The other day I walked into an estate agent near where I lived and the agent asked me what I was looking for and presented a number of properties to me. When I had finished we smiled and she invited me to come back soon and with that I left.
I was involved in the launch of the Rightmove website probably the most successful estate agency website of all time. One of the reasons it has been so successful is because it is entirely automatic and systematic, it has to be. The weak link in my personal experience was the human interface, the estate agent herself. Who knows why this happened, maybe she was shy, maybe she assumed I had been in before, maybe she just plain forgot to ask, maybe she was a temp, maybe she had never been trained to ask. There are a lot of variables.
I was staggered. I could not believe it. No wonder house sales are falling through, the sales process is not being followed through. This is basic, I find it difficult to believe in 2017 that this goes on. Yet it does go on, nearly everywhere. For instance where I live is a high street butcher, a pretty upmarket one too. Never ever asked me my name, personal interests, explained how I might phone in an order to make sure I get what I want. I see other people doing that, I guess I would have to ask for the kind of service…
Being left to guess what my suppliers offer is a little odd. I never did study mind reading. So I am not sure how I am supposed to know. What this means is that these business owners are literally not paying any attention to their most important asset – their customers!
However, they are not alone. I bought a gift for my wife from a clothes shop. I popped into M&S, I got a quick hair cut. None of them collected any information from me at all. I guess it is all too much trouble to ask, to write it down, or enter into a machine, or point me in a direction of a machine so I can DIY. Or even give me a slip of paper with their URL on it. I guess I would not need that for the big stores.
I am seeing opportunity here. For me this is basic, for me this is opportunity for small businesses to grow into, to take up the slack – even though some of the culprits are small businesses themselves. I suspect it is out of ignorance that they behave in this way. In that the butcher is the butcher, the hairdresser is the hairdresser and at the clothing store the server sees herself as a counter assistant. I am sure they are all more than that. I am sure if they realised that their lives depended on it they could all lower themselves to the demeaning role of marketer. However, I don’t think it is that. I suspect they just have not got a clue.
If I was an estate agent. I might want to spend a little money on hot current prospects and if I did not give them an information pack on site, I would certainly like to mail them a followup letter, just to make sure that the things that should have been said were said. Plus I would want to know the specific area I was looking in, the type of property I was after and how much I was prepared to pay. These are not complicated questions. In fact they were all asked except for my address and none of it was recorded.
If I was the butcher, hairdresser or if I ran the dress shop I would have liked to know my name and address, perhaps mobile number and email address too. That way I could let them know of special promotions or when it was quiet in the shop I could run a promotion to try and make things busier.
If I was running any kind of food shop I would be running cooking classes and maybe home delivery too. If I had anything delivered on a regular basis I would try and over order any thing that did not need freezing or preserving as a window display or to sell “out of hours”.
Heck I would go the whole hog (no pun intended) and run a full on club around my business, so I had clients circulating me like bees to honey. I have an exercise that I have prepared if this subject interests you, if you would like to know more. Click here for more. I always remember reading an ad for a salesman it read: Bees Make Honey, You Can Make Money.