Earlier this year my parents (by which I mean my Mum because my Dad gets no say in these matters) were considering putting a gas fire in their living room to replace the coal fire.
My Mum said she wanted “the kind with a door on that looked like a coal fire but didn’t require the maintenance of a coal fire”.
So, they phoned around a few fire companies and requested some brochures and on Saturday night after tea they spread all the brochures out on the kitchen table and compared ‘gas fires with doors on’.
Fast forward to a hot summers afternoon mid July and the family and neighbours are stood in the living room looking admiringly at Mum’s new ‘multi fuel gas stove’ as she calls it and sweating profusely.
After the coo-ing had died down and a few of the neighbours had passed out from heat exhaustion my Mum mentioned something that caught my ear.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people we spoke to who wanted to email me a brochure” she said.
Now I found that quite interesting as it proved a point I have been harping on about for many years now. As a company it’s seen as a benefit to produce ‘e-literature’ and send it out via email to potential customers. You save on post, print and when amends are required they are quick and cheap. As a company we do it ourselves.
However, when the decision to buy is being made, many people still like to spread their options out in front of them, usually on a table, and see what they are buying.
Now it’s not like my Mum and Dad are computer illiterate, far from it. They are just from a generation who want to ‘compare apples with apples’ and they like to do it around the kitchen table looking at glossy brochures and getting all excited.
They do it for cars, holidays, double glazing, anything they consider to be a major purchase is done around the table looking at the options available.
And guess what?
This same buying process goes on a thousand times every single day around boardroom tables all over the world.
And guess what else?
A large proportion of the people who make the decisions at these companies are from the same generation as my parents and they too like to sit around a table looking at brochures so they can see what they are buying.
In this day and age an online presence is, in almost all cases, essential. Cutting back costs on tonnes of printed material makes perfect business sense. But saving money on the tools your customers use to buy from you?
Out of the companies who sent my Mum a glossy brochure, the one who got the order has now installed a further 3 fires (based on referrals from my Mum) into the houses of my Mum’s friends. And at around £2,000 per installation….
So, next time you are emailing a potential customer a photo of whatever it is you sell along with a short description, stop and think ‘I wonder if this will end up on their table when they decide who to buy from?’.