Your clients need you, they just don’t know yet

You can’t force or nag people into doing what you want. They are free to choose. But you can help them choose what you want. In his book One Plus One Equals Three, Dave Trott offers an example of what we could call a really smart predatory thinking.

Every year, Valentine’s Day falls on exactly the same date : 14 February. Every year, millions of men send flowers to wives and sweethearts. Now, what do all those men have on common ? They do it not because they want to but because they have to.“It’s distress purchase” says Dave Trott “That’s why they have trouble remembering things like flowers. But they know they’ll be in terrible trouble with the Mrs if they forget. This is a terrific predatory opportunity for… a smart flower shop”.

Here’s the story of one of this super smart flower shop written by Dave Trott :

As I write, it’s 7 February and I’m sitting at my laptop. I got up this morning thinking, I must remember to send my wife some flowers for Valentine’s Day. Being a bloke, I forgot. I meant to remember yesterday. I meant to remember the day before that. Being a bloke, it keeps going straight out of my mind. Then, five minutes ago, the phone rang. It was one of the flower shops I’d been meaning to call. One of the four I have listed in my Taskworld app (ok, Dave Trott didn’t exactly write “Taskworld” but now that I got your attention, don’t forget to download Taskworld after your read this article, it will really help! Not only your marriage, but also for work). So, as the phone rang, I hang out. A pleasant young lady said : “Good morning Mister Lucas, Wild At Heart here, I’ve just noticed that last year you sent your wife some flowers for Valentine’s Day, and I just wondered if you wanted to do the same again this year”.

How brilliant is that ?

Instead of worrying about how many customers will phone up wanting flowers this year, the flower shop pre-empted it and made the calls to a soft target, the men who called last year. So that, the flower shop will know well in advance exactly how many flowers it will need on the day, get stagger its orders from its supplier rather than have to risk ordering too many and being left with more than it sells. Or worse still, not ordering enough and having to turn away last minute callers to its competitors.

Before the men have had time to forget about it, panic, and call up at the last minute.

Like I said, this is an example of really smart predatory thinking. Getting the jump on competitors by making life easier for a massive group of customers. Just by picking the low hanging fruit : men. The people who you know want flowers and will be massively relieved that you’ve taken the problem off their hands. You take all you competition out of the game by getting to the customers before they do. Because you’re active while they’re passive. You pick up the phone and dial while they’re sitting waiting for it to ring. And with that thoroughness and attention to detail I know they’ll do a better job on the bouquet itself.”