Noah Kagan’s Coffee Challenge From Tools of Titans
What is the Coffee Challenge?
Here is the coffee challenge as told by Noah to Business Insider.
“The Coffee Challenge is one of Kagan’s favorite Stranger Challenges. It encourages people to walk into a coffee shop and ask for 10% off their purchase and wait for a reaction.
‘We have a thing called the Coffee Challenge,” Kagan tells James Altucher in a recent podcast. “You have to ask for 10% off at a coffee store. Any coffee store. Get a muffin, ask for 10% off. Most people will make an excuse. ‘Oh, I’ve already done sales for five years.’ ‘Oh, I’m not afraid of doing that.’ ‘Oh, I don’t need a discount, I have money.’ But if you go ahead and ask for 10% off coffee, I guarantee that you will learn something about yourself that will surprise you.'”
In my episode with Lisa Song Sutton we discuss the coffee challenge and how we would go about doing it. I wondered if one should play the “I’m a loyal customer and feel I deserve 10%” card but Lisa offered a better option. Lisa says she would add value for both parties where the employee/Starbucks store would benefit from the transaction as well. If you want to hear us discuss the challenge more in-depth, check out our conversation below. It starts right as we are talking about the challenge.
Executing the Coffee Challenge
So I wanted to test out the coffee challenge for myself and here was the exchange that took place. A little cringeworthy but hey I’m pretty shameless lol. (For the most part I go with Lisa’s advice and put my own little twist to it.)
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE : Hey how are you today?
ME: Whats up man how are you?
SE: Good, What can I get for you?
ME: Ahhh, I’ll go with an Iced Green Tea.
SE: With sweetener?
ME: Yeah sure
SE: What size?
ME: Small is good.
SE: Alright, your total is $2.09
ME: Ok cool, Can I get 10% off of that?
SE: Umm.. What do you mean?
ME: Like 10% off this order, so its $2.09. Can i get $.20 off?
SE: Ummm…. I don’t know what you mean.
ME: Ok I’ll be straight up with you. I host a podcast and am doing this thing called the coffee challenge for my newest episode coming out. Its a little lesson in negotiating and communication. We talk about the challenge on the podcast so I thought I’d give it a try. Do you have an Instagram?
ME: So obviously I would help you out if you give me the $.20 off. My guest on the show has a strong social media following and I’ll give your Instagram tag a shout out in the intro. What do you think?
SE: Man I’m just not sure. I’m a little confused I’m not sure what you mean?
ME: It’s just a little challenge I’m doing for the podcast. I’d love to help you out, maybe help each other out here.
(Co-worker walks by)
SE: (Talking to Co-worker) Hey man what do you think? (To Me) Go ahead tell him what’s going on?
So I basically explain to him the podcast, the challenge, 10% off, shouting out his instagram, lesson in communicating etc.
CO-WORKER: Give him the Employee Rewards code
SE: (To Me) Alright, you’re good dude!
ME: Whats up? What do you mean?
SE: It’s on the house, free.
ME: Ahh man, that’s awesome, appreciate you guys. What’s your Instagrams? I’ll give you the proper shout out. (We exchange info, chat a little)
SE: Sorry bro, wasn’t sure what it was all about at first
ME: Ya its cool, I’ll admit its kinda weird as hell to just go up asking for 10% off. You guys want to take a picture?
And that was it. First time asking and instead of the 10% off, I received the Tea for free.
Lessons I Learned From Coffee Challenge
I wanted to take this coffee challenge to prove to myself and others the things you can accomplish by just putting yourself out there. It’s a good lesson in asking for things you want or desire. So for this instance I did want the Tea for at least 10% off because it was part of the challenge and a story I wanted to add for my blog and podcast. A lot times we want more money, a promotion or various other things but we never really ask. Maybe we sit and think about doing it but then we make up excuses about all the things that can go wrong instead of actually just doing it. I felt the same way with this challenge. I’m sitting there thinking. “This is dumb.” “I’m gonna look stupid.” But then I was like “Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen.”
So the end result. Two new followers, a free green tea, and a cool story that reminds me to put myself out there and hopefully inspires those reading this to do the same.
Questions to consider: What would you say to in attempt to get 10% off your order? What value could you bring to the other party?