When times are good and money is flowing, specialize; when times are not so good and money is tight, telescope. Telescoping is our marketing rule of thumb for extending or adding to the range of services you provide to existing customers without undoing your reputation in the business specialty you have developed. It means listening with both eyes and ears for things they need that you could offer to do for them more economically than they could do for themselves by turning to other specialists. Some people telescope instinctively but at times finding ways to telescope what you offer to the particular needs of your customers may require some thought. Here’s how it works.
- If you’re a contractor doing work at a home or office learn your customer needs to cut energy costs, ask if you might retrofit their windows or adapt the roof so it can be turned into a roof garden that will provide greater insulation. Similarly you can offer to help homeowners seeking to cut rising food bills by building a greenhouses or cold frames.
- If you’re a home inspector and notice your client is concerned about energy costs, you might suggest an energy audit. Energy auditors go by several names — energy raters, building analysts, and home performance specialists — but whatever the service is called, it’s an effective way for people to get the information they need to cut back on soaring electricity, natural gas, propane, or heating oil bills
- If you’re a real estate agent and your potential client is concerned about whether their home will sell, you can offer to stage the home so it’s presented in the way most attractive to buyers. Staging results in a quicker sale and a higher price.
- If you’re a travel agent helping a bridge and groom with travel arrangements for a destination wedding out of the country, you can offer to coordinate with the wedding organizer in the distant locale.
- If you’re a tax preparer and notice a client is downsizing their bookkeeping staff, you might offer to do their bookkeeping as an outside service.
As you can see, telescoping enables you to either expand what you offer or contract back to your unique niche depending on the demands of economy. Adapted from a column we wrote for Costco Connection. For an initial free consultation to explore this or another sustainable livelihood that bests suits your personality and your community, contact us. [maxbutton id=”1″] Comments on the substance of the blogs are welcome. If you have other questions, please contact me directly.