There’s nothing like house selling and buying to bring you closer to the assortment of people who roam this planet. Wealthy, sloppy, kind, scared, oblivious, tuned-in—the array of humans is as diverse as home styles and prices.
My husband and I recently sold our home and are in the process of buying a new home. Most people who know us relatively well—including our realtor—would describe us as A-game individuals. Give us a mission and not only will we conquer it, but we’ll do it well. While a definite advantage in some situations, particularly when it comes to selling a house, this dual trait has created quite a hindrance when it comes to purchasing a home. Call us crazy, but after viewing photos and reading descriptions online, we expect to be even more impressed with a house when we walk into it. Note: We met on Match.com, so we’ve both had our share of picture/profile/reality debacles. We want straight shooters from the beginning. After all, one walk through of the house will paint an accurate picture, so why hide it?
Do we have high expectations? Maybe, but when we go to view a home that catches our interest, the last thing we want to see is a diaper in the corner of the living room or downspouts that have been removed when the Front Range is notorious for expanding soils.
There’s no question that we have missed out on incredible homes merely because the owners didn’t take time to present their “product” to us in a compelling manner. But beyond home selling and buying, what else are people passing up on because proper attention to detail was left at the doorstep? Like it or not, customers will catch on if your product—or service—doesn’t live up to initial impressions. So why not be honest from the get-go? Take the time to think through your marketing plan and sketch out what you want your product or service, your business and yourself to stand for. Here are some quick and dirty tips so that you’re not leaving customers searching for better options:
Be clear, concise, and honest.
- DON’T: Promise anything you or your product or service can’t deliver. It’s tempting to want to be the be-all, end-all for clients, but resist it at all odds. If you are in the accounting business, why offer to manage a client’s bookkeeping duties if you are not interested or it’s not part of your business model? If it’s not a core competency, you might end up losing clients rather than wooing them.
- DO: Sell your best benefits and be honest about what you don’t offer. I was in a running store recently and had trouble finding a pair of shoes that worked for me. I asked about inserts, and they said they don’t sell them. If they don’t have a shoe that fits without inserts, they could rather you purchase shoes somewhere else. Bold? Perhaps. But at least they are honest.
Pictures are nice; reality is better.
- DON’T: Glamor-shot your product or service. Sure, we all want to make what we have to offer “shine,” but if you have a quality product or service that people need, ditch the tendency to Photoshop its attributes beyond reality.
- DO: Let your product or service speak for itself. Invite people in to try out your product or service. 24 Hour Fitness gives away free passes, letting people try their gyms for up to a week (sometimes) before making a decision about purchasing a membership. Netflix offers a free 30-day trial for new registrants. I’m not advocating giving away your business but rather letting potential customers see the benefits themselves. Talk and images can be overrated in this communication-saturated world.
Sure, some people keep a messy house and are super polished at work. But rather than leave the door open for clients to have mixed impressions of your product or service, put a little work into the details, and you will come out ahead.
As for my husband and my house-hunting adventures, we ended up purchasing a brand new home. Why? The builder and sales team had their act together. Call us picky. Call us ridiculous. Call us whatever you may. We ended up with a product that exceeded our expectations. Don’t you want your customers to say the same about your product or service?