When you’re moving, there are a number of ways you can go about it. If you’re a minimalist, you can load all your stuff in your car, or rent a U-Haul. You can get one of those portable storage pods that can be stored somewhere before being delivered to the new location. You can hire a moving company. Each of these travels along a dual continuum: most effort to least effort, and least expensive to most expensive.
That is the trade-off. Which do you have more of, money or time? How inconvenienced do you feel, and how much is it worth to you to make that inconvenience go away?
The best people in the world to sell to are busy people, and the best thing to sell them is a product or service of convenience. Whether it’s moving services or Uber, what they are really buying is more time and less hassle. The sales process, therefore, should be as easy as humanly possible for these people.
Last Saturday, I called several places to get assistance with my move. Most called me back, leaving messages or trying to make appointments for later in the week. One lady, however, showed up that same day. She sent a dealer by Monday and a mover by Tuesday -- before any of the other people I called had even visited me once. She would call and leave a message, and then try again an hour or two later so I didn’t have to find pen and paper and sort out calling her back. In other words, she took full responsibility for the relationship, and, as a result, saved me not only the time spent doing physical labor like packing, but also the time spent doing cognitive tasks associated with hiring her.
On the flip side, last year Air New Zealand changed its upgrade system for premium passengers: whereas previously they could just buy upgrades at a pre-set amount depending on status, now they have to bid to get one. The bid is fixed more than a week out, and you don’t find out if you got it until three days prior to the flight.
It may make economic sense for the airline to get the maximum return for each upgraded seat, but it’s a scheme that is not designed in any way to please the customer. Premium passengers get there because they’re doing a lot of flying, and are therefore likely to be extremely busy people. They want to look at the price, decide whether it’s worth it, and make a purchase decision. The new system unfolds over days or weeks and involves multiple steps: it takes more time and creates more hassle.
“But wait!” I hear you cry. “People love auctions! Just look at eBay!”
Of course, people can get pleasure from auctions. But the pleasure is in the bidding, in the strategy, in the knowing you beat out someone else at the last minute. It is a gambling pleasure, a winning pleasure. It is a pleasure you do not get from placing a single bid, without knowing what anyone else is bidding, and then waiting for a week to see if you got it.
Sell products and services of convenience to busy people, using a simple and streamlined process where the work gets done for them. Make their lives easier, and you will never go broke.