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Monday, June 27, 2011

Can consumers buy time (from you)?

Yesterday’s New York Times had an important story about people who have lost a major “career” job, and who are now piecing-together several part-time positions to make ends meet.  Click  here to see the story.  

Implications:  When it comes to surviving the current economic environment, many people have devised creative and sometimes dramatic measures to make life work.

Think about that.  Once upon a time, we might have assumed a C- or VP-level executive to be a terribly busy person; an important customer for whom time is more precious than money.  On the other hand, one might have assumed that workers in a less stressful job had plenty of time on their hands… and that they might see savings a few bucks as more important than saving time.    

Well, you can toss those assumptions into a bin labeled “1999 stereotypes that no longer apply.”

Consider the middle-aged adult (or anyone) who lost a career job somewhere during the Great Recession… and who is now working two or three jobs (or more) to make ends meet.  Consider how tired and frazzled they are, and how little spare time they might have. 

What does your company, product or service do to help time-sensitive consumers make ends meet, either in terms of cost savings, or in the way it helps them save time… and take a much needed break?  Are you doing everything you can to streamline the transaction time?  Are you making it easy for people shop or research their purchase via your website?  Are you open extended hours, and is your staff respectful of their customers’ time?

There is an old saying that “you can’t buy time.”  But you can sure sell products and services that help people save it.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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