April 10

An Empty Stomach in a Soda Shop

There’s a mom-and-pop soda shop in Los Angeles called Galco’s Soda Pop Stop.

You won’t find any Pepsi or Coke here. They have over 500 varieties of gourmet soda. And business is booming for them.

I love visiting places like this – they take a commodity like soda and transform it into an experience.

In addition to soda, they also sell a variety of candies, pastries, and sandwiches in their deli. While Kathy was busy checking out the sodas, my stomach led me over to the food.

And that’s when John floored me with his expertise in sales. I’d like to share two lessons from my experience with this guy.

As I was checking out their pastries, I noticed what looked to me like panettone – a delicious pastry-like bread that I love. John must have noticed me eyeing it up and swooped in to make the sale. He started by telling me about the different flavors and how this particular delicacy is actually called colomba.

His knowledge impressed me, but I was just window shopping. That’s when he pulled out a bag and asked me which flavor I wanted. I told him I was there with my wife and… then he interrupted me and said we’re not talking about your wife, we’re talking about you and what you want.

He had a point. He took the bull by the horns and commanded the sale. I respect that. So I chose the one I wanted and went on my way excited to dig into my freshly baked treat.

Controlling the conversation is a skill that can be incredibly powerful. That is lesson one.

So what about lesson two?

After I paid for my treat, I asked him why colomba looked so much like panettone. He told me they are essentially the same with a couple of small tweaks that allow them to market it differently depending on the season.

Although they are both made with flour, fresh eggs, butter, and natural yeast, colomba is an Easter dessert shaped like a dove (in Italian, colomba means dove) and is studded with candied orange peel while panettone is a round Christmas treat made with raisins.

And the cool thing is the bakery created a complete backstory for each one.

What a marketing genius! It’s the same pastry, just different names depending on when it’s sold. They create seasonal demand simply with just a couple of small changes.

As far as I’m concerned, they’re both delicious.

To your success,
Ernie “Sweet Tooth” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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