When I started the driving Lyft, one of the first things I read is that it’s a nice little extra touch to provide gum, mints and candies for your passengers. They will appreciate it, the theory goes, rate you higher as a driver and might even throw a few extra tips your way.
So, one day I decided to hit the dollar store and see what I could procure to make this magic happen. I found a spiffy white plastic tray that — amazing! — fits perfectly motionless wedged between the two front seats, sitting on the armrest.
It’s like it was made for this spot. Out of the way but perfectly positioned right in front of any passenger in the back seat. But a tray of mints and gum alone is oh-so ordinary. Then the idea struck me. Why not spice it up by including my wife’s business cards?
Now, my wife isn’t in an ordinary line of work. She’s a romance novelist. Not a wannabe mind you, but one with three books under contract with a publisher. The first, “Passion Unscripted,” is on Amazon now (including as an audiobook). The second, “Unlocking Love,” will be released this summer. The third, the “Unlocking Love” sequel, will be out in 2019.
When I first put the cards in the tray, I quickly realized few people would notice them without a little help. So I taped the cards to the edge for better display. One side is her book’s cover, the other has her website and contact info.
On the second or third day that I had them displayed like this, one passenger said, “So, are these like those cards you get in Vegas?”
Oh … shit. While I’m used to these racy-looking business cards, to the uninitiated they might look like … cards for an escort service! And … oh wait … I’m driving strangers around town, many of whom are out-of-town visitors.
After casually confirming with several passengers they were making that assumption, I decided to add the little handwritten note. Voila! Problem solved.
About a third of the passengers I pick up now ask me about my wife’s book, how long she’s been writing — even if it’s based on me! (Sadly, no). Many of those who ask questions admit they secretly love this type of “Fifty Shades” fiction, and the cards are now literally flying out of the tray.
All hail the creative cross-marketing-promotion Gods!
One day last week, a truly surprising thing happened. I picked up a woman and her husband on the way to a date night at one of our local Indian casinos, and she immediately started asking about the book, then said, “Wait … I know this book. I HAVE this book!”
She checked her Kindle account. Sure enough, she had downloaded “Passion Unscripted” as a suggested read after she finished another similar book. She hadn’t gotten to it yet but now she was definitely going to, she said.
Almost as good, it’s a great conversation-starter when people hop in. Even if they have no intention of buying a book like this they love to pepper me with questions about how she got into writing, how long she’s been doing it, what it takes to succeed, and to offer positive encouragement to pass along to her.
Which I do.
PS – If after reading, you’re inspired to give Lyft driving a try, make sure to use a driver referral bonus when you first fill out the application. Use code MIKE17396 and we will both enjoy a bonus for rides you give during your first month. (You don’t need to drive in Phoenix for the code to work.)