Yesterday, after a fevered fortnight of Rightmove and Zoopla frenzy, we did the deed and decided on our new home.
The plot and house style we chose is not even released yet, so I won’t go into the intricacies of the quality of the fascias, the depth of the sealed double glazed units or the aspect of the garden.
Ok, I will.
UPVC, 7mm, south.
Couldn’t resist sorry but now on to the meat of this article.
What this is really about is consumer mentality, human nature if you like, from a consumer’s perspective.
So what’s changed about consumers and customers?
You may have noticed that Tesco have announced that it’s cutting 24 hour opening at a number of stores. Why? Because the fabled big shop that people used to do once a week at the same supermarket is consigned to history. Customers switch shops it appears nowadays (we do) and don’t load trolleys with £150 of food to last a week – £50 spends three times a week is apparently how consumers now work. But we all need food so we do it regularly and we don’t research banana prices or read food reviews of rice online. We simply buy for a few days in advance.
This is different though with property, cars, electronic purchases.
The selling of our home and a proposed move began three years ago.
2013, late September, I recall (oh what a night?).
We did the usual – called out three high street estate agents, got three identical valuations and the sales pitch from each. We didn’t commit though then, but we did in November 2015.
In other words, it took 26 months for us to take the plunge and put our home up for sale. Can’t do with food – we’d starve.
That is not untypical, as when I was running my own estate agency, a valuation request would come in, and, more often than not, the seller, would decide not to sell immediately. We took 26 months, so I can empathise. It’s a long thought process.
Obviously buying a property and selling your own home is a massive decision to make, and it’s not about which estate agent to go with, high street or online, or the fees, or the selling price, it’s multi-layered and emotionally complex. I don’t see a house as just bricks and mortar with a price tag. It’s a home, a place of comfort, filled with positive memories.
But I actually honestly think a house sale debate is mirrored in many consumer purchases.
Next March, I can buy a new car, if I choose to. That’s 13 months away. So have I decided what to buy and who to buy from?
Buying a car like deciding to sell this house is a long wrestle, a lengthy love in with Google, endless conversations with the family, and infinite reading of owner and expert reviews of certain cars I may or may not switch to. I want a new iPad Air. Have I got one? No, but I’ve spent 6 weeks musing about which one to buy and who from. I consider myself to be impulsive too.
This is how customers now seem to work.
Your website, your approach, your sales strategy, if you like, has to parallel changing consumer behaviour. The days of Glengarry Glen Ross and Alec Baldwin’s bullish ABC, Always Be Closing, are probably over.
There’s a new way of selling – through content marketing, through being seen as trusted. John Lewis and Amazon have nailed it – I don’t go on either website just to click and buy but to read reviews, but when I come to buy, they are normally the place where purchases are made. I trust both companies.
The estate agents who sit at the top of Google in any town in the UK have got there through strategic digital marketing, invariably featuring a blogging section. Some of these even have digital marketing managers, feeding the company’s social media pages and writing interesting articles that will propel the estate agent up rankings and make your company become the property thought leader in that town.
They are not at the top of page one by accident, trust me, and yours is not on page 4 of Google through ill fortune.
You want potential clients to visit your website, like and follow you on social media, so that when they decide to sell or buy, they come back to the website they’ve bookmarked, enjoyed visiting, liked the blogs, tweets and Facebook posts.
I’ll put it more crudely, showing my Yorkshire roots:
It has been scientifically proven that men will urinate or defecate in the same cubicle they have used before. Now I’m not comparing businesses to toilets, but the point I’m making is that humans behave habitually, consciously or sub-consciously.
As a business you need to make sure that when the man or the woman needs to sell, they use your services.
A strong website, with good people and a compelling story behind it, regular social media updates that are relevant and interesting, and not just sales and the Big I Am, will make customers like, trust, respect you.
When they then need to urinate, or sell, or buy or get advice, customers will probably pick your cubicle, your urinal.
Contact me today if you’d like me to work on strengthening your brand, your services and your Google page ranking.