As I write it’s February 7th and I’m sitting at the laptop.
I got up this morning thinking I must remember to send my wife some flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Being a bloke I forgot.
I meant to remember yesterday.
I meant to remember the day before that.
Being a bloke it keeps going straight out of my mind.
Then five minutes ago the phone rang.
It was one of flower shops I’d been meaning to call.
One of the four I’ve got listed in my Filofax.
A very pleasant young lady said “Good morning Mister Trott, Wild At Heart here. I’ve just noticed that last year you sent your wife some flowers for Valentine’s Day, and I just wondered if you wanted to do the same again this year.”
How brilliant is that?
Look at the simple facts.
Every year Valentine’s Day falls on exactly the same date, February 14th.
Every year millions of men send flowers to wives and sweethearts.
Only men you notice, not women.
Now what men have in common is that they do it because they have to, not because they want to.
This is a distress purchase.
That’s why they have trouble remembering things like flowers.
It’s not something men are into.
But they know the Mrs is, and they know they’ll be in terrible trouble if they forget.
This is a terrific predatory opportunity for a smart flower shop.
Instead of worrying about how many customers will phone up wanting flowers this year, pre-empt it.
Make the calls to a soft target, the men who called you last year.
You know men will leave it to the last minute.
You know that means you won’t know exactly how many flowers to order.
So make the calls a week or so early.
Before the men have had time to forget about it, panic, and call up at the last minute.
That way you can get their orders before the men have a chance to call any other shop.
You’ll know well in advance exactly how many flowers you’ll need on the day.
You can stagger your orders from your suppliers rather than having to risk ordering too many and being left with more than you can sell.
Or worse still, not ordering enough and having to turn away last minute callers to your competitors.
This is an example of really smart predatory thinking.
Getting the jump on your competitors by making life easier for a massive group of regular customers.
Just by picking the low hanging fruit: men.
The people who you know want flowers and will be massively relieved that you’ve taken the problem off their hands.
You take all your competition out of the game by getting to the customers before they do.
Because you’re active while they’re passive.
You pick up the phone and dial while they’re sitting waiting for it to ring.
And with that thoroughness and attention to detail I know they’ll do a better job on the actual flowers as well.
I can relax.
Meanwhile I have three other flower-shops sitting in my Filofax wondering whether I’m going to be ringing them up this year.