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18 September 2009

What’s the Time? Time to Get Real

Taking your eyes off the market (trends, drivers, needs) is a great way for a company to lose a position of leadership, alienate customers and become irrelevant. When the environment you are operating in changes, you need to change in order to survive in the new conditions.  Just ask any real estate professional and they will tell you that!

Well the same goes for people supporting an industry going through change: vendors, suppliers and agencies need to observe the markets they serve just as closely as those operating within it. Why? Because if you don’t, you end up creating a major gap in client satisfaction that will open the door for new competitors to move in. Before you know it, existing suppliers are on the outside looking in, wondering what happened.

This occurs regularly within real estate as we have seen vendors come and go across all categories – from Website to virtual tour vendors – from coaches who fail to stay up on new changes to application providers who build it once and never improve the software.

Do you want to matter? The secret is as easy as placing yourself in the customers shoes. It’s what the best brands do and it’s precisely why they remain successful.

What better time than now to get real and make sure you are meeting your client’s needs, in a way that’s relevant to the market of today. This extends across all verticals and across all categories. For instance, here are some true examples from the last 10 days that I have personally experienced that had I been the marketing manager, I would be getting busy on fixing immediately.

  • At a recent conference at a major hotel, catering was requested for a small, working lunch in a meeting of 12. The quote was $75 per person, for hotel sandwiches. Even a ponzi schemer couldn’t put that in their expenses with good conscience. Being in NYC we literally walked across the street and brought back a sumptuous lunch for 12, for $38 total. Outcome? The restaurant across the street sees a new opportunity to delivery catering services to hotels throughout the city. Add $100.00 for deliver and it’s still a deal.
  • Exhibitors display in hotel ballroom.  Exhibitor needs another small table on which to display collateral.  Do you rent one for 3 hours from the hotel for $750 or go down the road to Office Depot and buy the same one for $200? Choice. I’ll take option #2. Final Answer.
  • Bulb goes out in the taillight of my car.  The dealer wants to charge me $300 plus parts to swap it out.  So I spoke to a friend with the same car, who showed me how to undo two screws, and swap the bulb out myself in 5 minutes. I just hope my hairdresser doesn’t give me a reason to try to cut my own hair! (again)

What’s the moral? I think it’s obvious. The world has become a viable resource for many things. Competition comes from all around you. But so is opportunity.

Harness your marketing team. Release them to learn what your clients like and don’t like. Prepare to fix those things that matter most. The ones that will make you stand out from the crowd. Be militant about managing client satisfaction. Leave your customers no choice to seek out a substitute. For Realtors this could mean replacing you as their agent with the new kid on the block that has mastered social media marketing to someone who has figured out they might be able to do it better and cheaper themselves.

7 thoughts on “What’s the Time? Time to Get Real

  1. You raise a question in my mind which has made my entrepreneurial endeavors difficult for some time now. In an area of so much free information, how does an individual, qualified in his field, have a chance against do-it-yourselfers who want to cut costs by reading about it online and attempting to handle things themselves?
    Adam @Advent Creative Web Design

    1. Adam – I think the key here is that you demonstrate your value and show that what you are offering to charge for will actually deliver better ROI than the ‘do it yourselfers’. They key is that you keep your value proposition, services and skills aligned with the market and demonstrate that you offer something they wont get by taking shortcuts

      rgds
      Camilla

    1. Exactly, And what does mattering mean to a client? That you offer something that solves a need, and they are willing to pay for it.

      rgds
      Camilla

  2. Convention centers are the worst. They try to gouge you wherever they can. Take everything you can yourself, as well as a backup internet connection (like a verizon card or something) at conventions where a lot of people are using the internet, things can slow down or break at just the wrong moment when you are trying to show a client something.

    -Tyler

  3. Thanks Tyler. While occastionally I find it more efficient to use onsite services, eg for major AV, generally if conference centers dont start adding additional value for the premium they charge, they will soon become so out of touch with the market, they become extinct.

    rgds
    Camilla

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