Stupid sales gimmicks

Do these balloons really make you want to come in and buy a car?

Why is it that when small business owners see a dip in sales, they reach for a gimmick? I’m talking about weather balloons flying 200 feet above car dealerships, people holding up signs on street corners, or the worst, and what I experienced twice┬áthis week, people in costumes.

Does the mattress store really think that a guy or girl in a mattress suit (exactly like it sounds!) standing on the edge of a busy highway is going to make cars stop, come in and buy a mattress? I saw this today on a 55-mph, 2-lanes in each direction, highway. The only thing we’re doing is swerving so we won’t end up with a queen-sized person on the hood of our cars.

And earlier in the week, I saw a young girl dressed like a sub sandwich waving at me from this same highway, only further up in the 40-mph zone. She looked cute, and I wondered how bad things were that she had to take on this type of job, when she could have been behind the counter, asking people to sign up for the shop’s mailing list, email list or whatever-list. I’ve been in the store before, and the only thing they ask is what type of sandwich they can build for you.

What really works for mattress stores and sandwich shops? Referrals for one. Weekly newsletters, samples, try-before-you buy demo’s and social media. And what about just talking to me, asking me what made me come in the store, or for my email address?

The only person who wins more business is the business who rents costumes, balloons and other oddities!

My advice to small business owners: give up the tricks, and become social sellers.

Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit