Why is the NT world so relationally dominated?

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swbluto
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05 Jun 2011, 4:27 pm

So, I was out and about delivering my advertisements, and I inevitably encountered a few people. I offered my services, and then some of them said "We already have someone do it for us." and I reply "We can do it cheaper", and one person replied "No, that's ok, I believe loyalty is more important." and the other person I gave her back our price and she said something like "Only 5 dollars worth of savings, that's not worth it." and then she walked off feeling miffed/angered (Why, I wonder??). Hmmm, this is interesting because my main marketing angle was to attract two groups on the basis of price -- One, customers who didn't have a lawn service before and were attracted to the relatively low price, and the other group being those who would like to go with a cheaper service, but yet the latter group seems to really like sticking with their current providers even when they're more expensive (Even when they're significantly more expensive.)[And we have a few customers of the former group, so business isn't quite dead. ^_^ ]. This suggests that when it comes to services, customer-client relationships are far more more important for NTs than price. When it comes to physical commodities, like candy or flour, most NTs are more apt to go with competitors when the price difference is sufficient because they don't have a "relationship" and/or loyalty to the product -- there's exceptions here and there such as with brand loyalty (People will pay more for coca-cola as they like it.), but that's what I've noticed.

So, has anyone else noticed this? How can one "steal" customers? The only group of NTs that I'm imagining would tend to care more about price would be business owners / managers since there's a higher emphasis on finances in business, and I'm starting to think I should start marketing my services to professionals because of this relational dynamic that exists with the majority of NTs.



Seph
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05 Jun 2011, 7:11 pm

I can't picture you in the lawn service business. I honestly don't think the world operates quite like you're implying. I think it's more about people not wanting interruptions and going with people that have a good track record with them. Signs actually work well. I've heard of a business that volunteered to do the town's park in exchange for letting the business put signs at the park for advertisements.

So... How does your knowledge of high level mathematics help you in the lawn service business?


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05 Jun 2011, 7:19 pm

To me it sounds like they've already got someone and don't really feel like changing. I think a lot of trust has to go into letting someone mow your lawn. After all it's on their property. But then again I am somewhat paranoid and know nothing of relationships.

But when phone companies ask for us to switch to them it can get kind of annoying.


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05 Jun 2011, 7:26 pm

I can't answer for the people you spoke to, but I can give you my own reasons why I might have that reaction:

I don't like taking care of my lawn, and the other owner whose lawn we share (duplex) doesn't live in town. So we hire a lawn service. We've been through three in the last five years. The first two were remarkable in that they didn't show up and they did a bad job. We finally wound up with the third service. They show up, they do a good job, and they charge a little more than the other two. It's worth the extra money to get the job done well.

You're close to the mark when you say with service industries, customer-client relationships are more important than price. And yes, when it comes to physical commodities that's less the case. Look at it this way: If two stores are selling the same brand of unbleached bread flour, I'll go with the less expensive store. If two restaurants serve breakfast, but the less expensive one serves lukewarm food, bad coffee, and serves it with bad service, I'm willing to pay a little more for better food and service.

The problem is that until they see work you have done, they have no way of knowing the quality of your work. Simply being cheaper is probably not enough to get people to switch. Rather than stress that you're cheaper than other services, stress that you do a superior job for less money. That carries a lot more weight than simply being cheaper. The cheapest lawn service is free, after all: just let it grow wild. Typically people are willing to pay more than that if it means the yard actually gets worked on.

The business we use does something pretty cool: They have a panel van with giant signs covering both sides of the van. When they show up at a place, it's not subtle. Everyone knows which properties they handle. People see the same van showing up at places with really good lawn service, so word gets around. If you want your place to look like those places, hire this company.



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05 Jun 2011, 8:48 pm

It may not be that they're loyal, it may be simpler to stick with the same service because trying something new isn't worth the hassle.

You need to offer more than a cheaper price. Where I work, not only are we cheaper than the competition, we offer a higher quality product, above-the-call-of-duty service, and a wider variety of products than the other guy. Still, even with all that in our arsenal, I only manage to convince maybe 5 out of 100 to give us a try - and once they do, despite my best efforts, we'll retain only 2-3 of them. Some finally give in of my calling them monthly for 6 months, so you just can't give up.

My suggestion: anticipate what the responses are, come up with positive replies to them, and keep trying them over and over until they say yes or threaten you. :lol:



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05 Jun 2011, 9:17 pm

Seph wrote:
So... How does your knowledge of high level mathematics help you in the lawn service business?


I can keep track of the business's finances and manage expenses better than the average joe. :lol:

Seriously, the reason why I'm in the lawn mowing business was because 1) Jobs simply don't exist around here. I mean, they do, but they're being snatched up by substantially more qualified and experienced candidates, and the industry I'm planning to work in (The tech industry) is microscopic in my locale as to be practically non-existent, so the jobs available to me (And yes, I've been heavily applying) just don't exist. So, what's a person to do? Create their own jobs! Find their own customers! And that's what I'm doing and so far the growth of the business is looking pretty good. It's not nearly as "straight forward" as I originally hoped (I was hoping for every 100 adverts I passed out, I'd get at least one call but apparently that expectation fell like a rock after the first batch was distributed), but my plan is working. (Btw, I just googled and it's telling me the local unemployment rate is 10.2% whereas the national average is 8.7%, and the national "18-24 year old" unemployment rate is around 50%. Translation: The job market here for my demographic sucks. :lol:)

Also, I was hoping it'd look pretty good on my resume... "I started my own electric lawn mowing business and I designed the electronics for it and pulled in over 3000 in monthly revenue.". And, if the economy worsens and I can't personally find a tech job, or I see more growth potential in this line of business, I might just continue growing the business next year and refining it. Who knows? If I find a business model that can be templated and has a unique appeal, I might just franchise it.



Last edited by swbluto on 05 Jun 2011, 10:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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05 Jun 2011, 9:21 pm

In this situation, it was probably out of laziness, and not trust.


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05 Jun 2011, 10:19 pm

swbluto wrote:
Seph wrote:
So... How does your knowledge of high level mathematics help you in the lawn service business?


I can keep track of the business's finances and manage expenses better than the average joe. :lol:

Seriously, the reason why I'm in the lawn mowing business was because 1) Jobs simply don't exist around here. I mean, they do, but they're being snatched up by substantially more qualified and experienced candidates, and the industry I'm planning to work in (The tech industry) is microscopic in my locale as to be practically non-existent, so the jobs available to me (And yes, I've been heavily applying) just don't exist. So, what's a person to do? Create their own jobs! Find their own customers! And that's what I'm doing and so far the growth of the business is looking pretty good. It's not nearly as "straight forward" as I originally hoped (I was hoping for every 100 adverts I passed out, I'd get at least one call but apparently that expectation fell like a rock after the first batch was distributed), but my plan is working. (Btw, I just googled and it's telling me the local unemployment rate is 10.2% whereas the national average is 8.7%, and the national "18-24 year old" unemployment rate is around 50%. Translation: The job market here for my demographic sucks. :lol:)

Also, I was hoping it'd look pretty good on my resume... "I started my own electric lawn mowing business and I designed the electronics for it and pulled in over 3000 in monthly revenue.".


lol... I actually tried to start a reel mower lawn care business... I was thinking about doing electric too. My brother had an electric mower I was thinking about borrowing. That was a plug in type and I never really figured out how to handle the cords...


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05 Jun 2011, 10:26 pm

Why is the NT world so relationally dominated?

a. NTs dominate the world.
b. Relationship-building is an NT trait.
:: The NT world is relationally dominated.


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swbluto
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05 Jun 2011, 10:30 pm

Seph wrote:
swbluto wrote:
Seph wrote:
So... How does your knowledge of high level mathematics help you in the lawn service business?


I can keep track of the business's finances and manage expenses better than the average joe. :lol:

Seriously, the reason why I'm in the lawn mowing business was because 1) Jobs simply don't exist around here. I mean, they do, but they're being snatched up by substantially more qualified and experienced candidates, and the industry I'm planning to work in (The tech industry) is microscopic in my locale as to be practically non-existent, so the jobs available to me (And yes, I've been heavily applying) just don't exist. So, what's a person to do? Create their own jobs! Find their own customers! And that's what I'm doing and so far the growth of the business is looking pretty good. It's not nearly as "straight forward" as I originally hoped (I was hoping for every 100 adverts I passed out, I'd get at least one call but apparently that expectation fell like a rock after the first batch was distributed), but my plan is working. (Btw, I just googled and it's telling me the local unemployment rate is 10.2% whereas the national average is 8.7%, and the national "18-24 year old" unemployment rate is around 50%. Translation: The job market here for my demographic sucks. :lol:)

Also, I was hoping it'd look pretty good on my resume... "I started my own electric lawn mowing business and I designed the electronics for it and pulled in over 3000 in monthly revenue.".


lol... I actually tried to start a reel mower lawn care business... I was thinking about doing electric too. My brother had an electric mower I was thinking about borrowing. That was a plug in type and I never really figured out how to handle the cords...


Hehe, I quickly figured out out that a reel mowing lawn care business couldn't be competitive with the gas guys, at least not on the basis of productivity. And, we're also using the corded models BUT... we aren't using cords. :wink:



Seph
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05 Jun 2011, 10:39 pm

swbluto wrote:
Hehe, I quickly figured out out that a reel mowing lawn care business couldn't be competitive with the gas guys, at least not on the basis of productivity. And, we're also using the corded models BUT... we aren't using cords. :wink:


Battery with power inverters? I thought about doing that. I figured reel mowers would save on gas expense. People still have to be behind pushing them whether we're talking about gas or reel. (Unless you have a riding mower... I was starting off small...) The problem with reel mowers is that they don't cut longer grasses.


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05 Jun 2011, 10:51 pm

Ha, that's funny. I'm a mathematics guy too and for a while I worked doing organic lawn care. No mowing, but I'd aerate, fertilize, seed, etc. I got to work alone and rather enjoyed it.

Now I build websites for people. You don't need to live anywhere special to do it. I'm now in town that barely has a post office; my closest client is nearly 200 miles away and I've never met them in person. It all works just fine.



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05 Jun 2011, 11:16 pm

Advertising and marketing are an interesting diacotomy to the usual psychological assumptions about people. Face to face rules do not apply when looking to attact customers.

Loyalty is important - even over price. Many times the cheaper fly-by-night guy is the one who will hack up your lawn and leave you worse off. People are often suspicious of the lowest price when it comes to service businesses. The perception is that you are somehow cutting corners to acheive that lower price. There have been plenty of marketing studies that show when a product is rock bottom, it many times won't move but as soon as you raise the price the perceived value of the item also increases and it starts to sell.

You have a common product in a highly competitive market - price alone will not sell you. You need to really work your 'natural' hook. Green services routinely charge a bit more and people are willing to pay that price for the perceived value - whether its a real value or an ethical one. If you are advertising a 'green' business, make sure you are using recycled content paper and soy ink! And say that on your ad in small print. You gotta walk the walk... true believers will call you out on this in a second by walking away.

Once you get those customers a large majority of your business will come from word of mouth advertising. This is where the 'loyalty' comes in. Services businesses, more than any other, cultivate that customer relationship and treat it like the gold it is. Offer referral deals. Learn your customers names and use them! If you provide your service when a customer is at work - leave a small thank you note for them to find so they know you were there. It's akin to sending a thank you note after a birthday party. It is feel good factor! When you are in a new neighborhood, before leaving to the next job canvass the block with flyers (check if you need a permit to do this with the township!)

If, or when, your customers start asking if you also do gardening services, feel free to hit me up for plant advice! I'd be glad to help you diversify. Organic gardening is my specialty.



swbluto
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06 Jun 2011, 12:59 am

draelynn wrote:
Advertising and marketing are an interesting diacotomy to the usual psychological assumptions about people. Face to face rules do not apply when looking to attact customers.

Loyalty is important - even over price. Many times the cheaper fly-by-night guy is the one who will hack up your lawn and leave you worse off. People are often suspicious of the lowest price when it comes to service businesses. The perception is that you are somehow cutting corners to acheive that lower price. There have been plenty of marketing studies that show when a product is rock bottom, it many times won't move but as soon as you raise the price the perceived value of the item also increases and it starts to sell.

You have a common product in a highly competitive market - price alone will not sell you. You need to really work your 'natural' hook. Green services routinely charge a bit more and people are willing to pay that price for the perceived value - whether its a real value or an ethical one. If you are advertising a 'green' business, make sure you are using recycled content paper and soy ink! And say that on your ad in small print. You gotta walk the walk... true believers will call you out on this in a second by walking away.

Once you get those customers a large majority of your business will come from word of mouth advertising. This is where the 'loyalty' comes in. Services businesses, more than any other, cultivate that customer relationship and treat it like the gold it is. Offer referral deals. Learn your customers names and use them! If you provide your service when a customer is at work - leave a small thank you note for them to find so they know you were there. It's akin to sending a thank you note after a birthday party. It is feel good factor! When you are in a new neighborhood, before leaving to the next job canvass the block with flyers (check if you need a permit to do this with the township!)

If, or when, your customers start asking if you also do gardening services, feel free to hit me up for plant advice! I'd be glad to help you diversify. Organic gardening is my specialty.


Excellent advice as usual, especially with the "thank you" cards and referral deals (My partner and I currently agreed to a $15 referral bonus for people who'd sign up customers for us, although it's not being promoted at the moment. Also, I'm a little wary about getting others as salesman at the moment because of the possibility of inviting competition. When the potential salesman finds out how easy it is to get customers, at least one would probably be likely to start promoting their own service.) -- my mind was actually running along those lines. I was actually suspicious of that "quality" and "price" perceptions today, where customers would perceive a higher price as suggesting a higher level of quality. I was thinking about making a run of ads with an price estimate line and remove any suggestions of "low quality", and then test it out by charging a high price for a few houses (In an "expensive neighborhood", of course.) and see where that lead.

Anyways, yes, I was thinking about diversifying my services if the business significantly grows (I'm currently upto 5 signed up customers with who knows how many are going to call tomorrow! I just sent out 400 ads today.) to boost the profit margins. I see that being a "next year" kind of possibility, though, since I'm busy rounding up customers for the time being and getting everything in line. It's all coming together quickly, I'm glad to report!

And, oh yeah, for distributing my ads to houses, I have a secret weapon - my electric scooter. In suburbia when the houses are miles apart, walking is soooo inefficient and my electric scooter is ultra-maneuvarable. Also, my scooter isn't your walmart toy-variety type, it's a suped-up model using high quality RC components and powerful lithium batteries, so it's light, powerful and nimble with plenty of torque which is GRRREAT for climbing those steep driveways. The top speed is currently 30 mph, though it could easily sustain 40 if I bumped the voltage upto the controller's maximum.



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06 Jun 2011, 2:02 am

Fnord wrote:
Why is the NT world so relationally dominated?

a. NTs dominate the world.
b. Relationship-building is an NT trait.
:: The NT world is relationally dominated.


Rather a big picture helicopter view.

At a more granular level NT human beings are social animals and have a tendency to form groups as a survival mechanism. When the groups do not involve familial (blood) ties then a form of social bond has to be negotiated/created between strangers in order for a working/functional relationship to be sustainable.

Positive side - It creates efficiency in the way humans operate and survive.
Negative - relationship building has a habit of being made on superficial traits that within a group are often seen as not equitable.