As home sales neophytes, we naively figured our job was over. We quickly learned that wasnt the case. The first thing our realtor did was send in a consultant, whose job it was to transform our home into a retail product.
Five minutes after she strolled through the front door, we were moving furniture, scrubbing windows we thought were already clean and clearing off counters. When the consultants workout session was finally over, we felt as though our Herculean renovation efforts were all in vain.
But later that evening, as I lay in bed with a sore back and aching muscles probably the result of pushing a piano across the living room I realized what wed done was really no different from any business owner bringing a product to market. Wed asked and answered three questions that would either make or break the project:
1. Who is your customer?
If you dont define your customer, you cant properly outline a marketing campaign. Based on the size, shape and number of rooms in our home, we targeted middle-to-upper income families in search of larger quarters.
2. How will you grab your customers attention?
First impressions, the consultant stressed, are crucial. If a prospect walks in and doesnt like the way the living room or kitchen looks, it doesnt matter how many bedrooms youve got, or if the house is the only one on the block with air conditioning. As with any product, youve got to attract your prospect quickly but subtly with an effective marketing campaign.
3. What factors drive the sale?
Is your product designed to fill an actual need or will it satisfy an emotional desire? Items that fill needs include toothpaste and shaving cream, while the latter could be anything from a luxury car to a video game. In our case, we knew the house would already meet the needs of every prospect wandering through the front door. So our goal was to sell on emotional desire. We wanted to make someone want this particular house over every other one they visited.
Finally, the experience taught me another business lesson, one that anyone whos ever brought a product to market knows: The importance of patience. Just because youve developed a good product doesnt mean it will lead to immediate success. It often takes longer than you, your employees or the savviest marketing plan in the world can predict.
Giving is believing
Last month, I espoused the importance of getting involved in philanthropy. This month, Im proud to announce a new feature in SBN.
With the support of Xerox Connect Inc., we begin an in-depth look at corporate giving. The stories lead up to Decembers Pillar Award for Community Service, sponsored by Medical Mutual of Ohio, and will continue with a wrap-up in our January issue.
Philanthropy often starts with the employees, explains David Fazekas, Xerox Connect practice director. And it accomplishes two goals: It builds community spirit for what your company is about within the community, and it builds community spirit within your own company and keeps people tied together for a good cause. Dustin Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of SBN.