What is your heli skiing "tipping point"?
I am fascinated by the concept of ‘tipping point’ as it relates to the commitment to go heli skiing (for first timers), not in the collective sense of the market, but in the individual sense. In business speak, the tipping point normally refers to the moment when a product or service achieves mass adoption. For Facebook it was several years ago, for Groupon it’s more recent. As an expert on heli skiing, I wish I was better at determining the individual tipping points of my clients sooner. It might allow me to better manage my time and disappointment. Here’s what I mean.
I received a phone call from a client yesterday who was planning a trip for 2012 for his group to Canada. After chatting for a few minutes about what he was looking for, I told him that it was good for him to be planning now this far in advance, and getting the buy in for the options from the whole group. To my surprise, he told me that he’s actually been planning this for a couple of years already and they are now ready to book. I naturally wondered what’s changed between now and the previous two years that he’s been looking into it? He told me that although he had been looking into it himself on the web, he was perplexed because of the complexity and enormity of the options and just the lack of simple knowledge about options which matters for such an important and large purchase. He confessed that he’d finally decided to use a ‘broker’ since he realized that this minimizes his risk and that it’s much easier to consult with someone who knows the score than guess from internet surfing and direct enquiries with venues which are prone to bias. I confirmed to him that since it costs him nothing to use us, and we offer so much choice, why wouldn’t he? He concurred and within a short conversation, (i.e. compared to two years of his investigations) we had pinpointed a couple of suitable options for his group and budget along with extra, important info from our first hand experience such as access, flights, and pre ski options.
In contrast, I received a call from another client who was pretty adamant he was going to book a trip for himself this season as a single traveler (I sensed he might have had some family troubles recently since the emphasis was on him being solo). So as I always do, I took his particular requirements into consideration, invested considerable time with him, followed up as necessary with the operator parties, answered all of his objection questions, such that his perfect trip was now presented to him. Then I called him to progress the booking, and he was rather nervous and told me that ‘He couldn’t get the time off work now’, clearly something we couldn’t help him with. Of course, even if I could know he wasn’t really ‘committed’, I would still help him as much as I could, because what I now realized, was that whether it was true or not, I guess he just hadn’t reached his personal tipping point to commit to the amazing experience that heli skiing is.
The thing that confuses me the most of all of this, is that there is considerable witness and evidence from people who do heli ski that it’s either ‘the best day of their life’ or ‘the best thing they have ever done’, so I just can’t help but wonder why so many people’s tipping points seem so high and take so long to reach.