The “beef gristle fix” for jaded markets
I love me some beef.
Flank steak. Sirloin. Jerky.
If it mooed, I’ll eat it.
Now whenever possible I want my cows grass fed, organic, and hormone-free.
And a couple years back I found a place online that will ship this stuff to your door at a reasonable price.
I got in the habit of stuffing my chest freezer every few months with 1 lb. bricks of melts-in-your-mouth 85% ground beef.
Then one day I cooked up a couple of pounds of beef from the latest shipment to make some chili. And when I took my first bite…
I just about broke a tooth on a pea-sized hunk of gristle.
Well, that’s revolting, I thought.
I shrugged and took another bite.
An even bigger piece.
I picked through the chili and found dozens of these nasty bits of cartilage—and even a splinter of bone.
The chili went down the garbage disposal, and I grabbed another pack of beef.
Same problem. Great, now I have a freezer full of inedible meat.
I contacted the company, and they fell all over themselves apologizing and replaced my order with a shipment from a new production run.
Which had the same problem.
Apparently the shop that did the grinding for this company was having quality control issues.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d been ordering from this company for more than a year and suddenly all their ground beef was garbage.
They gave me a refund, and I settled for buying my beef at Costco.
Recently I got a coupon from my old supplier, and I thought:
Surely they’ve worked out the kinks by now…
Thank goodness for customer reviews.
Every month or two for the last 8 months a furious customer left a 1-star review complaining about the exact same problem I had.
The company handled these complaints well—they acknowledged the problem, apologized and claimed that they’d finally resolved the issue…
By the time I’d read the third or fourth review like this, I’m thinking, “Yeah, I’ve been disappointed too many times. I’m never going to order from them again.”
And then I read something that totally flipped my attitude.
In just a couple of quick sentences, I’m no longer a jaded former customer.
Now I’m eagerly looking forward to ordering from them again in the next few weeks.
Here’s what they said:
“On a good note, within the next six months, we should be processing and shipping from our own facility. We look forward to future batches being back to the usual quality we’ve come to expect. To avoid more disappointment with the ground beef in the near future, we advise waiting until we are in control of our own processing.”
In copywriting lingo, what they did was create a new “mechanism.”
This is a technique taught by ad master Eugene Schwartz in “Breakthrough Advertising.”
When you’re dealing with a cynical market—a group of people that have had their hopes raised over and over only to see them crash back to the ground…
One way to cut through the skepticism is to emphasize something about your product that makes it different from everything else they’ve tried.
Do this right and you can flip your prospect from “Yeah, I’ve heard that before” to “Hmmm, this just might work.”
You see this a lot in hyper-saturated, hyper-competitive markets like fitness and weight loss. (Shakeweights, anyone?)
What the meat company did is point out the reason why they’d shipped me lousy beef in the past.
And then they demonstrated that they’d taken drastic steps to prevent the issue from occurring again.
I’m convinced that “this time will be different.”
And once they announce that they’ve completed the move, I’ll be first in line to order.
Changing the mechanism can help you grab the attention of cynical customers—and grab sales from your clueless competitors.
Get Schwartz’s full take on this here: