When Chief Executive Officer Terry Marks was hired in 2011 to make over the Hooters chain, he found women were steering clear for more reasons than buxom waitresses in tight uniforms. Wives and girlfriends also avoided Hooters because the menu was stale, the restaurants were dated and the food was overpriced.
Can Marks, a former Coca-Cola exec, remove the Hooters stigma so men aren’t embarrassed to put the chain on an expense account and women aren’t as quick to veto a meal there? Attracting women is critical because Hooters is facing strong competition from other so-called breastaurants including Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery and Twin Peaks.
To convince the females that Hooters is going from frat frenzy to family friendly, Marks needs to change the conversations about the restaurants. Perhaps advertising that gets women to say, “If it were me, I would change the menu and make it more up to date.” “If it were me, I would add more lunch deals.” “If it were me, I would redecorate the restaurants and make them more appealing to women, like bringing light into the restaurants.”
Then Marks and team can show that Hooters is taking all these steps.
Recommend the questions you want prospects to ask
Maybe you need to reposition your brand in the mind of the prospect to land a deal. The conversations you want to encourage are those that begin “If it were me….”
These are the words that you want to plant into your prospect’s ears. This has to be done carefully. You are not running down your competitors. Your role is to be an objective adviser to the prospects. You are advising them on what they should be looking at in the solutions. The “If it were me…” approach must be objective.
This means you have to be willing to withstand the scrutiny you are encouraging them to give to all of the solutions. Examples of this approach are:
1. If it were me, I would take a look at how each of the companies you are considering is sourcing their components. If they are off-shore sourcing, you have to be concerned about quality and safety stock.
2. If it were me, I would want to see the financials for each company submitting a solution for the last six months broken out from the rest of the financial reports. There has been a lot of volatility in my industry and you want to make certain your provider is strong enough.
3. If it were me, I would want a guarantee the team they are saying is going to be dedicated to my account will be the team that works it after the account is awarded. Our industry is famous for “bait and switch” on talent once an account is awarded.
You can see by taking this approach, you are arming the prospects to push down on your competitors in ways that are good for the prospect. It really is not about you, but it does put them in a position to be informed and make a better selection. Our assumption is the better selection, because of the questions you are teaching, will be you.