It was a relatively quiet night at The Trestle Inn. What used to be a seriously dirty dive bar is now the go-to-a-go-go spot beloved by Philadelphians in the know. Bespectacled flannel shirt and skinny jeans-clad patrons belly up to a bar that serves cocktails with names like Velvet Jones and Cheap Trick.
The Trestle Inn is a project of Ian Cross, whose day job is in marketing and interactive design as CEO of I-SITE, along with his wife, Josette Bonafino. He didn’t do much to the interior, but in a stroke of marketing genius, he decided to book go-go dancers.
Turn away if you can, but you’ll find it hard to do. Sometimes, you’ll find something you can use when you least expect it. Keep your eyes open wide and you’ll find some truths that are basic and useful the next time you start to market your services or products. It’s all a question of confidence, a promise to be revealed to you (but only to you), and the excitement of desire. This story is one that Steve Jobs could have written.
It was a bit early for the show to start, and one of the ladies sat next to me at the bar. She teaches other girls how to get up and shake it, and I asked her to give me some advice.
She said, “Use your eyes to show them what they will like.” Illustrating her point, she stood up, gave me a loaded look, and gestured toward her most compelling assets. The interesting thing is that I could have passed this woman on the street and not given her a second thought, but at that moment, she hooked me.
That glance she shot me was a heady combination of enticement and confidence. She did not beg or plead. She did not apologize. Instead, in a fully straightforward manner, she projected complete assurance that what she had on offer was what I wanted.
Let’s pull out to the wide view and consider the marketing lessons here. One: you must project confidence in whatever you have on offer. Never ask your potential customer if they might like your product or service. Know that they will love it. Everything you do, every move you make, needs to come from that perspective.
It’s about certainty. If you project faith in yourself and your product, your clients will feel the same way. It’s not the same as saying, “Trust me.” I don’t know about you, but anyone who insists that I trust them has immediately earned my mistrust. No, you would be saying, “You already trust me.” But you are not using those words. It’s a frame of mind that pervades your personality and comes through as subtext to everything you say in your pitch.
Also, it’s about being enticing. In addition to confidence, you create yearning. What you offer becomes an object of desire. Create that come hither feeling.
Third, don’t give it all away upfront. Sure, give them a taste, but let them know there’s much more where that came from, and it’s going to be very, very good. Hold back and foster a sense of exclusivity. The Trestle Inn's go-go dancers don’t need to take off even one article of vintage sixties clothing to convince me.
Next time you go out to meet a potential client, think like a go-go dancer. Confident, enticing, exclusive, and exciting. But do me a favor. Keep your clothes on.