So I recently found myself standing at a busy intersection, whistling like a mad woman.
I drew WTF looks from drivers but I didn’t care.
There was a cockatiel in a tree and I was determined to rescue it.
I knew I had my work cut out for me, however, because I was a stranger to the bird and didn’t know his name.
Cockatiels are friendly birds but won’t fly to the shoulder of just anyone.
He was cheeping the way cockatiels cheep when they are anxious or calling out to a cockatiel buddy.
I imitated that cheep as best as I could and made eye contact with him. He calmed down.
He wasn’t budging, though, so I walked to the other side of the tree and started whistling songs cockatiels usually know: the wolf whistle, the Adams Family and Andy Griffith theme songs.
He kept staring at me and gradually felt safe enough to fly to a lower branch.
I wanted to close the deal, however, especially when the waiter at a nearby Mexican restaurant… the guy who made me aware of the cockatiel’s presence in the first place… said sadly, “If you don’t rescue him, he’ll die, won’t he.”
Plus, cockatiels are nomadic creatures when in the wild, so I knew I had to close the deal now or never.
This anxiety was making it hard for me to continue to whistle, so I switched tactics and started saying words a cockatiel might know:
“Food.” “Water.” “Step up.” “Pretty bird.”
I used a sing song-y voice in a higher register than my normal speaking voice because cockatiels like higher pitches.
Those words really got his attention and he kept dropping down to lower branches one at a time until he was on the lowest branch.
Suddenly there was a flurry of feathers but I remained still.
He landed on my head.
I ever so carefully walked to my car and slid into the front seat.
He insisted on remaining on my shoulder so I let him stay there during the drive home so as to maintain my bond of trust with him.
Sometimes he hopped onto my head, which probably drew more WTF looks from drivers, but I didn’t care.
The moment I put him into the bird cage at home (we have a small aviary of parakeets and cockatiels at home) he wagged his tail from side to side vigorously, the way cockatiels do when they are happy.
Then he ate and drank for 30 minutes straight.
Which brings us to the “La-Di-Frickin’-Da, what does this have to do with my business” part of the post.
First, there isn’t any one thing that closes the deal when selling to a customer.
Sure, I could conclude that my using words like “food” were what closed the deal, and that I should just launch straight into that if I ever happen upon a cockatiel in the wild again.
Just like some marketers think their fancy-pants sales page is what closes the deal and they fixate on that and neglect their email list.
But it was a large sales funnel, so to speak, beginning with his previous owner, who, based on what I now know of his temperament, clearly had a loving bond with this bird, enabling him to give me the time of day in the first place.
She probably cried and kicked herself for days afterwards when he escaped during a half second of inattention, but her care for him the years beforehand played a huge role in my being able to save him.
The other parts of the funnel:
I spoke/whistled in his language.
I very clearly communicated I had something he desperately needed – food.
I focused completely on him and drew upon the very specific knowledge I have about cockatiels so I could build trust. I didn’t focus on myself at all.
I didn’t rush or push for the sale.
Marketing really is for the birds. 😉
P. S. Bottom line: send out a variety of emails to your list. Use a combination of stories and how-to info to gradually build trust.
Eventually one of those emails will finally hit the right hot button and snag the sale, thanks to the funnel that came before it.
It’s a tough thing to do on your own, however, so have a copywriter do it for you.