Free Coffee!

I apologise if you clicked on this article because you thought you were going to get free coffee. But that just further illustrates my point! What point? Well, you will have to keep reading to find out . . .


At the top of my street are two units which were just sold in the last week. They are both part of the same complex and have very similar floor plans. The first unit was passed in at auction and later sold for $610,000. The second unit sold during the auction for $755,000.

The two properties are literally right next to each other and almost identical in layout. The second unit had recently undergone a simple kitchen and bathroom renovation. Yet this renovation did not warrant a difference of $145,000 between them and the auctions were only a week apart. Now there were probably many contributing factors to these drastically different prices, but the most important factor was a simple cup of coffee.

I am sure that you have all been to an open house at some point. And upon entering the house you are greeted by an eager real estate agent desperate to get your phone number – Not in the ‘Have a drink with me’-way but more the ‘I’m going to ring you later . . .  and inquire if you are looking to sell your house’-way.

Every person who went to the open house for the second unit and didn’t leave a fake name and number received a text the morning of the auction explaining that free coffee would be available. Now, Melbourne may be the most liveable city in the world, but the one thing that is keeping it liveable is the excessive amount of coffee that it consumes. So anywhere that provides free (barista-made) coffee attracts Melbournians like bees to honey.

So what happened at the auction?

Almost every resident in the street where the auction was taking place and many residents from streets either side had turned up for their free coffee and the entertainment of watching the auction. None of these people were going to bid on the property but that didn’t matter. To any potential bidder, it appeared as though they were going to have lots of competition for this unit. And that means their drive to win the bidding war increases because everyone else appears to want it!

Clever, huh?

The same principle applies to any product or service – and especially the performing arts. When you are launching a new production you could hold the launch in a secluded area and only invite the important people who are probably already going to buy tickets. Or you could hold it in the middle of your city’s busiest consumer hub on Saturday at lunchtime and get anybody and everybody stopping by to see what is happening. And there is your crowd which pushes potential consumers over the edge as they get caught up in the excitement and decide it is worthwhile going to see this show because it can capture the attention of so many people!

Or, of course, you could just provide free coffee . . .