This is How You Make Someone Buy a $5 Milkshake

I love this blog and had to bring it back to you today for this reason: the key to success in any business is showing people the value your product has. It's how Mia (Uma Thurman) buys a $5 milkshake in Pulp Fiction. It's how my daughter got me to buy a $3 orange!


Everybody knows the movie, “Pulp Fiction” and the restaurant scene where Vincent (John Travolta) is out with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) where Mia orders a $5 milkshake. $5? How could a milkshake cost $5? It’s just milk and ice cream!

Well, when their order comes to the table and Vincent has a taste of that milkshake, he’s amazed…

A milkshake is one of the simplest things you can make, so why the increase in price?

It’s all about value and differentiation. If a restaurant keeps a $5 milkshake on the menu (or even $7 or $8 like I’ve seen these days…remember, this movie was made 20 years ago), patrons like Vincent might be a little skeptical. But, given his reaction, the restaurant clearly has a recipe of other ingredients that has truly added value to the experience of drinking that milkshake.

When someone tries a product and discovers that it is unique and is different than the competition, the consumer can understand the higher-than-expected price tag because they see value. In fact, according to Seth Godin (who’s blog I read every day) most people will switch for the better. He says:

“When your product or your service doesn't measure up, the answer probably isn't to lower your price or offer a refund to the disappointed customer. Instead, the alternative is to invest in making it better. So much better that people can't help but talk about it—and so much better that they would truly miss it if it were gone.”

I’ll give you another example. My daughter made me get a $3 Sumo orange at Whole Foods. Yup, $3 for one orange!

What’s the value there? They are large with bumpy skin, so they are easy-to-peel and there are no seeds. I’m all for a fruit that makes it easier for me to eat healthy. And, yes, it was delicious. You have to go down to Whole Foods and pick one up.

So, what did we learn here? It’s that people are comfortable with paying premium prices, as long as the products they buy are truly high quality. That’s what we have always been about at Steiner Sports. Our business is predicated on value and enhancing the quality of products and experiences that we offer to customers.

So, what’s your milkshake, or your Sumo orange? What brings the “Wow!” from your customers? If you’re a consumer, what brings the “Wow!”  out of you?

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