Why This Business Made the Sale

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I guess I’m getting a new roof. I don’t want to get a new roof, but I guess I’m getting one. I mean, I know I’ve needed a new roof. My neighborhood, and therefore my house, is 20 years old, and most of my neighbors have already replaced their roofs. I’ve been holding out because I’d rather spend my money on candy and ice cream. Still, in the past two or three years I’ve received dozens, possibly hundreds, of flyers from roofing companies—all of which I’ve been able to ignore.

Until now.

That’s because I opened my mail yesterday and found a letter from a roofing company that pretty much closed the sale. After three years of pitches, it came down to one letter. So how, in one letter, did this company succeed where all the others failed?

They made it about me. They’d done their homework, and they made it about me. This was not just a stock letter with a flyer. They’d taken a look at my roof. They included a photo of my roof, with some of the problem areas circled. The letter listed some of the problems they’d found: broken shakes, raised shakes, warped shakes, frayed shakes. So apparently my roof is “no great shakes” (rim shot). Granted, they also included some photos showing me why I should reorganize my underwear drawer, which I found a little creepy. Okay, they didn’t really do that. But it would have been creepy, right?

Like I said, they’d done their homework. Do you do that with your customers? If you get a call from a potential corporate client, do you look at their web site before returning the call? Do you do a basic Google search? How much do you really know about your customers?

This roofing company included a flyer with their letter. It’s a nice looking flyer, very much like the dozens of others I’ve gotten. If that had been all they’d sent, it would be in the trash right now. But what did they do? They did what the competition didn’t. They looked at my situation individually, and made recommendations specifically for me. They made it about me, and it got them the sale.

I’ve talked about how the Beatles, in the early days, made their songs about their customers/fans by titling their songs with personal pronouns: I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, From Me to You. Gimmicky? A little. But it made a connection with their customers. And it worked.

The world is impersonal enough. The business that makes the customer feel like an individual who matters is the one that gets noticed. And the one that gets noticed is likely to be the one that gets the sale. So I guess I’m getting a new roof.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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