It started with a simple conversation between me and a Canadian friend about the great service called “Nexus” at the U.S. / Canadian border where you can fairly quickly go through a special lane instead of waiting in lines, sometimes up to 2 hours long, in exchange for some up-front paperwork.
A U.S. Customs officer and I had a similar conversation recently. He said he suggests to his friends who go between the two countries even a few times a year the value in getting a Nexus card – for $75 or so, it is good for five years. At about $15 a year, it is one of the best bargains on earth! I can’t even count up all the time I’ve saved as a frequent driver between Vancouver BC and Seattle. It is a “no brainer” – not only from the standpoint of time savings, but there is another thing too. You are treated more courteously and professionally in this line. Could it be because one must get fingerprinted by both governments, and succumb to answering many questions plus agree to not transporting certain things, such as business materials or foods prohibited across the border? Sure. And it is well worth the trouble.
Here’s the funny thing. It does take a proactive effort, some time, organization, and a few bucks upfront to do this. Yet why wouldn’t everyone do so? That is the question I tie into perceived value and your business’ value proposition. To my friends across the border, at this point in time, it just isn’t a priority. I get that. it’s no different when you have a compelling value proposition for your goods or services – but the time just isn’t right YET. Perhaps that time is just around the corner, or next year. For now, if one border crossing looks too full, they drive over to the “truck route” – and if THAT crossing is full, they drive 20 minutes further to another crossing. Hmm. time = money… but it doesn’t seem to impact them at this time.
This is the key: nurture marketing. If the Nexus pass was a product I sold, I’d put my Canadian friends in my database (with their permission, of course) and contact them regularly with value-based stories of how others have saved time, increased satisfaction (by knowing they didn’t have to drive two or three different places to cross the border) and ease of obtaining. Eventually the time will be right, and they are a “warm” lead. Do this enough, and voila! – no more cold calling!
What story can you relate to nurturing prospective customers? Post your thoughts – it helps others.