The power of suggestion

Many years ago in another life I spent considerable time in the company of sheep. This was back in the days when wool was primarily used for making heavy garments to keep soldiers warm in faraway wars, and lamb was frozen for the long trip to the "mother country". And a good background for the shaping of a lifelong vegetarian. But that's another story entirely.

What was fascinating about spending time with sheep , and I hasten to add that my time with sheep involved mustering sheep, dipping sheep, shearing sheep, docking lambs and from time to time killing sheep for dog tucker, was what one could learn from sheep. Probably not as much as one could learn about mice by moving their cheese, but valuable lessons nevertheless.

All sheep are not alike.There are different breeds of sheep, specifically bred for different types of terrain, different types of wool and meat. These different breeds have different characteristics, but there are some things they have in common.

One of them is that whereas cattle love to run downhill, sheep hate it. Trying to muster sheep downhill through a gate is an exercise in frustration. But get one sheep through the gate, and they all follow. Sheep are great followers. If one just sets off in a direction, the rest of the mob is sure to follow.

As a more evolved species, humans don't have the same problem of finding one of us to set off in a particular direction, so that we can follow. We have the media to tell us which direction we need to be moving, and regrettably we are all too quick to obey. Unfortunately we don't stop to ponder the thought that bad news sells for the media, so it is entirely in their short term interest to promote negativity.

Currently the story that is boosting sales is the return of the recession - or the so-called "double-dip". Whilst we seem all too ready to swallow this line, perhaps there is a case for pause and thought.

The reality as we are seeing it is quite different. We are not back in the boom times. But that is a good thing. However, we are seeing good levels of business being done. The difference is perhaps that we are starting to see some differentiation between quality and crap.

Just as there is a pricing gap now apparent between quality buildings and second rate buildings, so is a massive gap opening up between the perception of quality and poor service.

Increasingly patrons understand that they can get service - as opposed to a sullen, couldn't-care-less, why are you bothering me bad attitude - and it doesn't cost any more. So when they can get real service, why would they bother with a poor substitute?

Here at Expedio we are currently seeing good levels of business being done. Buildings are being bought and sold and leased. And it fascinates us that the business is being done by the agents who provide the service. Not the agents who try to sell us their fancy books, or try to persuade us to allow them to put up signs, but the agents who work the streets and their databases - and of course report regularly to their vendors. It's the agents who return calls to punters who do the business - not the ones who turn their phones off because they can't be bothered. It's the agents who bother to work out the reasons to buy who write the contracts.

We are convinced that if we are due for a double dip then it will be like Halley's comet - stand in the garden looking up on a clear night otherwise you will miss it. There are currently too many positives in our economy to see it tanking in the near future. But one of the good things to come out of the global financial meltdown has been that where service is concerned, increasingly there is recognition of quality.

As for the sheep, well we are somewhat more evolved as a species, and we don't have to believe and follow just because the media want to lead us in a certain direction. We do have the ability to discern and create quality, and therefore thrive and prosper even when those around us are crying double dip.