The Standards Have Changed

Are you tired of hearing about this recession? Sure it is a reality, but is there no other good news? All we need to do to hear about hard times, the recession or the poor economy is turn on the television.

It is interesting though that most people still have cable television. While times are tough, there seems to be no way that people will get rid of cable or satellite, as these can be rationalized as essential services. It is concerning to hear that in some markets there are 20% unemployment rates. We are forgetting, however, that 80% are still employed.

Many people have made a choice to stop listening to the news because it is so seldom that the news is good. Yet, there is good news to be heard. Avoiding the inundation of negative news maintains an element of optimism staying the course of positive progression.

But the reality is that this is a different recession that we are experiencing. As evidence of how our times and standards of living has changed, just ask yourself how many televisions you had when you were growing up? You most likely had one and it was probably a black-and-white one. In this day and age, however, a flat-screen TV in nearly every room has seemingly become commonplace.

By no means do I intend to minimize the reality of our recession. I do want to point out, however, that our standard of living and how we define our wants and needs are different today than they were not so long ago.

Today, everyone seems to have a cell phone. Gone is the day of writing letters, waiting until you see someone in person to convey a message or using a public telephone in the case of an emergency. The same is true for computers. There are few people today who do not own some form of personal computer. What would we do without instant messaging, e-mail and access to the Internet at any moment?

The reality is that we are in recession; however, lifestyle and standards of consumers today are quite different than it has been in recessions of the past. Consumers define their wants and needs differently.

Recession in the Water Industry

Fortunately, we are in the water industry and are in a unique position of providing essential products and services. We need to focus on developing and implementing solutions to help our customers continue to get what they want. Statistics prove that consumers for the most part are not drinking water from the tap. It is our job to provide services at affordable prices that meet the needs of our customers. Now is a great time to grow the service portion of your business.

This is the time to go back to basics and take a hard look in your advertising and assess where you are getting your return. This is not the time to cut advertising, but the time to increase it. This may be a good time to change your advertising campaign to assure that it is current with the times.

Remember that you are selling benefits, not products or services, so your advertising needs to feature the positive benefits your customers will be receiving by doing business with you. It is important to instill confidence in your customers’ buying decision and paint a picture in their mind of life being better by doing business with you.

The general public is attracted to strength, confidence and security. The value you are offering must be greater than the price they have to pay. Introduce entry-level products that most everybody can afford. Balance your focus on service as the consumer is more receptive to safeguarding the investment they have already made compared to spending more money. Present benefits such as reduced costs and conservation, and stand behind your work with genuine guarantees.

The wants and needs of consumers have changed and water is an essential product and service even during these economic times.

Ric Harry is director of Sales and Management Support. Harry can be reached at 905.734.7756 or by e-mail at info@richarry.com.

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