Puppy Dogs’ Tales

The ‘Puppy Dog’ technique is an excellent way to encourage a wavering customer into buying. The idea is that you say ‘try it- if you like it keep it, if you don’t bring it back.’ If you’re product’s any good, the chances are they’ll fall in love with the cute little fellow.

Samples are another method of stimulating sales when customers are uncertain. You know how you can go to your local supermarket on a Saturday morning and stuff enough free samples down your throat to see you through to supper? People taste the product and quite a few not only buy it again but tell their friends and family that they were given something nice at the supermarket.

How did we apply that when I worked in theatre? My own experience was that CDs and even DVDs didn’t really make an impression. Giving away tickets for the whole event somehow defeated the object. Fortunately, show business already had a tried and tested solution. If you have a lesser known artist, put them into a show as a support or get a sample of a stage show or act into an awards ceremony, charity fundraiser or festival. Group sales are vital so, if you’re selling a touring show, take group organisers on trips to see the original or the tour launch.

Or… a personal appearance. An interview accompanied by a photo or a recorded extract from a show is an ideal way to enthuse a potential attender into a ticket buyer. Having said that, there are a number of bricks that must be in place. The interviewee must make the show sound like it’s worth seeing. Enthusiasm, amusing anecdotes and a clear description of the show are all de rigeur.

I’ve been surprised how often a performer is unprepared to perform in an interview or else is so scripted they persuade no-one. Go through likely questions and have snappy answers. It’s not a chat!  The interviewee must know what needs to be said and make sure they say it. Ditto you must have top quality production shots, video or sound recordings available

Author: Paul Lewis

After a short stint as a journalist, I have spent most of my working life in marketing and retailing. I love theatre and have been lucky enough to work in theatre marketing for many years. I provide small businesses and arts organisations with holistic marketing at an economic price through my company Seven Experience Ltd

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