Doughnut Diplomacy

by Sean O’Bryan

When I began practicing law, I knew a very successful local insurance agent.

One day we got talking, and I asked him how he got started. He told me right after he got his insurance license and set up his business, he didn’t have any clients and was new to town. He wandered in the Davison Home Bakery. Now the Davison Home Bakery is somewhat a local landmark around here. It is on the same block as my law office, and they are an old-fashioned bakery that still uses the same recipes they have for 3 generations.

In fact, the white house to the right of the bakery in the picture displayed above is where political provocateur Michael Moore grew up (and still owns). It is said that the doughnuts from Home Bakery are what gave Michael his portly appearance beginning at a very young age.

Well, this insurance agent decided to purchase 6 dozen doughnuts. He attached his business card to each box and went to 6 different businesses early one Monday morning and passed out a dozen doughnuts to each company.


Davison Home Town Bakery

He went back to the office and waited for the phone to ring. It didn’t. Disheartened, but unwilling to give up, he repeated the same exercise the following week with 6 new businesses.

Week after week he continued. Businesses began looking forward to his visits, and often the company would invite him to stay for a cup of coffee. He told me he had gained 15 pounds!

“Marketing comes in all kinds of creative ways. It is often slow in obtaining results – but if done right, you are planting important seeds.”

After about 6 months and some 2,000 doughnuts later – he got his first real customer from his doughnut diplomacy. But more importantly, he had developed a strong network of meaningful contacts – quite frankly, fellow small business people had become his friends as well.

His business started to grow and grow. Within a few years, he was one of the largest insurance agencies in the area. He was well past the need to deliver doughnuts, yet he continued his Monday morning practice for over 40 years.

Marketing comes in all kinds of creative ways. It is often slow in obtaining results – but if done right, you are planting important seeds. Understand that whatever advertising you do will not work if you don’t offer a good product or service. Even worse, your company is doomed to fail if it has less than friendly employees. Those 2 things are the heart and soul of any good business.

Let Think Street work with your business and help you find a doughnut diplomacy program that will help your company grow.

Sean O’Bryan is the owner of Think Street Media, LLC, a Michigan marketing agency. He has practiced estate planning law for 30 years and has helped hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses succeed through creative marketing strategies.

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