Episode #028: The Experience Economy with Joseph Pine

In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:

Joseph Pine, co-author of The Experience Economy, discusses the importance of delighting your customer.  As salesperson you need to understand that your customer isn’t just buying an item, they’re buying the experience.  It doesn’t have to be something big, just something that’s different.



Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:

[2:18] Quote of the Day

[6:41] Sales Tip of the Day

[10:34] Seeing the growth of technology

[11:46] The commoditization of goods and services

[13:49] Staging experiences is about engaging customers

[19:35] Organizational versus individuals creating experiences

[22:51] Mass customization

[25:00] Work is theater

[33;26] Motivational Summary

More about our guest Joseph Pine:

Joseph Pine II, is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and management advisor. Joe has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at TED in California, and earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Joe specializes in helping people see the world of business differently through his many ground-breaking books, beginning with the award-winning Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition and including Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want and most recently Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier.

He’s probably most well-known for his best-selling book The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage, which recently was named one of the 100 best business books of all time by 800CEOread.


Links from today’s podcast:

Homestreet Bank

Joseph Pine’s website


The Experience Economy, Updated Edition

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Read Full Transcript

Jeff: Your customer is no longer content simply with goods and services. If you wanna play in the big leagues, you need to enter the experience economy. We’ll show you how on today’s episode of The Buyer’s Mind.

Announcer: Welcome to The Buyer’s Mind, where we take a closer look deep inside your customer’s decision-making mechanism to reverse engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.

Jeff: Well, welcome to the podcast, everybody. We’re here at The Buyer’s Mind, where we investigate exactly what’s going on in the minds of prospects who are considering a purchase decision. That’s what this podcast is all about. It’s about taking a stroll through the buyer’s brain, really figuring out how they think and what’s going on. I look at it from this perspective. If I understand the way that a buyer wants to buy, then I can reverse engineer my sales presentation to make it easy for them to do that. And that’s really what we wanna do. We wanna partner with our customer to make it easy for them to buy. We make it easiest when we understand them.

I am your host, Jeff Shore. You can read the full bio in the show notes or you can visit jeffshore.com. And while you’re there you can check out our full selection of books. We’ve got six of them for you. You can also find those on amazon.com. Welcome our show producer, Paul Murphy. How is it going today, Murph?

Paul: Things are going very well. Things are okay for you?

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, fantastic. I’m having fun. I get to talk to a hero today so it’s all good. Let me ask you a question, Murph. As a consumer, to you what is the difference between a purchase transaction and a consumer experience?

Paul: Well, I think it’s the difference between going into an Apple store and going into a Walmart. They’re both an experience but one is a little more of an enjoyable experience that you actually have fun with. So that’s what I would equate with the Apple store versus going to Walmart.

Jeff: Well, I’ll tell you, one of the things that you bring up–and we’re gonna hear about that in our interview here in just a little while–is the concept of immersion. When you are fully immersed as a consumer, it is much more of an experience. If you’re just walking through and you’re on your own, there’s no immersion to that. So the more our customers feel like they were immersed in the process, the better off that we are.

Well, let’s jump in here. I wanna start with our quote of the day. And I offer this actually quite frequently when I’m talking to clients but I really want you to internalize this idea. “Great experiences are future stories.” “Great experiences are future stories.” By the way, bad experiences are also future stories. You see, a simple transaction is not story-worthy. Murph was just talking about going to Walmart. Murph, I’m going to assume that after your average trip to Walmart, you don’t pick up the phone and tell people about it.

Paul: Not usually. And you bring up a good point about bad experiences but can I share one?

Jeff: Sure, please. Yeah, yeah.

Paul: So I had an early morning flight one time and got to the airport really, really early. So it was 6 a.m. flight. Ran, got to the gate, barely made it. They were announcing last call. Got onto the plane and ended up in Charlotte, North Carolina when I was flying to Los Angeles.

Jeff: I travel all the time, I don’t know how that happens.

Paul: I don’t know how it happened either. It was after 9/11 so you figure how this is impossible, but it happened.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, wow, wow, wow, that’s crazy. Well, and there you got a story about it. And I’ll just share a quick story with you. I had bought a pair of slacks. I was getting them hemmed and I said, “You’re gonna put a cuff on those?” And my tailor, she’s Russian. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to pull off a Russian accent, but I’ll try. But she looks at me and she says, “No, no cuff.” And she was, like, very adamant about it and like, I said, “Okay, why not.” She goes, “No pleat.” So the pants were flat-paneled, there is no pleat. She goes, “No pleat, no cuff. I don’t put cuff where there is no pleat.” She goes, “My job make you look not stupid.” That’s what she said. “My job make you look not stupid.” It was awesome, I love it. Because really that’s…I mean, at the end of the day, you don’t have to…in her case, it wasn’t like she was the friendliest, most glowing person ever. But man did she have my back and that’s just such a story. So what happens? Great experiences are great stories. A simple transaction is not story worthy. It must be an experience. And you know you are providing a true experience when people repeat the story.

So just think about how many vacation stories that you have told in your lifetime. And I can promise you when you tell a vacation story, it usually does not start with, “Well, the mattress on our hotel room was medium firm.” No, that’s not the way it goes. We talk about, you know, my wife and I being at a restaurant called Chez Papa in Paris. It was a jazz club restaurant and we were talking to the owner-son who was waiting on our table and he was great. And we had a wonderful conversation. And he took us in and he showed us the painting on the wall that Joan Baez had done. And he had a picture of him with Joe Cocker who had done a private concert over there. And he had been to San Francisco once and I was raised in San Francisco, so we had a great conversation. And by the time we were done, the owner-son is sitting at the table with us having a glass of wine. And the owner was there too. It was fantastic. It was great.

But on the other hand, just fly United Airlines one time, right? They’re a story machine and for all the wrong reasons. So remember, great experiences are future stories, bad experiences are also future stories. And I just wanna challenge you. What stories do you want your customers to tell? I mean, really think about it from that side. Go figure out, what are the stories that I want my customers to tell? And then create the experience that will spur those very stories. And if you’re not sure how to do that, stick around because have we got an interview for you.

Well, we wanna let you know that the podcast is brought to you in part by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank. We love these guys. And not just because they’re our show sponsor but because they’re my lender. I used HomeStreet at my last home purchase. It was an incredibly smooth transaction. They were professional, they were dependable, great rates, fantastic services, really good people. And if you’re a real estate professional, you’re just not gonna find better people to work with in taking care of your clients. So whether it’s banking, home loans, credit lines, you name it, go to homestreetbank.com, you can learn more. That’s homestreetbank.com.

All right, let me give you our tip of the day before we get to our interview. And our tip today is to find the tiny touch points. Find the tiny touch points. So when we wanna think about great experiences, sometimes it’s those little extras, those little tiny things that we do that will make a huge difference. Now, I’ll give you one example, although I’ve fallen out of love with the example and I’ll tell you why. But it was years ago, many years ago, buying something out of Nordstrom and having that Nordstrom clerk come around the counter to hand me my purchase rather than just shove it across the counter. I thought that was cool, I thought that was classy, I thought that was great. Until it became hackneyed because then every single company that have a store that I went to felt the need. I’m buying a pack of gum, they had to walk it around the counter and give it to you. So after a while, it wasn’t that special. But early on, I remember how I felt. Now, here’s the thing. This is a tiny touch point. It was not that big of a deal.

I’ll give you another example. You know how the flight attendant says, “Bye-bye. Thank you. Bye-bye, bye-bye, bye-bye now, bye-bye. Have a good day.” Okay, well, that’s all well and good. They do it every day, that’s part of their job. But what about the Southwest pilot who came out and stood next to her and thanked…that’s not part of his job description. He did it from the heart and it made all the difference in the world. So we wanna look for these tiny little touch points in your presentation.

When you have a big decision that your customer is making because they’re spending a lot of money, why not snap a picture of your customer with the product at the moment they say yes? Snap a picture of them at the time that they are happiest and encourage them to put it on their Facebook page. Look, there are all kinds of tiny touch points but look for those opportunities where you can enhance the experience even with the smallest matters of touch.

All right. Hey, you know one of the great things about this podcast that I’ve really enjoyed is have you ever read a great book and thought, “Oh, I’d love to talk to the author and really get a sense of what the author is thinking?” Well, I have to tell you, that’s the opportunity that I have today. I read “The Experience Economy” when it first came out way back when in…right around the turn of the century here. And I was enamored with that book. It is one of the most highlighted books in my library. I’ve recommended it over and over again and cited it quite a bit.

Joe Pine is the co-author, along with James Gilmore, of “The Experience Economy.” Joe Pine is a very accomplished speaker, author, authority on the idea of what customers want. And he’s written several books that we could talk about. Today we’re gonna talk about “The Experience Economy.” But you may have seen him perhaps on the original TED conference, the World Economic Forum, the Consumer Electronics Show. He speaks all over the world, and he is cited in publications everywhere. One of the primary thinkers on the idea of building great experiences. It’s a thrill to welcome Joe Pine. Joe, how are you?

Joe: I’m doing very well, Jeff. Thanks for having me on.

Jeff: Hey, I’m excited, I really am. This is gonna be a lot of fun. Let’s start here right from the very beginning here as we think about “The Experience Economy.” If you could just give us kind of the 10,000-foot flyover of the evolution from, you know, a manufacturing economy, goods, and services economy to an experience economy.

Joe: Well, you just sort of did that, Jeff.

Jeff: Sorry, sorry.

Joe: You start with the agrarian economy. The agrarian economy that lasts for a millennia, then we shifted into industrial economy based off of goods, and then into a service economy in the latter half of the 20th century. Today, we’re shifting into an experience economy, an economy where experiences are in fact becoming the predominant economic offering. That what consumers or even business people want is an experience. They want a memorable event that engages them in an inherently personal way.

Jeff: You know it’s really interesting that you wrote this book, this came out in 1999 if I’m not mistaken. So we were in the very early days of the very rampant growth in technology. The World Wide Web was sort of just getting started at the time and you wrote back in 1999, “New technology has encouraged whole new genres of experience, such as interactive games, worldwide websites, motion-based attractions, 3D movies, virtual reality.” You were talking about this stuff long before it was trendy. Did you have any idea? Was there any guesswork that you were doing or did you really see this coming? Because I’ve gotta tell you, Joe, you nailed it. You’ve got it figured out.

Joe: Thank you. Well, it comes from the fact that I do have a technology background. You know, I’ve worked with computers since the 60s. I worked for IBM for 13 years, and I did understand that new technologies would, in fact, bring about new ways of experience to the world, whether in the real world or whether in the virtual world. And in fact, wrote a whole book, “Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier,” just to outline all the ways that we can, in fact, use digital technology to fuse the real and the virtual.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s interesting, when we look at the…I’m of the opinion that the internet is the single greatest revolutionary invention of my lifetime here. But you say something very interesting in the book that the internet is the greatest force of commoditization that’s ever known to man. And so there’s sort of a dark side as it relates to building experiences. Is it harder or easier to build experiences in the internet age?

Joe: Yeah, the internet is this huge, huge force, as you say, and it giveth and it taketh away. It enables us to create great experiences, enables us to connect with individual customers no matter where they are in the world on an instantaneous basis. But it also does, in fact, commoditize our businesses, because a frictionless marketplace means that customers can instantly compare prices from one vendor to another and it will tend to shift them down to the lowest possible price. And that’s why first goods and then services became commoditized and it’s why companies need to shift up this progression of economic value, as I talk about it, to staging experiences. And then use the technology to be able to do that.

Jeff: So it’s safe to say that the internet itself is not an experience, it’s just the enabler of great experiences. I’m thinking about, you know, my wife and I use Sun Basket, sort of a Blue Apron type of thing where they, you know, deliver the meals to our house that are already pre-measured and we don’t have to go to the store anymore. We love cooking different things but maybe we’re just not imaginative enough to try and come up with the recipes ourselves. That’s a perfect example to me of using the internet to be able to enable a great experience.

Joe: Right, right. It’s a tool and the question is how you use it. And in fact, that you can connect onto their website and/or through an app and be able to instantaneously order exactly what you want for them to deliver to your house means that you’ve taken all of the pain, all of the friction out of creating that wonderful meal for you and your wife.

Jeff: You say that staging experiences is not about entertaining customers, it’s about engaging customers. And this is a theme that you carry through the book quite a bit. I assume you carry it through the book because my guess is–and I’m reading between the lines, so correct me if I’m wrong here, Joe–but my guess is that you were looking at it and saying, “No, no, no, no, no, it’s not just about putting on a show, it’s about this process of immersion.” What is it about immersion that makes it so difficult such that so few companies really get this right?

Joe: It’s difficult because you have to choreograph, you have to orchestrate, you have to “stage,” is the primary word that we use, everything to be able to immerse your audience, to immerse your customers. You need to take control. When you think about going to, you know, Walt Disney World, where, you know, the moment you get off the highway, it’s like every blade of grass is manicured in a way to give you particular impressions and nothing is out of place. And that takes a lot of hard work to be able to do. So you need to think about how do you orchestrate at all to be able to create these distinctive impressions in each one of your customer’s mind that then create that overall immersive experience.

Jeff: So it starts with the impression but that somewhere along the line, this has to be participatory. It’s gotta be something that brings people in. Give us an example of what that would look like. You said Walt Disney World, are there other examples that jump out in your brain to say, “This is a great example of bringing a customer in to participate in the experience?”

Joe: The greatest retail experience that I think that I’ve seen in the last few years is actually Eataly. I don’t know if you’ve seen those. And they’ve got them in New York, Chicago. It’s actually an actual Italian company but Eataly, I think one of the greatest things ever is everything about Italian cooking. So you go in and you are immersed in a place with Italian cooking. They have all the appliances you could buy, they have all the utensils you could use, they have all of the foodstuffs that you could use to create your own meal. But then they have a café, they have several different restaurants, they have a cooking school. And all of that immerses you into the experience. You participate in creating that experience in reaction to all…you know, everything that they have presented for you. I mean, you walk into an Eataly and chances are you’re not gonna leave for several hours because of that experience.

Jeff: That sounds really extensive. How extensive does this need to be? I mean, do you have to go all in? Is there a legitimate thought of little mini experiences that companies can provide for their customers?

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, you can go way down to the exact opposite, as I’ll mention Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Pike Place Fish Market is…you know, they’re fish mongers. They go home smelling like fish. They have this fish stall that’s basically the same as everybody else but what do they do is they go through these wonderful routines. It’s basically street theater in a fish stall, where they engage you in your interactions with the fish with their signature moment where if anyone orders a fish, the worker shouts it out. Other workers shout it back, and then they throw that fish 15, 20 feet across the counter where somebody catches it and then wraps it up for you. And there’s often 20, 30, 40 people that are all milling around hoping somebody is gonna buy so that they can see that full experience.

Jeff: You know, I’ve been to the Pike Place Fish Market. I’ve been one of those people standing around waiting for somebody to buy a fish. And I guess it felt like a car wreck when you see if they actually drop that huge fish on the ground. But I do find it interesting because when you look at that, the experience at Pike Place Market is not a whole lot more than throwing fish. Other than that, it’s basically just a fish market, but that…

Joe: Exactly.

Jeff: …that little touch right there makes a big difference. But, you know, I’m just thinking about recently I was at a business lunch. And at the very end of the lunch, I had given her my credit card. She brings it back in a little portfolio that I’m supposed to sign. And at the last second, she takes the credit out of the portfolio and hands it to me directly and says, “You don’t wanna forget this.” And I had never had that happen to me before but I asked her…it just sort of froze me in my tracks partially because I’m a former food server, right? I’m of the Order of the White Jacket. And I asked her, “Tell me why you did that?” And she said, “Well, have you ever left your credit card at a restaurant?” And immediately I went back to that memory of how horrifying it is to leave your credit card at a restaurant. And she said, “Well, we don’t want it either. We don’t know what to do with your credit card.” So it’s just a little step to make it. And I thought well, even right there, there’s just a little experience that causes me to tell the story even here on the podcast.

Joe: Well, that’s key. The fact that you tell a story means it created a memory. The fact that it created a memory means that you were in fact engaged. And that can happen at any level. You can have these micro moments like you go to a Macaroni Grill and your wait staff will take two crayons and write their name on the paper table cloth for you upside down, right? You go like, “Wow, I mean, that’s a really cool thing.” And there are many others. Well, you know, the fact that what I’m talking about also is something that can scale if you go from here is think of a company like the Geek Squad, where they understand that work is theater, that they’re all on stage. And so their costume, like geeks, with the white shirts, the ties are clip on, you know, just in case they caught in the printer. They drive around in their geek mobiles and they all have badges. You know, official titanium badges made by the same company that makes police badges that they can pull out and say, “Hi, I’m from the Geek Squad,” and then use that to create that theater that does engage you. Even in your own home, they’ll be able to do that. Not even in their own place.

Jeff: This is all sort of organizational experiences. Is there something about the culture though, within an organization, that would cause people to drive towards individual experiences or does this all have to be staged?

Joe: Well, you mean…by individual, you mean for the worker, as in what they do, you know, on the business stage?

Jeff: It’s my Uber driver in Santa Monica on Friday who when I get in the car says, “There’s a water bottle there, I’ve got gum if you need it, and I’ve also got a phone charger for both an iPhone and a Samsung. Otherwise, we’ll be there in 38 minutes.” You know, I’ve never gotten that type of spiel from a taxi before. So even just taking on that little bit of step is an experience for me.

Joe: Right, absolutely. And you know, in some case it is the entire culture of the organization. And Robert Stephens, when he founded the Geek Squad, he wanted to make that, you know, a particular culture. You know, one of the reasons he uses uniforms he says, “If you can’t wear this uniform with a straight face, you’re not a real geek.” And so it sets real geeks apart from those who might be faking it. But then Uber could be giving people enough room to basically be themselves and bring their own personality and figure out how they as an individual can uptick this experience in a way that is going to create greater value for the customer in the vehicle and then have them view it as time well spent, which is really key for an experience.

Jeff: You say something very provocative in the book. You say, “To turn a service into an experience, provide poor service.”

Joe: Well, then your customers will remember you, won’t they? Right? So, you know, that’s not the way you wanna do it. You wanna turn, you know, mundane interactions into engaging encounters by thinking about how do you create a positive experience and one that does, in fact, create that memory?

Jeff: I once said to somebody on my team that great experiences are future stories and he looked back at me and said, “Yeah, so are bad experiences.” And I think that’s what we’re looking at right here. But I think that that is a part of it. You wanna build a type of experience that your customer is going to want to tell. They’re gonna wanna repeat it over and over again.

I think about, you know, the…when a friend of mine bought an original iPhone, I mean, the first one that came out, and I remember saying to him, “You spent $700 for a phone?” And he said, “No, I didn’t. I spent $700 for a computer that fits in my pocket. And it makes phone calls by the way. Does your computer do that?” And, of course, the answer at the time was, “No, it does not.” So that’s the idea, right? We’re trying to find these great experiences that will lead to future stories because ultimately, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that whole sales force of people who’re gonna say, “Let me tell what happened here.”

Joe: Right, exactly. And the way they do that is to create drama, right? To find some way that you create a narrative that people find themselves in and then they’re gonna wanna tell that story. Hopefully to two friends, and they tell it to two friends, and so on and so on. And that’s the way to grow your business is through the stories that people tell based on the memories that they have that are predicated on the experiences that you engage them with.

Jeff: You wrote back in 1993, you wrote a book called “Mass Customization.” The Financial Times chose it as one of the seven best business books of 1993. You expand on the topic in “The Experience Economy.” When you think about mass customization, first of all, maybe you could define that for us but have your views on mass customization evolved in this day and age?

Joe: Yeah. Well, mass customization is basically efficiently serving customers uniquely. So how do you give every customer exactly what they want but do it at a price they’re willing to pay? So you have both the mass and the customization. And it’s in fact how I discovered the experience economy since I realized that mass customizing of good automatically turns into a service. What does it turn a service into? It turns it into an experience because you can’t help but make your customers go wow and turn it into that memorable event.

And I certainly thought, when I wrote the book in 1993, that we’d be much further along in understanding mass customization today. But there has been tremendous progress. There is continuing to be a force. You know, one of the best things is this year Carnival Corp. announced that they’re mass-customizing their cruise experience. You know, that every customer gets this little Ocean Medallion, right? It’s an IoT device that allows them to identify where you are and bring your favorite drink to you wherever you are, give you personal invitations for the experiences that fit your preferences. And you end up with your own mass customized experience onboard the ship, which is an amazing thing that more and more companies are going to have to do.

Jeff: I’m thinking about custom dress shirts where they teach you how to take your own measurements and then, you know, send it to you at a fraction of a price. Or if you prefer to spend a little more, they’ll send somebody out to take the measurements for you and actually stand in your closets and say, “Here are the holes in your wardrobe.” Does that fall under the category of mass customization?

Joe: Right, absolutely. And think about how memorable that’s gonna be, you know, to have somebody in the closet looking out and saying, “You know, what you really need is…”

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, right. Well, I certainly don’t know. I can tell you that. I wanna hit on one other thing here and that has to do with the idea of work as theater and the performance…

Joe: Not as theater, it is theater.

Jeff: I’m sorry.

Together: Work is theater.

Jeff: Thank you for the correction. It’s a valid correction right there. The whole idea of the performance aspect of what it is that we’re trying to do. Because I could sort of see somebody reading the book and taking that as something as an allegory. Somebody else reading the book and saying, “No, no, no, no, we’re gonna put on a damn show here.” So how did you…what did you have in mind when you wrote this?

Joe: Well, we just recognized that if you’re staging an experience…and think about that word “stage,” right? It’s a theater word. If you’re staging an experience then work has to be theater. That the actual experience, you know, happens inside of people. It’s the reaction to the events that are staged in front of them. And so basically they’re the audience of this experience and you have to be on stage. You know, it’s something that great salespeople have always known, right? They know they’re on when they’re in front of customers that they have to think about and again choreograph and orchestrate in stage all of the things that they do to create particular impressions and get them into their customers’ you know, offices first and then get them to buy from them. It’s all about the theater that they create. Where the product, whatever it is, whether it’s commodity, good, service or even another experience, the product is the star of the show.

Jeff: You know, it’s interesting. I was working…when I first read this, I was working with a home building company. And I challenged them with a question. And I couldn’t find it when I was just scouring through the book again but I challenged them with the question what if you had to charge people $5 to tour your model homes, to come in and tour your model homes? That’s a concept you bring out, right? Where it’s just what if you had to charge your customers just to go through your presentation?

Joe: Right, right, exactly. That’s the key because if your customer is willing to pay you for that then you know that you have created an actual experience. I know one B2B company that’s actually able to charge, you know, $10,000 or more to get people to come to its place, understand their business, and then give you a proposal at the end of it. Another company based in San Francisco, a men’s clothier called Wingtip. You know, that “Solutions for a Modern Gentleman.” They actually decided to create a club on two floors of the top building where they charge $200 a month membership fee to belong to the club. And if you belong to the club, you go through the store to get there, chances are you’re gonna buy from the store. You go to the store, you buy, chances are you’re gonna say, “I wanna check out the club.” And all of that creates demand for each other.

Jeff: Joe, let me ask you, did you have any idea when you wrote “The Experience Economy” that it would be the hit, the mega-hit that it was? That it would have this much…because this is a book that I have heard cited so many times over the years. Did you have any idea that it would have this kind of impact?

Joe: Well, frankly, I did.

Jeff: Yeah, good, good for you. That’s what I was hoping you were gonna say actually.

Joe: Right, yeah. Because, you know, what my partner Jim Gilmore and I identified is not a fad, it’s a fundamental change in the very fabric of the economy. That’s why almost 20 years after we wrote the book, we’re still talking about it, people are still discovering it. And we’re in fact shifting into this experience economy.

Jeff: So what happens next? Where do we grow from here in the experience economy?

Joe: Well, you know, one of the reasons we shifted to the experience economy is because goods and services become commoditized, so companies have gotta search for differentiation. So if the experience becomes commoditized, which is indicated by whenever people say, “Been there, done that,” right? That’s a commoditized experience. What happens then when you customize the experience? When you design an experience that’s so right for a person, that’s exactly what they need, then you can’t help but turn to what we often call a life-transforming experience. In other words, an experience that changes us in some way. And that’s a transformation.

And many businesses are in fact in the transformation business. When you think about healthcare, you think about education, you think about management consultants. And any sales person, right? If you think about what does…you know, whatever I’m selling is but a means to an end. And how do I give my customer the end? How do I get them to understand that if they buy this price they’ll get their aspiration achieved, whatever that might be? And that’s thinking about transformations.

Jeff: Yeah. And I have to imagine that the psychological rewards for you to see not just customers that are getting great experiences but the joy in granting a great experience as you hear the stories of people who put this into play. It’s gotta just be heartwarming to you.

Joe: It is amazing because, you know, you will hear about these stories of somebody who read the book and then they did this. In fact, Wingtip is that way. You know, the founder, Ami Arad, told me that he read our book as he was designing the place and got to the point in chapter three where we ask, “What would you do differently if we charged admission?” And that’s what he came up with. You know, and we get that all the time. So it’s very gratifying to see and we’re very glad that so many people have, you know, taken to the concepts and are implementing them in their businesses.

Jeff: That is just fantastic. Joe Pine wrote “The Experience Economy” and many other books with James Gilmore. You can learn more about Joe, you can follow him. Go to strategichorizons.com. We’re gonna put that in the show notes here but if you wanna follow Joe Pine. Also if you’re looking for a speaker for your next conference, an amazing speaker, you just heard first-hand the energy, excitement, and intelligence that he brings. Joe, I can’t thank you enough. That was amazing and dare I say, transformational. Thanks for being on the show.

Joe: Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff: Well, Murph, that was everything that I had hoped for and more. First of all, didn’t you just love Joe Pine’s energy?

Paul: He’s got great energy and amazing experience.

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I always gravitate towards people who are fulfilling their life mission and Joe Pine is clearly doing that. This is what he feels he was put on earth to accomplish and he’s doing it really, really well. I love what he said there right at the end, the idea of being in a transformational business. This is something we talk about at Shore Consulting quite a bit, the difference between a transaction and a transformation. And so many companies are in the business of transaction. At Shore Consulting, we really aspire–and we don’t always get it right–but we really aspire to the idea of being a transformational company. And I really appreciated the way that Joe Pine sort of challenged us all to think in transformational terms, right?

Paul: You know, for sure one of the things we’re doing is we’re looking to grow and expand. And so right now, our theme is normalize the extraordinary. Who says that in their business? Nobody says that in their business. So I think that’s one of those things that sets us apart and makes us transformational.

Jeff: Yeah. And as I’m thinking through just the different examples that he used, I thought that there were so many ways to be able to look at it and say, “Well, here’s something small that I could do right now. Here’s something grand that I could do right now.” And they both work. But there’s something about thinking experientially that really makes a profound difference. When I think, again, of the story of the Uber driver who just looks at me and says, “How can I make this a better experience?” And for me, it’s just a ride in a car from an airport to a meeting room. So that’s all I thought when I got into the car. So when the guy says, “Yeah, there’s a bottle of water in the back there, I’ve got gum if you need it and I’ve got two different phone chargers. We’re gonna be there in about 38 minutes. There’s a little of construction traffic on Lincoln but otherwise, relax. If you wanna chat, we’ll chat. And otherwise, you can get some work done.” And it was just so, right from the very beginning it was an experience.

And I think one of the things that I took away here, and I think Joe Pine says this very clearly in the book, is that we are surprised by great experiences. That is that we get these experiences and then we tend to look at it and go, “Wow, that really kind of shocked me right there. That was cool.” So there you go.

Paul: And when was the last time you experienced that in a taxi or on a bus or on a train?

Jeff: Yeah, right, it doesn’t happen. And it only took one person to take a little bit of an initiative. So really, really powerful. All right, there you have it. The great Joe Pine, great to have him on the show. Well listen, before we head into the wrap up I wanna just encourage you that companies that provide experiences rather than just goods or services, they’re just better companies. And you know why? Well, for one thing, they make more money. People will pay more for experiences than they will for goods or services. But companies that provide experiences rather than just goods and services also have happier, more delighted customers.

But there’s one more thing. It’s just way more fun to provide experiences than it is to simply provide goods and services. The team members enjoy it more. And if you’re on the front line, you enjoy it more. So if you’re on that front line, if you are a sales professional, and you are charged with delighting your customer, don’t wait for your company to plan an experience initiative. You do this. And I mean today. Find something small that you can do today to enhance the experience. Work that into your presentation and then enjoy how much fun you have with it. If you wanna stand out, here’s the idea. Don’t look like everybody else. Do things that other people are not willing to do. And sometimes the tiniest little touches will make all the difference in the world.

Well, listen, if you’re loving the podcast, we wanna make sure you’re subscribing. But, you know, this podcast grows more than anything by word of mouth. So if you wanna post on your Facebook page, really appreciate it. Tell your sales team at your next sales meeting how much you’re enjoying it. That would mean a lot to me. But that’s a wrap on today’s podcast. Hope you enjoyed The Buyer’s Mind. You can find everything you need at jeffshore.com. But until next time, go out there my friends and change someone’s world.

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About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore
Jeff Shore is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and consultant whose innovative and real-world selling strategies help you to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, "Closing 2.0," is now available. Learn more at jeffshore.com and follow Jeff on Facebook and LinkedIn.