BY Russell Wardrop

DATE: 11 AUG 2016


I do like a restaurant owner who will come out and meet me to persuade me his dinner is worth the candle.

If they won’t put a bit of effort into getting me in I will usually move on. It doesn’t close the deal, the food and Trip Advisor chat has to be good, but a bit of effort early on works wonders. I will always find a reason to like a salesperson, being one myself.

I’m always interested in how they try to influence me in the ensuing chat, which they have to initiate as I won’t. If you don’t ask and all that…

And it helps if they put some effort in to be nice, as a paucity of LIKEABILITY early on can be a deal breaker.

John appeared as The Snip and I looked at the menu of a nice looking restaurant in Oban, asking if we were looking for a table and saying he had one for now but might not soon.

John is using SCARCITY to get me in the door, which would have worked there and then had we been hungry and his was the only restaurant in town.

We were not looking for a sit-down dinner as we had a posh lunch on the pier earlier, to which John said that was his brother’s gaff and was a good choice.

The favourable comparison is SOCIAL PROOF, John means to have us associate our great lunch with a similar experience at his for dinner. The place was packed with happy diners, that’s more social proof. Though it was Saturday night and if you can’t be busy then in high season, well...

When I say we need to go for a walk as we are not yet ready to eat he looks to have me confirm we will come back in half an hour and he’ll reserve us a nice spot.

Getting a commitment from me, even if I don’t leave my name and number, though that would be better, gives him a better chance of seeing me later as I am more likely to be CONSISTENT with my COMMITMENT.

As we are on our way I ask what he would recommend if we ate here: Halibut (the most expensive item on the menu), a few sides (including a salad) a bottle of Malbec (not the house white then).

John here is using AUTHORITY by telling us confidently what he thinks we should eat. The man knows his stuff.

What I liked about John’s recommendations from a sales perspective was, despite knowing I was maybe after a quick fish and chips, he went for something top end.

Here are three specific things that you might reflect on for your business:

  • John put an £80 sale out there (I always have coffee and pudding) when asked, not a £30 one. This does not mean he loses us if we want a quick main course and a glass of house white, but he has us thinking about making a night of it.
  • He positioned his restaurant’s brand out there as “top end” and - if we are set on sitting on a bench looking out to sea with a poke of chips and a pickled egg on our laps or if the idea of £25 for a main course gives us a nose bleed - we can all stop wasting time and move on.
  • Finally, he complimented us that we looked like we could easily afford the halibut and a nice wine, that we are classy enough to order what he thinks is his best dish… and we might even order a salad (we might… but I will still have pudding).

We never went to John’s place for plaice (my apologies, that’s a cod awful joke).

The only factor of influence he never tried was RECIPROCITY, by maybe offering us a glass of something while we looked at the menu; but that would have been trying too hard and it was the north of Scotland so the weather can always intervene.

It wouldn’t have worked on this occasion anyway and he was right to save his Prosecco for another prospect. We know, though, for next time, if it’s not a quick fish supper we are after, he has just what we need.

And there is always a next time.


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about the author

Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.

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