Loyal customers will sell for you more product then you will ever sell.
Last night, Thursday September 21, 2006 I found my self wandering through Prospera Center in Chilliwack, BC with corporate seasons passes looking for Section B, row 10, seat 9. The event? The first ever WHL game of the newly minted Chilliwack Bruins.
It was very interesting watching the sold out home crowd cheering on their new home team; everybody knew who it was that they were suppose to be cheering for but had little-to-no reason to actually cheer for them. The usual electric feeling of a season opener in a full arena was simply not there as everyone sat back and quietly observed who this new team was. Any cheering that actually happened felt very contrived and more of an obligation then a real response to what was happening on the ice.
Until they scored two goals less then a minute apart.
The crowd erupted. Suddenly there was a reason to cheer because cheering was the only worthy response to a team that suddenly held some credibility. From that moment on, you could feel an emotional shift in the building from cautious observer to Bruins fan. The crowd had been bought at the price of two goals, a few good hits, and a fight.
People will buy what you are selling and cheer on your product, whether it is an idea, a way of life, or a nic-nac piece of junk, if you connect them to a credible product at an emotional level.
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PS - If you are looking for more of my top ten youth ministry memories check back tomorrow for number seven.