The simplest of gifts and tokens can endear you to your customers. After all, your customers are as human as you are.

Sweetwater Sound ( is a professional audio and music retailer based in USA, and they have consistently offered a wide range of products at reasonable trade discounts, and have a professional team of knowledgeable sales engineers to serve customers.

Because of my independent broadcasting career, I had to set up a mini-studio with sound proofing, digital recording and mixing equipment, professional headset microphones, and software. For over a year, I was either recording “live” for a radio station or a cable TV station across the USA. One of the audio recording gear I had to purchase was only found at Sweetwater Sound, and so I ordered online at their web site. I waited for a short while and the gear arrived in excellent shape. As I removed the equipment from the box, a small packet of sweets fell out of the FedEx box. Sweetwater enclosed different kinds of sweets to ensure that there is something for everyone. There was even a ginger sweet, which I like very much but is rather difficult to find in Singapore.

Actions: Sweeten your deal

As we know in the world of compressed margins, it is increasingly difficult to give upfront discounts.

How much would a packet of sweets cost? Next to nothing. How are sweets related to music production other than play on words with Sweetwater’s name? Nothing. But what does it do for customers? A lot! Of course, you don’t have to copy the idea exactly, but the key is to know what can appeal to customers, and give it to them as a bonus. No customer would turn away a good bonus. You can consider shopping vouchers, discount or VIP cards, dining vouchers (even fast food discounts), whatever.

As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details”. Customers remember the smallest details about their experiences with you, and little things that endear them to you will be much more compelling than trying to squeeze every cent of a discount from your products. When you run dry of discounts to give, what else have you got? Customers are people, and are driven by emotions. Tug at their heartstrings in the right way, and you get to keep your customers as long time friends and allies.

These are some writings we did in 2003 (published as “DotZen”, a paperback book that was widely publicized), and we extracted some which are still relevant today, in the areas of branding, marketing, sales, publicity, and business improvement. If we find some time outside that of helping our clients grow and taking a rest, we will try to write some more.

Copyright©2003 Seamus Phan & Ter Hui Peng. All rights reserved.