There was a small article in Ad Age today, titled Needs, Wants, and Everything in Between. The article was more of a book review, but there were two engaging concepts that inspired this post.
- Why do people want these goods instead of those goods?
- When will we know that the recession is over?
The answers are almost as simple as the questions
- We buy goods because something inside of us drives us to buy them.
- The recession will be over as soon as we stop asking the question “is the recession over”
Elegant, eh? Well, here are my thoughts on how these simple notions may frame some productive thought for our friends in real estate. My dad ran a boat company. He was very proud of having the best aluminium fishing boat, and his company charged plenty for each boat. It was a lot less expensive and much faster to build boats out of aluminium rather than wood in those days. He could have lowered his price, but he felt that the advantages of lower maintenance, longer life, lighter weight etc. was worth paying more. As competitors entered the aluminium boat market, they cut their prices – some below the wooden boat prices – but none of them were ever to capture significant market share. Indeed, it was not until he purchased is closest competitor that consumers felt that the competitor boat was any good. After he purchased the company, he made a few design modifications and raised the price – a lot!
You see, my dad innately understood people, or more importantly, what drives them to buy things. People want to buy the best! People know that good things aren’t cheap! Price is what you pay, value is what you receive. He also understood another little secret. Your customers are your best sales people. Throughout his life, he took special pains to personally call any customer who had a problem with their boat. As the founder of the company, he felt it was his duty. Trust me, he did not like making those calls, and he let his production supervisor know about it. He would also tell the unhappy person when his next scheduled visit was to their local dealer, and invite them over to say hello or go fishing.
These same levels of understanding people were applied to his employees. He would always try to hand deliver paychecks to people that were ill, or at home taking care of a loved one. He always picked up the tab before leaving the VFW club after his friday cocktail.
Perhaps the world is different today. Electronic communications are replacing meetings, Social Networking may be replacing the VFW. But one thing that has remained the same is that people who are genuinely engaged in their personal relationships will win every time – and everyone they touch will go out of their way to help you through Word of Mouth. That is the key to making sure that people choose your company or product over others. It is not the ‘technology,’ its the relationship.
As for the recession. If you want it to be over, stop talking about it and talk about success. My dad’s boat company is still going strong – and has weathered every possible economic storm over the past 80+ years. There were good years and bad years – but the people who were important to the succes of the company were always treated the same way. Surprisingly, if you ignore the recession then it does not exist.