Four Balinese marketing secrets

Franziska Iseli-Hall, co-founder and director at Basic Bananas has been to Bali and brought back marketing tips based on practices that make the island's tourism businesses so successful.

It seems that half of Australia is in Bali at the moment so I thought I’d write about some of my observations I made while in Bali. Motorbikes beeping, crowded streets, tanned tourists, Indonesians balancing heavy loads on their heads, street shops selling colourful sarongs, flavours of the Indonesian cuisine, music busting from bars, the heat, banana pancakes and fresh fruit juice, epic waves… Sounds familiar?

It takes no time to adjust to Bali’s ‘tourist vibe’ with a Bintang in one hand and rupiahs in the other, sun screen all over your face, talking to a Balinese guy trying to sell you DVDs with funny subtitles. Everybody loves Bali. But why?

Famous for its beautiful people, smiles and excellent ‘customer service’, Bali manages to attract tourists to come back year after year. If you could replicate this for your business, you would attract more clients, get them to keep coming back and rave about you.

So let’s have a look at what we can learn from Balinese people:

The experience: What experience are you creating for your clients? Nowadays with so much competition, we often choose a provider based on our experience with them. Ask your current clients about their experience with you and how you can make it even better. Could you offer complimentary coffee or tea and healthy muffins or put beautiful flowers or fresh fruit in the waiting room, let your client choose relaxing music, have beautiful furniture? Whatever it is that adds to your client’s experience.

Balinese people are great at providing their tourists with a fabulous experience and every detail is often looked after.

1. It’s just easy: In Bali things are just easy for tourists, you can get a motorbike and explore different places (make sure you wear a helmetJ) or get a driver. There are uncountable restaurants and street vendors with delicious food to choose from and you can find hotels at any price range. It’s just easy.
Is it easy to do business with you? Is it easy to book in an appointment with you or to get an answer to an email within a reasonable time frame? Is it easy for your clients to reach you by phone if necessary? Is it easy to pay you for your services, do you have multiple paying options, do you offer payment plans? How can you make doing business with you even easier?

2. Three lollies go a long way: When we bought some snacks and drinks in a little local Balinese shop, the shop lady handed us three lollies with the change we got back. Do you think we went back to her shop instead of the million other shops in her street? You bet, and not only because of the lollies (although they were quite delicious), but because of her appreciation of our ‘business’. What do you do to show your clients that you appreciate them? Get this and you’ll have return clients any time.

3. Up-selling: Balinese people can really teach us something when it comes to up-selling. They not only provide you with accommodation, food and drinks, they also sell you massages, sarongs, home made craft every day, it’s hard to resist.

How do you up-sell in your business? Do you have an additional service or product your clients could benefit from? If so, do you let them know that it is available to them? Often clients are all too happy to buy more from you if you give them an excellent service. Just ask.

4. Smile: It really stands out that a lot of Balinese people have a huge smile on their face (unless you don’t want to buy their goods). Do you have a smile for your clients? Do you mean it? If not, maybe you are in the wrong profession. A ‘real’ smile has more impact than you would ever think. And according to some research, smiling is even good for your health, double benefit, let’s smile more often!

Franziska Iseli-Hall, co-founder and director at Basic Bananas.

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