A Tale of 2 Sushi Restaurants: Copywriting Lessons I Learned from Dining Out

There’s a sushi restaurant on the other side of town that’s been my favorite for years. It’s not on the way to anywhere, so I haven’t eaten there in ages. But this was my moment.

I drove across the river. The view of the lush green foliage stretching across the blue, blue river… breathtaking. I truly live in the most beautiful place on earth.

I stopped to say hi to my mechanic, who assured me the warning light on my daughter’s beater car was not an emergency.

And then, sushi.

I built the moment up in my head. 

I was going to see the chef I like. He was going to remember me. (Unlikely, because I’m not a regular. But still, this is my imaginary world, so it works out.)

The staff was going to be amazing. Attentive, but not annoying.

And the food… well. Hopes were high.

I pull into the parking lot. All is well. Plenty of parking in the shade on this hot summer night.

I walk into the building. I’m warmly greeted at the door. That’s cool, but a bit suspicious. (Afterall, I live in New England. We’re not known for our effusive friendliness.)

My eyes slowly adjust to the dim light of the restaurant, and I realize… I’m the only customer.

The only one.

Just me.

Uh oh.

I try to read the menu. Who am I kidding? I don’t read menus.

I try a different strategy. 

I call the waitress over and say, “Here’s what I’d like to spend. Can you ask the chef to do something nice for me?”

She seems thrilled.

The food arrives. It’s good. Quite good.

And pretty. 

I take a picture.

I eat it all, but I’m still hungry.

Should I order more food?

At that exact moment, my attentive waitress arrives and hands me the bill. With the tip, it came within pennies of how much I wanted to spend.

I couldn’t think of what else to do.

So, I paid the bill and left.

Still hungry.

What to do?

I drive across town… again.

And pull into my regular sushi joint.

They know me in there.

The service is slow. (Really slow.)

But the food is amazing.

So, I ordered dinner all over again.

And I sat at that booth, until I was 1000% certain I couldn’t eat another bite.

Pure bliss.

What does any of this have to do with copywriting?

Copywriting is sales in print.

And we don’t have the luxury of being able to see the looks on our customers faces when we try to sell them something.

So, you have to rely on cues you get from other interactions you have in life… like going out for sushi.

Here’s what I learned from dining out at 2 sushi restaurants… back to back:

1- Be attentive, but not too attentive. If you give your customers a minute to think or a way to ask you questions, they may order more “food.”

2- Make offers. Let your customers know you’re there for them. And by all means, keep offering to sell them more stuff!

3- Remember that you’re in competition with other businesses who sell a similar product. So always sell the best product you can. And don’t lean on a reputation that you built years ago, especially if you haven’t kept fresh and new.

What to do now: If you’d like to know more about how a former 9th grade Algebra teacher helps multi-million-dollar businesses increase sales with simple “teach for action” techniques, then go to www.9BuyerSystem.com

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