My first experience with really understanding sales language came (as so many good things do) from Denny’s®. I worked there for a misadventure-filled summer as I tried to, but consistently failed to be, a decent server.
In my training shifts I learned some valuable tips. Tips that have in fact become life lessons; nuggets of wisdom for which I had to suffer a summer at Denny’s, but which you can have for free:
1. “The Sullivan Nod” This compulsory training video preceded “Safety is Job One!” and was followed by “Teamwork: there’s still no ‘I’.” The video was hosted by an overly confident, avuncular cheeseball named Sullivan. He advocated nodding your head vigorously each time you offered a menu suggestion. This “encouraged” the diner to agree to that soup, or starter, or cup of coffee… eg.
Server to ‘guest’: “Would you like curly fries with your Moons Over My Hammy, sir?” (nodding like a bobblehead)
Customer: “Though I’m not sure I do, I feel strangely compelled to accept.”
And so on…
Uncle Sullivan also helpfully provided a visual comparison of the tips one would be entitled to if, say, the customer orders a grilled cheese sandwich and a coke, as opposed to that same customer who has a soup, then sandwich with side Caesar salad and curly fries, and an apple pie with coffee for dessert.
As you can imagine the difference was staggering. Never mind the fact that Denny’s clientele are not known to splash out on big tips, this furious nodding policy made sound economic sense. Just as applicable in real life, it served me well on more than one encounter with an attractive member of the opposite sex.
2. Lovingly drizzle sparkling adjectives into your elegant, persuasive, descriptions of menu items. The freshly ground descriptors will delicately zest up the exchange and encourage the oh-so-tender customer to help themselves to an oversized portion of heart-stoppingly delicious Denny’s® cuisine.
This even involved a written test in which a server was required to cram as many adjectives as possible into a description of a given menu item. The minds eye can be a powerful tool: influenced properly it can increase your takehome pay up to 7%.
All of this is just lead-in to say I’ve just spent the weekend writing descriptive phrases for a cavalcade of Levi’s® products, nodding my head the whole time. Its made me think about the persuasive effects of the written word, and the ability of language to frame our perceptions.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a few well chosen words can be worth, oh I don’t know, alot.