Every idea, every innovation, every product and service has two elements: the cookie and the fortune. The cookie is the commodity, the utility, the tangible product. The cookie is the thing you put in the shop window and it has a fixed value. Then there’s the fortune, the magical, intangible part of the product or service, which is where the real value lies in the hearts and minds of the customer. The fortune is the story, the thing that makes people feel something. The real reason they buy the product in the first place. It’s your purpose, your vision and values manifested. It’s also the customers’ story and worldview reflected back to them. The fortune gives the product an acquired value or a different perceived value.
People don’t buy fortune cookies because they taste better than every other cookie on the shelf. They buy them for the delight they deliver at the end of a meal.
I think that service based businesses, like real estate, really have an opportunity to differentiate themselves. But it starts with asking yourself one very important question:
What are you really in the business of selling?
In real estate for example, you’re not selling homes, you’re selling piece of mind to the couple who’s just about to make the largest investment of their lives.
What can you do to make them feel informed? To make them feel at ease? To give them the confidence that they’re making the right decision?
The actions you take (both big and small) are the “fortune.”
Things like returning a phone call in a timely manner.
Calling to give them a daily update (even if there is no update).
Taking extra time to answer each and every single little question.
Sure, these are seemingly small things, but you’d be surprised how many agents drop the ball here.
It’s in doing all of these things that people start to “feel” something. Continue to provide a high level of service and you’ll earn a customer for life and referrals for your business. Because to the customer, it’s not always just about buying a home (the commodity), it’s about that special something that you bring to the table.
“I’m not hiring you to show me 100 properties – i'm hiring you to guide me through to closing” – from an impromptu phone interview
— Jim Duncan (@JimDuncan) June 17, 2013
So, what can you do to deliver more value to your customers?