Customers as Salespeople

About a week ago, I was glued to my computer, clicking the refresh button on my web browser over and over again. What causes this kind of silly behavior? Something known in the world of nerds as a “Woot Off”. I’ve written in the past about my favorite on-line shopping site,

What makes Woot special is that they only sell one item at a time on their web site. As I write this, they are offering a universal remote control for sale. This item will remain for sale until they either sell out, or until they list their next item at 12 Midnight Central Time. This policy of “One day, one item”, however, changes once in a blue moon to a mode called a “Woot Off”. During a “Woot Off”, they sell limited quantities of items at great prices, and as soon as one is sold out, they list another for sale. When their allotment of computer video cards sold out in five minutes, they listed a backlight keyboard that sold out in seven minutes, followed by other rapid sellouts. 

As a fan of random technology gadgets and products, I couldn’t wait to see what was next, hence my constant refreshing of my web browser. This went on for a few hours, until a bread maker went on sale. Since the typical customer of this site is for lack of a better term a “computer geek”, a bread maker was not exactly tops on the list of items to buy. Instead of a rapid sellout, I was dismayed to see the bread maker sit on the page seemingly with no end in sight. One hour passed, then another, and yet another. Would someone please buy a bread maker so we can get back to USB drives, cell phone headsets, and robotic lawnmowers?

Rather then sit idly by, the customers of went out and began posting about what a great deal this bread maker was on all kinds of websites. They mobilized on message boards, by e-mail, and even began calling friends who might be interested in the appliance. Some customers went so far as to “take one for the team” and buy a bread maker, just so they would sell out faster, despite not wanting one! Eventually, enough bread makers were sold and the “Woot Off” resumed.

Think about what happened. Customers who didn’t even want to buy what was being sold went out and actively sought new customers for this website! They became a de facto sales force for an item just so they could buy something else from them later that same day. Now THAT is customer loyalty.

Now for most businesses selling only one item at a time won’t work, but you may be able to inspire your customer base in a similar way. What can you do to mobilize the good will you have with your customers? I’d love to hear the ideas you come up with. And if any one wants a great deal on a bread maker, let me know and I’ll be sure to call you the next time they’re holding up a “Woot Off”. This article was written by SBA Network Sales technology Specialist Matt Walker.  You can reach him at: or 714-269-4123.

Have a great week!

Posted in Marketing Strategies, Uncategorized.

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