How Charlie’s Taxi Competes with Uber

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

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Hi Charlie.jpgThis morning I needed to go from my hotel at Sydney Olympic Park to the Sydney International Airport for a flight to Boston via LAX. I had been in Sydney to speak at Tony Robbins Business Mastery and since I am carrying an oddly shaped road case containing a pop-up display that does not fit into a normal car, I can’t call Uber or use the normal taxi line in front of the hotel. Yesterday, I asked the hotel to call me a “maxi taxi” - a minivan with a large storage area.

About halfway through the 45-minute ride to the airport, my driver turns to me and hands me a pen with the words: “HI CHARLIE” and his telephone number on it. I smile and say, well, “Hi Charlie!”

At first I thought I don’t really need a pen and was about to give it back. But then I started to think about this gift. The hotel called Charlie’s cab over the other cabs in the area, so he is doing something right to get that work. But with Uber and other ride sharing companies, the traditional taxi business is getting squeezed. How can a taxi compete? The pen is an interesting way to stand out and be remembered.

Giving gifts to generate business

Charlie pen.jpgWhen we were about a mile from the airport, Charlie did something I’ve never experienced before in hundreds of cab rides. He turned off the meter at exactly $100. We didn’t set that fixed price. I was happy to pay the full fare for the large taxi. He just turned off the meter!

When I tried to give Charlie a $10 tip, he refused.

I told Charlie I wanted to share his story and he allowed me to take a photo of him with one of his pens. You can see the meter in the photo too.

Now I’ve got Charlie’s number for next year’s Business Mastery event in Sydney. I’ll call him and say “Hi Charlie!”

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