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What’s in your wallet?

A story about discretionary income


If you watch television, you have likely heard this expression. It is the closing line in the Capital advertisements for their credit card. Seeing the advertisement recently, I listened to it in a different light that I would like to share with you.

Think about all those that can do business with you. Whether you are a manufacturer, wholesaler, or a shop, think about these individuals. What is in their wallet? The answer is discretionary income; that is what we get from most of our customers. With the exception of the customer that restores cars for the intent of reselling them, every other end user of what you sell is making their purchases with discretionary income.

Selling to discretionary income is different from selling to the essentials. You have to remember what brought you that customer initially; it was something they rode in or saw that gave that person a feeling they wanted to continue to have. Because it is discretionary income, the competition is different. While many will see the competition as the shop down the street or the online business that seems to have everything at a lower prince, the competition is different for discretionary income.

That’s the challenge with discretionary income spending. The customer’s interest can potentially waver or even disappear. That car they bought to restore could be sitting in the garage with a tarp over it because the individual is too busy to work on it as they train for a triathlon, or they have golfing buddies that want to play every Saturday.

Granted, a big concern is getting the customer to part with their money as they shop. The bigger issue is getting the customer to decide this is where they want to spend their discretionary income on. With challenges come opportunities for those who work to see a solution. The opportunity for an individual business is to be proactive in keeping a customer’s interest alive and well.

Envision a business that stays in constant contact with every customer to see that they are maintaining and growing that passion for a restored car that first attracted them. The responsibility is also to see that the customer’s discretionary income does not move to some other passion. This same business has a wonderful opportunity to take customers from another business that does not properly care for their customers.

The ‘brick and mortar’ business would do well to listen to the message from the president of Amazon who said that their online store could never match the occasion where a customer can enjoy a cup of coffee, sit in a comfortable chair, and feel the pages of a book in their hands. Change the situation from a book to a car and the lesson still applies and the comparison to an online business.

The responsibility for the manufacturers and wholesalers within the industry to help all shops to develop their own unique ways of touching their customers and getting that discretionary income that is in their wallets.

The Capital One commercial can be seen two ways. The first is to ask, “What’s in your wallet?” and remember the information that has just been shared. The second is by taking giving a twist to that same line and asking you, “What’s in your customer’s garage?”

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179