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March 03, 2004

Street Corner Selling Lesson #7

Today’s topic is: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers - PART 2

“No interest till 2005!” “No payments till 2005!” “Zero down, no interest.” “No credit history? – No problem.” These are common sales tactics used by high-ticket retailers in fields as varied as electronics, furniture, and cars.

Retailers selling high-ticket goods have seemingly become addicted to extending generous credit terms to consumers to secure a large dollar purchase.

The automobile industry got hooked on “zero down, no interest” deals following 9/11 in an attempt to arrest dismal sales. It worked. But, it may have worked too well. It has been over two years since the car dealers began offering car buyers lenient credit terms and it appears that they have become addicted to “zero down, no interest” deals in order to drive comp sales. These sweetheart deals are still widely used by car dealers. Some have gone so far to say that these generous credit terms have become the “crack of the car industry.”

Speaking of crack, street corner sellers have found that extending credit to buyers is a way to not only drive sales but also to develop enthusiastically satisfied customers. Dealing Crack author Bruce Jacobs tells us more.

In the world of street crack… extending the right amount of credit at the right time can forge brand loyalty and be profitable at the same time. Several sellers reportedly timed their [credit] offerings to coincide with the last week of the month, so that memories would be fresh when money became abundant the following week.

“Yeah, I give credit like around the first – if you know them and know they’ll come back. When they get their [public transfer] money, they gonna come back and spend it with me,” explained Benzo (street corner seller).

Offering credit could mean a real windfall, particularly of customers made their repayment along with an additional (and perhaps quite large) purchase. Although Fade (street corner seller) emphasized the importance of extending credit only to “specific people that won’t play with your money.”

Interest rates varied by the offender and were usurious to say the least – from the more forgiving sum of $5 a day on a $20 rock to a mafia-esque 100% - regardless of the amount involved – to be paid the following day or week.

No matter how exorbitant the interest, those caught in the throes of an all-consuming addiction, without sufficient funds to continue using, may view getting crack on credit tantamount to getting crack free. Immediate gratification is essential and can occur at the expense of rational thinking.

Street Corner Selling Curriculum:
Lesson #1: Customer Acquisition
Lesson #2: Ten Minute Rule
Lesson #3: Procurement
Lesson #4: Merchandising
Lesson #5: Angel Customers and Demon Customers
Lesson #6: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 1)
Lesson #7: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 2)


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