I recently attended a new car show where consumers were free to roam the exhibit hall and inspect a large selection of new vehicles. There were sales staff present, but unlike the stereotypical car dealer, these sellers were remarkably low key and almost invisible. Potential customers could “kick the tires”, look under the hood and generally do anything but test drive without interruption from staff.

I am not sure that any sales resulted during the event, but I’m sure it has long-term effectiveness. People like having the freedom to check things out in depth and at their own pace – to look beyond the glossy exterior to see what something is really like. Most people who look under the hood have little idea of what they are actually looking at but feel better having seen inside anyway.

While your enterprise may not lend itself to a fancy show in the exhibit hall, think about whether there is a way you could allow your clients to do the equivalent of looking under your hood. Can you host an open house where people are free to see your facilities or resources? Is there a way to offer a tour or show behind-the-scenes? Can you provide samples or short-term services to allow people to experience your enterprise without a commitment?

Affording potential clients closer look at what you offer provides congruency between what they can see and what they usually can’t. What can you do today to open your “hood” to others?

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