Lagnippe is one of those words that just rolls of your tongue … but its meaning is even more intriguing.  Let me explain.

A lagniappe (lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase.  It could be as simple as a thirteenth doughnut when you just ordered a dozen. More specifically, “Something given or obtained gratuitously, or by way of good measure.”  It’s a term first used by shop owners in the 1800’s and is rooted in the rich Louisiana Creole dialect. 

You might better recognize “Lagniappe” by its business name  – “Value Added”.  The concept is the same, but years of myopia have taken its toll.  Far too often, “Lagniappe” means cookies, coffee, gift cards and relationships – completely ignoring the process side of a business.  And that in itself creates an important question.

How do you add value to your selling process?  In short, what would cause your customer – after working with you – to believe it was worth every minute of their time?  Here’s an easy answer.

If you can help your customers make a decision better than they would have on their own, you’ve provided “Lagniappe”.  It seems simple, but it requires a “Customer First” focus.  To implement this strategy here’s what you do:  

Use questions that cause your customer to think about things they haven’t thought about – problemsimpacts and benefits.  

For you, “Lagniappe” boils down to expanding your customer’s thought process – causing them to consider the unexplored aspects of their current situation, future possibilities and potential alternatives.  Achieve this, and you’ve provided a “little extra” for your customer.

Customers already know what they know – help them explore the things they don’t know, or haven’t thought about.