Now “this” is an irresistible offer!

For sale: Building lots for Ten Bucks, in Reston, Manitoba.


Imagine that you’re the Reeve (think “Mayor”) of a small town in Manitoba, where the population (and the tax base) keeps falling. Oops, will the school have to close? Few real business/work opportunities for kids who’d like to stay (or return after going away to college). And no sign that things are going to get better any time soon. This is called “depopulation” and it’s the plague of many small rural communities.
So. Whaddya do? Well. If you’re Ross Tycoles, Reeve of Reston, Manitoba (part of the Regional Municipality of Pipestone), you get creative. You get way outta the box – and way off the wall – and you give away building lots for just $10 each – with (almost) no strings attached. Details? Click here to watch this CTV video:

There’s a catch, but it’s mighty small!

Yes there’s a catch. Buyers have to pay a $1000 deposit that they forfeit if they haven’t built a home on their lot within a year. And, of course, buyers have to be able to pay for the cost of building their home. I called Pipestone Economic Development Officer, Tanis Chalmers, to ask if there were any other strings attached. She said no – then told me that the town is offering even more. When their new home is completed, buyers receive a cheque for 3% of the cost of construction. Wow. And there’s more still. To give entrepreneurs an incentive to buy, build and do business in Reston, the town offers them grants up to $32,000 toward the cost of buying or building a business structure. Amazing.

Town population has increased by 25%

Someone in Pipestone must have read my MD article on irresistible offers. If they did, they learned that it costs nothing to make an offer like this – when what you give up front, is compared to what you get back. Tanis explained that the lots are owned by the municipality and would normally sell for about $50k each – meaning there is a complete payback on this “giveaway” over the typical life span of a mortgage. Another way to look at this is to think about what it would cost the town to have those lots sitting empty, as more and more people left for greener pastures. Bottom line: The town’s population of about 550 has swollen by 25%, with many more people on the way. Another hotel and restaurant are being built. And jobs abound in this new piece of Canada’s oil patch – where there’s a high demand for workers and businesses in the trades. Perfect.

Your call to action

Okay. Do you remember me writing about “the lifetime value of a customer?” I said we need to calculate the annual total of both repeat and referral purchases by our customers/clients – then multiply this by the number of years, on average, that our customers stay with us. This shows us the real value of a new customer – and gives us a huge incentive to offer new customers a huge incentive to join us. (When you think “tax payer” instead of “customer” you get the Reston story.) If you haven’t done this calculation, why not do it now – paying close attention to the value of repeat business sent to you each year by your delighted clients. The results may amaze you – and if they do, why not dream up a daring offer like Reston’s? Go on. I dare you.
See you Thursday.


Ps – BIG NEWS for people in the wood products mfg. business:

If you’re in the wood products business, and if you’re located in the Vancouver area, I have really exciting news for you. Iain Macdonald, Managing Director of UBC’s  Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP), is launching a new group called “Outside the Box.” The group’s purpose is to act as a kind of skunk works, where builders, buyers and specifiers of wood products (doors and windows, floors, kitchens, engineered wood products, timber frame and factory built homes, custom furniture, etc) will get together each month to brainstorm product innovation ideas. CAWP will follow through by running new product ideas through a reality check process, then report back on the viability of those ideas – encouraging makers and manufacturers to take the good ideas and turn them into commercial products.
This is huge for those of us who believe that much more can and should be done with wood before it’s sold. The group’s first meeting will be held on November 22, and “you” are invited to attend. To learn more and to join CLICK HERE. I’m delighted to report that I will be participating as a Co-organizer – but – darn it – I will have to miss this inaugural meeting, because I’ll be in Kelowna that week, working hands-on (coincidentally), with three wood products manufacturers – Norelco Cabinets, Cucina Del Re Kitchens and Tolko’s remanufacturing plant. See you at the December meeting?


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