A mark of a successful business is a good product impression. This not only means the kind of quality you leave to your customers, but it is also about the kind of feeling or impression you leave with them even after they left. Ken shares a compelling personal story about his encounter with Jimmy John’s, a fast food chain, where he talks about the value of leaving a great product impression on your customers, which doesn’t only make your customers remember you, but it’ll make them come back for more. The question is do you have a product or do you have a product and impression?
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For those of you that just heard 278, you heard me talk about reaching out. Through a good happenstance, I met the Founder of Jimmy John’s, a national restaurant chain. I had an interesting experience meeting Jimmy and Leslie. I wanted to follow up on something that I had mentioned in that previous episode, which was through a roundabout way that man, Jimmy John, planted a seed 25 years ago for a chain of sandwich restaurants. I was taking Kenny, my son for a haircut. We go in there and if you’ve ever been in a Jimmy John’s, whether you’re in the bathroom, in the hallway or you’re sitting at the tables, eating the sandwich inside, you cannot help but notice there are a lot of signs about fourteen inches wide and eighteen inches high that have hilarious sayings.
There are top ten lists. There are 25 reasons of this and they’re all sarcastically hilarious. We’re eating our sandwich and my son is captivated with this one sign and he starts laughing. I said, “You liked that one, Kenny? Go run in the bathroom and read that sign.” He comes back laughing and we get in the car and he says, “Dad, why would a restaurant want to do comedy?” I said, “What do you mean?” Understand my son is ten years old. He goes, “Why would they take the time instead of putting up wallpaper or tile or painting the walls in a fancy way, why would they put up funny posters?” They weren’t posters. These were pieces of art. These were signs. I said, “That’s simple, son. Jimmy John’s wants to make sure they have a product and an impression.”
He says, “What does that mean?” I said, “Number one, what do you know about their product?” He goes, “They’re most famous for having their sandwich in a bag on the counter before you’ve even reached into your wallet for your credit card.” I said, “Correct. It’s called freaky fast delivery. It’s the highest level of customer service that a restaurant that’s considered fast food can have. It’s the fastest fast food. That’s their product. Do you know what an impression is?” He said, “Yes, I know what an impression is.” I said, “When you leave there, what’s your impression?” He goes, “Comedy.” I said, “Exactly.” He goes, “I don’t get the point.”
You enjoyed a product when you find out that even after it was over, you’re still in the world of their impressions. Click To Tweet
I said, “A lot of restaurants. You go in, you order a hot dog or hamburger and you have a hot dog or hamburger. Let’s just say you’re by yourself. You’re going to stare either out the windows, on the tile floor, or the wallpapered walls. The impression you leave with is the food.” He goes, “Yes, I get that.” I said, “In Jimmy John’s, there are countless numbers of funny signs. Kenny, did you not find yourself wanting to read all the signs at all the booths?” He goes, “Yes, I did.” I go, “Exactly. Is there a chance that you’re going to go home and you’re going to chat with some of your friends and tell them some of the things you read on the wall?” He goes, “I already have on my phone. I’ve already texted a couple of jokes.” I said, “In Jimmy John’s, you ate the product. You enjoyed the product. After the product was over, you’re still in the world of their impressions. The impression they’re making on you is one of comedy. It’s one of satire. It’s one of sarcasm. It’s funny. What if I told you that all the signs in all the restaurants nationwide were different?” He goes, “I’ve got to go to all the Jimmy John’s in all the towns I’m in?” I said, “Exactly,” and he goes, “That is interesting.”
He repeated back to me. He goes, “In a restaurant, you want to make a product that people will eat, but you also want to make an impression so that they will somehow go home and talk about it.” I said, “Son, you’re ten years old and you just caught something that many business owners will never catch.” Do you have a product or do you have a product and an impression? I’m not talking about the impression your product leaves on people. I’m talking about a parallel track of an impression that your brand leaves on people.
Toms Shoes sell shoes, but if you buy a pair of shoes there, they put a pair of shoes on a kid that’s never worn shoes before. Their brand is one for one. Their brand put shoes on other people. A parallel track runs, so they sell you shoes, which are comfortable but they also make an impression on you, which is an indelible mark. You clothed a person in the world that has never worn shoes before and it warms your heart. There’s a second impression. Do you have a product or do you have a product and impression? Hope this helps.