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