Home Inventory Service Industry Continues To Develop

There aren’t many industries that have been around for what many would call “forever” and still be in – what would appear to be – its infancy. But the home inventory industry is one of those.

In the fall of 2008, I published an article titled Home Inventory Service – A Growing Industry. It was true then, as I cited there were only about 20 known service providers in the United States in 2004 and by 2008 over 500 had been established. The numbers continue to grow.

Unfortunately, I hear of many inventory companies not achieving success. This, then, has hurt or slowed down the success of others. For instance, when we first met with insurance agents, we had a fair amount of naysayers. More than one agent told us of previous home inventory service providers who quit their business without notice. The insurance professionals had been referring their clients and then found they had no one to continue to take care of the inventories as promised. Thus, we were told to come back in one and a half to two years, and if we were still in business, they would refer us. That is a long time to wait! It reminds me of a college graduate who can’t get a job because he has no experience – how do you get experience when no one will provide the opportunity for you to have a job?

Another reason for it taking a while to become a known service is the variance within the industry. Mostly a mom-and-pop type of ownership, there is little consistency from one to the other. Some use video while others take still photos. The written reports (for those that even offer one) vary as well. Through my research, I find that some inventory service providers offer online backup, others keep CDs in safety deposit boxes, and still others don’t offer any type of backup at all. There are just as many options for updating an inventory from none offered to annual renewal options to keep the information current.

The customers, or target markets, are just as varied. Some companies offer just home inventories while others serve the commercial market as well.

Possibly the reasons for the service is the biggest differentiator. Disaster preparedness and recovery were and remain the key known purposes of a personal property inventory. When you don’t know what you own, and have to file an insurance claim, you will recover from a disaster with a higher settlement when you can remember and prove what you own.

There are other needs served by an inventory; each come with slight differences in some of the process. For example, when creating an inventory for estate settlement, knowledge of fair market value is imperative. Some inventory service provides might not have that desire to offer this type of service. This explains the inconsistency in what type of inventories are provided from company to company. Additionally, some inventory companies offer after disaster inventory assistance, while others choose not to.

This industry is very loose, with no certification or registration required. This makes it important for those who want to purchase an inventory service to get a referral.

To help create standardization, there are groups forming to share ideas. Another option is to purchase a turnkey business package where all the Group Members are trained and receive continuing mentoring from the founders to help create consistency within the industry. This will help ensure a standardized process throughout the country, with a group of companies all providing the same process, working together to offer solid, professional services.

The consistency will also open the door for others to enter this rewarding field. This will, in turn, encourage the industry to continue to develop at a much faster pace.

Every Industry is a Service Industry

The other day I was involved in a discussion group in which a sales rep for a small IT company was asking for suggestions on acquiring more leads. Several good suggestions came up. One person offered that the most important thing the sales person needed to do was understand his company’s product. Another recommended creating a detailed client profile. Still others offered thoughts on everything from cold calling to direct response.

I think we confused the poor fellow.

Here was a person who was trying to attract more customers to his company, but he wasn’t being given any clear direction as to how to go about doing so. No wonder he was so eaten up with anxiety. He wanted simple solutions for bringing in business leads.

We were all off base in the suggestions we gave him.

Time and again companies face the same difficulties:

  • Attracting customers.
  • Retaining the customers they have attracted.
  • Helping customers be successful with their products and services.
  • Keeping the right employees engaged and focused on delivering the company’s unique value to both external and internal customers.

When companies lose their focus, they do none of these well.

It is a company’s focus on (a) what it does consistently well and (b) what sort of business it sets itself up to be that makes the difference. When the company’s focus strays, customers know it and start looking elsewhere for answers to their problems.

What keeps companies focused is attention to the right things as modeled by its leaders and practiced by every employee, every single day. You cannot store attention. You must remember and reinforce what the company does consistently well, what its chosen business principles are, and who it serves not just once in awhile, but ideally in every meeting, at every point of contact, in every moment.

In the case of the IT company sales person looking for leads, the most important thing his company can do is take stock of what it is, what it does, and who it serves. It must use those elements to create the compass that points toward its ideal customers. Armed with such information, the sales rep cannot help but be successful.

It all comes down to who we serve, doesn’t it, and how we serve them, not the other way around. It isn’t our products or services that matter.

It’s our focus on serving the wants of the customer that makes all the difference.

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UPS – The Founding of UPS, How It Works and Competes in the Delivery Service Industry

UPS was started is a tiny basement office more than a century back, in 1907, by two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan. They helped deliver packages on their two bicycles and had one motto – “best service and lowest rates,” a formula that helped UPS’ success for more than 90 years.

UPS is one of the three leading international delivery companies in the world today, its main competitors are DHL and Fedex. It delivers more than 13 million parcels across USA and to 200 other countries. The one thing that has helped UPS rise up in the face of stiff competition is its over $1 billion dollar investment in the latest and the best advanced information technology, along with its serious efforts in keeping its costs down.

Just like every other international delivery company, UPS too has a fleet of transport vehicles and aircraft, and it owns the latest packing and forwarding equipment. It is also well-networked with committed and loyal service providers.

What really sets UPS apart are its no-nonsense, serious brand building messages and advanced technology. Today, a UPS vehicle driver can use a DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) to capture a customer’s signature on pick-up and relay the information in real-time by placing the DIAD in an information-disseminator device that is equipped in the pickup/delivery truck. This information gets relayed to UPS’ office and from there on get uploaded on the web. UPS’ customers can then track the delivery of their shipment in real-time.

UPS has also invested in an advanced automated package tracking system that helps monitor packages at every stage of the delivery process. This system involves scanning of the bar code on the consignment. Data is uploaded on a central server in real time and it helps the company figure out the status of the package, and respond to customer queries. This information is also uploaded on UPS’ website and its customers are kept informed of every stage in the delivery process.

The UPS website makes it easy for customers to determine transit time, arrange shipments, bill shipments to their online account with UPS, or pay by credit card. UPS also provides its customers with many tools, which they can build into their own website and use these to make various calculations without having to visit the UPS site.

UPS’ UPS Supply Chain Solutions division provides a package of services to subscribers at a very low rate. These services include supply chain design, freight handling, finance, customs, transport and more. Companies can save a ton of money by subscribing to such packages because it helps them save on creating their own freight department.

It is the advanced technology that makes UPS stand apart from its competitors. Plus, it has a clean, no-nonsense, serious image which it plays up in its advertisements. It believes that transportation of goods and supply chain logistics are serious business and that is why it has strived to maintain such an image, much to the delight of many of its customers who are looking for a straight and no-nonsense logistics partner. UPS is the oldest of all the international delivery companies, and the youngest and the best when it comes to high technology supply chain logistics.

How to Choose an Ebook Topic to Pre-Sell Your Professional, Consulting Or Business Services

Knowing how to choose the right eBook topic for attracting qualified leads is a highly desirable skill for marketing online. However, it cannot be seen as a “magic pill” and it requires a strong knowledge of your market. If you suspect that you (or your staff) may not possess the requisite knowledge to make the right choice, you should supplement your current level of knowledge with further internet market research.

Unlike many internet marketers who start without a true grounding in the fundamentals of business, your real world education has most likely shown you that the path to business success is achieved through connected systems and processes – systems and processes for creating products and services, for serving clients, for selling them add-on services, and for catering to their needs and problems when those come up.

While one eBook is not likely to make anyone rich in today’s internet, an eBook can be incorporated into a well thought-out process to generate leads and improve conversions for a business that sells big ticket products and services.

How to Create an eBook That Sells

The first step in creating an eBook that connects the right leads and prospects to your service is to make sure that you have done your research into your target market. If you have a current customer or client base, you may be able to survey them for their needs or examine their purchase history to determine what information your target prospects would find irresistible in an ebook.

Whether your company is a B2B (Business to Business) company or a B2C (Business to Consumer) organization, the way you position your eBook content will have to connect with them emotionally as well as logically. Since the categories of human needs and wants generally have not changed in the last three thousand years, you may find that your target market will find some of the following ideas useful.

1. Making Money or Saving Money
2. Attaining Success Or Community Respect
3. Weight Loss, Nutrition and Dieting
4. Fixing Medical Problems
5. Beauty and Looking Good
6. Relationships – Business And Personal
7. Family and Parenting

These 7 areas above are connected to deep emotional hunger and needs that people have in common – regardless of whether they are a “work at home” mom or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Each of these areas can be woven to a particularly valuable context for your target prospect.

You may not think that some of the 7 core areas above are relevant to a B2B marketing effort, but you would be wrong. With just a little adjustment in focus and in scope, you will find that all these topic ideas above have a B2b corollary. For instance here are 7 content ideas for b2b marketers using the above list as a template.

1. 303 Ways To Save Costs In Your Business (Making/ Saving Money)
2. The Fast Track To Thought Leadership In Your Industry (Success And Respect)
3. Boost Productivity Through Employee Nutrition Education Programs (Weight loss, Nutrition)
4. How A Physically Healthy Organization Boosts Productivity And Lowers Costs. (Medical)
5. Why Every Customer-Facing Employee Needs Image Coaching (Beauty, Looking Good)
6. How To Connect Quickly And Easily With People (Relationships)
7. How To Drastically Reduce Absenteeism Through Family Skills Training (Family)

There are literally hundreds and thousands of potential eBook topics that you can create around your business and your market. For these ebooks to be helpful in your lead generation and nurturing, they have to resonate with both the emotional and logical needs of your prospects and customers.