The Shotgun approach.....
Whilst the current global pandemic environment poses challenges to all businesses in various ways, it doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. Resting on what has always been done, or utilizing the Shotgun approach and waiting for customers to find you, will leave you falling well behind your competitors.
My experience over the past 3 weeks of selling and buying a house and getting ready for our upcoming move has highlighted an area of missed business / sales opportunity. Whilst the following is an example of the furniture moving industry, I know that there are practices and behaviours in many companies that are outdated and or do not give a return on your investment. Whilst I am not surprised to see the way that companies are operating and waiting for the customer to come to them, it is sad to think that a lot of them are unaware that they are missing out of so much business.
In the 3 weeks after selling our house we received 11 direct mailings from Furniture Moving Companies. These direct mailings or what I would describe as “Junk mail”, were, generically addressed to “The Occupant” and consisted of flyers of various kinds and advertising material. All of these were fairly consistent in delivery and content:
· Impersonalized addressed, eg: The Occupant, The Home Owner, etc
· Single or doubled sided colour printed flyer outlining the Company and a “Moving Checklist”
· Lots of generic information why we should choose their company and services
· NO call to action
Basically these 11 moving companies, I am sure there will be more, have spent a considerable amount of time and money invested in the “Shotgun” approach and sent out advertising information and are crossing their fingers hoping that I the consumer will call them and buy their goods and services. I am sorry but this is not going to happen. In fact, by the time we received these 11 mailings we had already had 2 appointments with their competitors and had made a decision on the company that we will use.
The company we chose:
· Referred by realtor
· Personal and professional approach
· Local small business that understood our needs
As a side note, I am astounded to say that the other appointment we had that didn’t get the business, unfortunately was not much different than the direct mail competitors. After visiting the house and doing a great presentation, the sales representative left and emailed a quote. Now that is fine if that is the company process, however it has now been 22 days and he is yet to follow up with any contact. I am sure he is sitting at his desk complaining that business is slow because of COVID 19, yet actually business is dying because of missed opportunities eg; no follow up.
Are you spending money on late, impersonal, or “The Shotgun” mailings?
Now I have never been in the furniture moving business, however I have relocated locally and globally 9 times. Here are number of actions that I would suggest:
· Make connections with Realtors. Why, these are the people that are speaking with your customers. They are your source of knowledge to get ahead of the game. These people know who is about to sell or thinking of it, you can contact them early and start to establish your brand.
· Personalize your message. Why, selling your home is one of the most emotional times of your life, connecting with customers on a personal level shows you care about their situation.
· Deliver your marketing material in person to the house and drop off a “Gift” something to help them with the move. Find out where they are relocating too and pass on advance information about the area or services that maybe of interest.
· Respond and follow up quickly. Why, the initial stage of the process is stressful with so much to think of and do and decisions are made quickly. If you are not top of mind, you are not in the game. Do Not leave it 3 weeks to follow up on a quote!!
· Learn to anticipate your clients. Activity breeds, since our house sold there has been 2 others in quick succession. Always ask and seek referrals.
Once again this is not isolated to moving companies, as sales professionals, managers, executives and CEO’s we have all at times used “The Shotgun” approach in our business.
Are you making the most of every opportunity?