As a student of people and ideas I had to admit that what two guys are doing in a Northeast Florida Starbucks is absolutely genius.

The other day as I tried to pay for my green tea at my local Starbucks the cashier said, “Don’t worry about it sir. Those guys over there are paying for it today.” She then handed me their business card from a stack by the register. Turns out the guys were wealth management, financial planners who once a week, at different times, will spend a few hours at this Starbucks and buy customers their coffee. Most people, like me, will walk over and thank the gentlemen and walk away with their business card in our pocket.

I thought about how brilliant this was. People love their Starbucks in the morning. While they are waiting in line they smell that aroma and think, “Yes, there is a God for only God could make something that smells so good.” For many the Starbucks experience has become a ritual or right of passage that helps them take on the day. It’s become an emotional experience that makes them feel good. It’s become a bond of love.

Imagine yourself at the register, which is very easy for many of us, as you anticipate holding that coffee in your hand, thinking “YES”. Then the cashier tells you it’s FREE. Wow, an unexpected gift. Now instead of feeling good you are feeling great. You feel so good you don’t mind placing a stranger’s card in your pocket. When you walk over and say thank you to these financial planners they cease to be strangers and become more like acquaintances and neighbors. Then about an hour later when the caffeine really kicks in you’re feeling so great, you think, “Wow, those financial planners are great guys.” Now instead of acquaintances they have become more like long lost friends. These financial planners brilliantly connected something you love with a service they offer. Not surprisingly I found out that these men do receive a good number of calls from the Starbucks customers interested in planning for their financial future.

It is said we remember one third of what we read, half of what people tell us and 100 % how feel. Whether we are watching a commercial, listening to a teacher, or talking to a sales person it is how we feel that impacts us the most. We can’t remember what we ate for lunch a week ago but we can remember where we were on 9-11 when we saw the World Trade towers collapse. We remember how we feel and when it comes time to investing our money, buying a product, purchasing insurance, or choosing a restaurant and we will make choices based on these feelings.

This leads us to the greatest sales strategy ever—but it doesn’t involve coffee. While the Starbucks idea is brilliant it isn’t the best way to build a business. There is a far more powerful strategy to create an emotional connection and foster and emotional memory. It’s so simple and it doesn’t even cost a dime. It’s to love your customers. Caffeine is temporary but love lasts forever.

Love and business are two words you usually don’t here in the same sentence but when it comes to sales, customers do business with people they like and who love and care about them. When customers feel like they matter and feel cared for they love back with more loyalty, more business and more referrals.

So if you are in sales, and we all are, I encourage you to make loving and caring about your customers your top priority. You don’t have to buy them coffee to connect your product or service with something they love. You can be the connection. Your love can be the bridge that connects your customer with your product or service. After all no matter what we are selling, people are always buying our energy and making decisions based on how our energy makes them feel. And while coffee is an energy source that makes people feel good it doesn’t compare to the energy of love. Look out for your customers interests. Show them you care. Share the love and you’ll be so successful you’ll be able to buy your own Starbucks and give away all the coffee you want.

Author's Bio: 

Jon Gordon is a leading authority on developing positive, engaged people, leaders, businesses, schools and teams and the author of the international best seller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy. Jon’s proven solutions are being put to use by thousands of executives and organizations including the PGA Tour and he has been featured in hundreds of television shows, magazines and newspapers around the world including CNN’s American Morning, NBC’s Today Show, Men’s Health, Forbes, and Positive Thinking.

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