Mickey Mouse Has a $36 Billion Dollar ‘Secret’

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Author: Troy White

Troy White is a top marketing coach, consultant & direct response copywriter based in Calgary, Canada. He has a powerful approach to growing small businesses and entrepreneurial run ventures on a budget. His free Cash Flow Surges blog shares tons of great strategies at his main blog.

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great break and are raring to go in 2012 with your new marketing plans.
Over the holidays, we spent a few days at Disneyland in California.

It took 30 minutes just to get to the point where I could hand over my $600 for the 4 of us. That bought us a 2 day park-hopper pass, so we could go to either Disneyland or California Adventure, located right next to each other. Hundreds of other people were in the line-ups behind me eager to hand over their money too. In an average day at Disneyland, well over 125,000 people will cough up their money at the gates as well. Not a bad way to go, just to get in the park. And they were running at full capacity during the holidays… while we all were immersed in a nasty recession.

My twin 9 year old daughters were bouncing off the walls. It was their first time, and my first time in a few decades.

One of the first things I noticed was the impact the recession had on Disney… or not.

The line-ups began at 8 am, just to go through the security tent where they searched people’s bags. Then the next line-up was to pay to get in the gates.

It took 30 minutes just to get to the point where I could hand over my $600 for the 4 of us.

That bought us a 2 day park-hopper pass, so we could go to either Disneyland or California Adventure, located right next to each other. Hundreds of other people were in the line-ups behind me eager to hand over their money too.

In an average day at Disneyland, well over 125,000 people will cough up their money at the gates as well. Not a bad way to go, just to get in the park. And they were running at full capacity during the holidays… while we all were immersed in a nasty recession.

Mickey’s Lesson #1: Charge the big bucks, and don’t discount just because everyone else does!

My parents were with us at Disney and they too had to pay full price at the gates.

No senior discounts.

No discounts for just walking the park without going on the rides.

Full price, for everyone.

While in line to pay, I heard one guy trying every possible way in the book to get a deal… from seniors discounts… to pulling the “investor” angle… to asking if he could buy a “corporate” pass instead of an individual one.

The gal at the window just politely kept telling him no to each of his requests. He never turned away ranting and raving about this, he just handed over his Amex for his full-price tab (he even looked happy about it… maybe he got the lesson too).

Now we are through the gates! And my kids facing turned to frowns as we started walking. “This is NOT what I thought Disney was!” Hailey mumbled to me.

She was referring to Downtown Disney you have to walk through to get to the actual rides.

Dozens of stores line the road, and you have no choice but to walk past all the stores to get anywhere near a ride. Right out of the gate, you are subtly being trained to buy things. From the massive Disney Store, to the quaint little shops to get your customized Mickey Mouse ear hats, there was already a great selection of places you can spend more money.

Mickey’s Lesson #2: Once you have charged them the big bucks, offer them more items to purchase right away.

The $30 mouse ears price tag doesn’t nearly seem as high after dropping $600!

Walt Disney himself mastered the art of cross selling (buying the Park Hopper pass instead of a single park pass), down selling (downtown Disney was packed with tastefully done stores that had every possible kind of knick-knack you could ever want), and upselling (if you want to stay at THE best hotel possible, their Grand California Hotel and Spa will gladly take your $1,897.04 for 2 nights accommodation (they throw in the Park Hopper passes with your accommodations though).

$300 more for a room with a view of the park.

$1,400 more for 2 nights in their One Bedroom Artisan Suite.

The key?

Make it seamless.

One store connects to the next.

One theme feeds into the next.

By the time you make it through the gates, through downtown, you are out of pocket a grand, minimum.

And people lining up for the pleasure to do this…

…because they aren’t here to buy things.

Mickey’s Lesson #3: The reason Disney has become a 36 Billion Dollar Empire is that they are the absolute MASTERS at selling the experience. Once you step inside their park, you are in their world now, and they will give you something you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

In the Disney world, fantasy IS reality. And their fantasy world is incredible. If you could close your eyes as a kid and step into the most incredible world imaginable, Disney is it.

Seeing Goofy off to the side doing what he does best…. goofing around with the kids.

Getting your picture taken with Mickey.

Having Mr Incredible Flex his muscles for you while he signs your autograph book (which is for sale, by the way, for only $8). Seeing princesses, Muppets, parades, and ohhhhhhhh the rides! The Disney experience is unmatched.

Having Mr Incredible Flex his muscles for you while he signs your autograph book (which is for sale, by the way, for only $8).

Seeing princesses, Muppets, parades, and ohhhhhhhh the rides!

The Disney experience is unmatched.

My dad was walking beside me and asked if I thought they had made chewing gum illegal because there wasn’t a single bit of gum to be seen on the sidewalks.

I saw why one day when a piece of gum was spotted by one of their actors (each employee there is a part of the experience). He had his backpack and trolley at his side while he scraped up what he could of the gum. Then, after scraping up all that he could, he sprayed some form of liquid on it, then scrubbed it, leaving that spot on the sidewalk immaculate right alongside the rest of them.

Over a piece of gum!

Nothing is left to destroy the illusion of another world.

In the Disney World, everything is perfect.

Except for the line-ups.

Mickey’s Lesson #4: Make it as easy as you can to get people experiencing as much as possible of your world.

They have implemented the Fast Pass system to help you get in as many rides as possible.

The rides with the greatest wait times have Fast Pass capability. You go up to these little machines, insert your day pass, and out spits your Fast Pass.

Having this little Fast Pass card lets you skip the main line-up… but you can only use it in certain designated time slots.

So, if you get a Fast Pass for Pirates of The Caribbean (awesome ride) at 10, you may not be able to use it until the 2-3 pm time slot.

But that means you can go take in a bunch of other rides with shorter wait times, and then know for a fact that at 2:00 you can skip the one hour wait at the Pirates ride and go right up to the near front of line (you still wait… but only for 5-10 minutes, instead of 60 minutes).

Great system… if you know how to use it and are organized enough to know which rides you want to do when… and you plan your day around it.

The point is that it does allow you to get in more rides and experience more of their world.

Why is this important?

Mickey’s Lesson #5: Once you have in your world, make sure you give them ample ways to remember it after they leave.

This is especially important when selling a service or experience like this.

After every single ride, you exit the ride and are presented with an opportunity to buy a picture ($20) of you on the ride. They have strategically placed cameras that take a snap shot of you at the best parts (usually when you are screaming or going real fast).

You will gladly share your experiences at the park, and will do everything in your power to build it up to be the most incredible adventure you have ever taken. It helps justify what you spent… and it definitely helps sell the Disney world to your friends and family. The more you help your buyers remember the experience and give good stories they can tell their friends and family, the easier it becomes to sell others on the experience. Question for you: There are 5 critically important points I just made here. I have about 30 others I learned there that I will also share later.

Lots of people now have camera phones so they are opting to take a photo of the tv screen showing your picture, but lots of people were lining up to pay the $20 for a single photo in hard copy).

The key is though that you get lots of pictures of your experience at the park. You will show it to friends and family. You will post them on Facebook, or use them in articles :)

You will gladly share your experiences at the park, and will do everything in your power to build it up to be the most incredible adventure you have ever taken.

It helps justify what you spent… and it definitely helps sell the Disney world to your friends and family.

The more you help your buyers remember the experience and give good stories they can tell their friends and family, the easier it becomes to sell others on the experience.

Question for you: There are 5 critically important points I just made here. I have about 30 others I learned there that I will also share later.

For now though, how can you use these in YOUR business?

1. How can you charge the big bucks for your products and services, without worrying about competition or price resistance?

Are you offering enough high ticket items or bundles? If not, who could you partner with that can offer other products and services you could bundle with your own?

Yes, you need low ticket items too – but you MUST have some high ticket, high priced, high value products, services and experiences you could create.

Remember the Million Dollar Lobster story I have shared here before?

If not, do a search for it.

Those 2 brothers created a million dollar empire selling commodity type products because they realized that the top of the market wanted more than a lobster dinner… they wanted bragging rights and a GREAT story their could share with their dinner guests.

They sold an experience in an industry that had never seen such a thing… and built a million dollar empire in a few months.

They found a way to take a $10 commodity item, and turn it into a $3,000 membership.

How could you do this?

1. Do you have enough products or services you are offering them right from the beginning?

You may already know about offering more than one product or service.

But are you letting your brand new buyers know what you have to offer?

Soon enough?

Not months from date of their first purchase… but right after. Give them ways to know and understand who you are and what ALL you can offer them.

NEVER assume that they know… they don’t.

It is your responsibility to make sure you give them enough education about you, your business, your offerings, and your differences on what makes you the one to buy from.

Do you have system in place to walk them through your complete product/service portfolio?

With a new year upon us, NOW is the time to start.

Create your offer plan and make sure every new and old customer has multiple chances to see it.

1. How can you become an absolute MASTER at selling the experience you offer?

This is not something that is natural for entrepreneurs. If it was, Disney wouldn’t be the biggest and best at it… they would have a ton of competitors all as successful as they are.

Selling the experience is something we ALL need to work more diligently at.

Most buying experiences are not an experience at all.

Rather a simple transaction that happens and is done with… for good.

Or, in the internet marketing space, you buy a product and get HAMMERED with emails once or twice a day offering you the next magic bullet.

That is NOT an experience!

That is an insult.

A real experience leaves them wanting more.

Leaves them jumping up and down to share their stories with their friends.

Has them sharing their photos with everyone.

And is not to be found in your industry… yet.

How can YOU become the master at selling an experience in your niche, unlike anything anyone has ever done before?

1. Are you giving them enough ways to fast track their experience with you?

Are you offering them samples of your other products or services?

Are you giving them a free trial of your new membership program?

Are you making it easy for first time buyers to feel like experienced buyers?

Are you giving them the chance to step inside your world and look around quickly and easily to all you can offer?

Disney has a park map they give away. It shows you everything you can do… and the exact paths that take you through the experience.

Are you making it easy enough for people to see in a visual way what you can do for them and what they should be looking forward to?

1. Are you giving them ample ways to remember you after they leave or buy?

Not by inundating them with more junk emails.

Have you found ways to increase the perceived value of what you provide?

Disney gives you ample opportunities to take photos with Mickey, Goofy, and 100 other characters. Those photos will go in photo albums and remembered for years, decades to come. And other people who see them wish they had memorabilia like that as well.

How can you make it easier for your clients to remember you, to tell the stories about their experiences with you, or to give them such and incredible experience that they can’t wait to come back again… credit cards in hand?

I am not saying the answers to these questions are easy. But they ARE important.

Plus, with a brand new year in front of us, now is the PERFECT time to figure it out.

I will share more of the lessons I learned from the $36 Billion Dollar Mouse next week.

Till then…

To your success, Troy White PS: Discover how to make your cash flow surge with the street smart marketing tools at my blog http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com You also get one of my favorite case studies of marketing done exceptionally well, The Million Dollar Lobster Report when you sign up for updates on my blog. Discover how two young twenty-something year old brothers turned a simple lobster sale into a million dollar business in just 3 months! http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com

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