As I stood in front of the bare shelves of my local grocery store, wondering if I was going to have to use leaves for my personal needs for the foreseeable future, two thoughts crossed my mind:
1. I want and need toilet paper and I will do just about anything to get it.
2. Damn, I bet Charmin is having a banner year.
These days, people's needs and wants have changed pretty drastically - and it will be that way for a while.. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be talking almost daily with friends and family members about where I could find TP and chicken and yearn to overpay for a meal just to get out of the house for an hour.
As business owners, it's up to us to recognize those changing needs and meet people where they are. In other words, we need to become people's toilet paper.
There are three things that started the Toilet Paper Rush of 2020 and we would be wise to take this as a loose roadmap as to what we can do. Let's take a look.
Angel Soft didn't do some high-priced advertising campaign that made everyone go out and buy it and yet the toilet paper didn't just disappear on its own. Everyone was talking about it. Sales of toilet paper were out of control purely by word-of-mouth and that led to scarcity which led to more buying. People were saying to each other, "You need to get this and you need to get it now."
BRAINSTORMING QUESTIONS: How can you utilize more word-of-mouth/referrals with your business? How can you get others talking about how much your services are needed? What do you provide that people need right now?
Yes, we need toilet paper, but when the rush was on, I had several conversations with friends about what they would do and what they would use if they couldn't find any. For the first time in the U.S., bidet sales went through the roof. In other words, customers will get creative about filling their needs...and so should you.
BRAINSTORMING QUESTIONS: If it feels like your services aren't needed right now...why is that? What can you alter to make yourself more necessary and fill the needs of your customers?
We don't just use toilet paper once and then we're done. Well, I guess we do, but the bottom line is that we always need more. If you're a service provider who thinks that their services are a "one and done" thing, it might be time to think outside the box. How can you provide ongoing services beyond your initial connection with the client? Online courses? Support groups?
Here's an example: When I work with CDFAs (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst), I don't just focus their social media on divorce; I add in pieces about dating after divorce, coping, support, self-care...anything I can think of that a client might need after the CDFA has worked with the client. That makes MY client valuable to THEIR client. And that goes a long way to helping with point #1 of this blog.
BRAINSTORMING QUESTIONS: What will my client need after they purchase my product or service? How can I provide them with these resources?
We would all like to be the next toilet paper of the pandemic, the product or service the public can't get enough of. It's all about knowing your ideal client and meeting them where they are right now. And being a little soft and comforting.