I know prostitution is illegal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it. As you probably already know, it is known as the oldest business in the world. And because it has been around for such a long time, the profession has been optimized so much that you can actually learn a few things from it.
Location is everything
You don’t see prostitutes standing on every street corner, right? Of course not because not all locations are good for business. It’s the same reason why you don’t see a gas station or a McDonald’s on every block.
You need to figure out where your ideal clients are and try to place your business in the center. And even if you are a web based business, location is still important because your customers don’t live inside a computer… remember, they are actual people.
Location also doesn’t just have to be latitude and longitude coordinates, it could also be your search engine rankings on Google or an advertisement on an industry website.
Whatever it maybe, just make sure your business is in the best location.
You have to stand out from the crowd
What do you usually see next to a McDonald’s? You see Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway and other fast food joints, right?
Once you find a good location, your competitors will come and follow… it’s just a matter of time. There isn’t much you can do, other than to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Prostitutes also have this problem, which is why you usually just don’t see one of them. So if they want to be successful they have to stand out.
This is the reason companies try to provide exceptional customer service, offer discounts and promotions, and most importantly try and create a personal touch. It’s the small things that make a really big difference, so don’t lose sight of them.
For example, Zappos is the number 1 shoe retailer on the web because of their return policy. And although Google wasn’t the first search engine, they are the most popular because their search results are more relevant. And lastly, although Apple was once struggling, they are now doing really well because of their extremely useful and simple products.
Have a clear message
If prostitutes didn’t make it clear with their clothes and actions that you could pay them for sex, no one would ever know that they were for hire. If they looked and behaved like a nun while standing on a street corner, they would all be broke.
You can be selling the best product or service with your business, but unless you have a clear message, your upside potential is going to be limited. If messaging wasn’t important, it wouldn’t have a big impact on conversion rates.
If you are having trouble figuring out the right messaging for your business, consider surveying your customers. There is a reason why your satisfied customers are happy and why your unsatisfied customers are upset. You just have to figure out what makes customers happy and try to use messaging that appeals to those type of people so you can get more of them.
Tell your customers what they are buying
Prostitutes just don’t tell you that you can get sex for money. They tell you exactly what they are willing to do, the amount of time they’ll spend with you, and what it will cost you.
By being clear with your customers you are going to have a lot less complaints and returns. Deceiving them may make you a quick buck, but in the long run it will hurt your brand and cost you a lot more money.
Especially with social sites like Twitter and the blogosphere, it has never been easier for customers to complain about your company. And boy when they do complain, it can spread like a wild fire on the web.
Supply has to meet demand
Prostitutes are known to be masters of supply and demand. If they feel that a lot of people want their service, they jack up their rates. And if they feel very few people want their services, they’ll reduce their rates to increase demand.
If you have a ton of demand for your company’s product or service it may not be wise for you to increase supply. You maybe able to turn a higher profit if you increase your prices. And if you don’t have that great of a demand, it maybe wiser to reduce your prices so you can sell more units instead of decreasing your output.
It’s easier to upsell than it is to sell
A prostitute knows that once they have some of your money, it’s a lot easier for them to get more out of you. At this point, you have more than showed that you like the services they are providing you, which allows her to play off your emotions.
As a business your primary goal is to get new customers, right? Well if your existing customers are happy, why not try to upsell them? It’s a lot easier to get someone who has already paid you to give you more money than it is to get a random person to become your customer.
I personally feel upselling is so powerful that I try to dedicate at least 10 to 20% of my company’s effort into getting more money out of existing customers. And I don’t mean this in a bad way… by no means should you squeeze your customers. Instead you should figure out what other value added services or products you can provide them.
Account for the unexpected
You can’t account for everything… it’s just impossible. For this reason prostitutes tell their pimps where they are going to be and if they really want to be safe they carry pepper spray or taser.
Now you probably won’t have violence issues with your company, but you could have lawsuits. Always have cash on reserve for the unexpected because things will always go wrong. Even the most successful entrepreneurs make mistakes, you just have to be prepared for them. And if you aren’t, make sure you can adapt quickly.
Just because prostitution is illegal and looked down upon, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. Knowledge is everywhere… just like how a flight attendant taught me a few things about business.
So what do you think? Are there any other things we should be learning from prostitutes?