Some people, as you will have experienced by yourself, just enjoy discussing their private lives in public over cell phones, preferrably in checkout lines at the grocery store, waiting areas and such, all of which admittedly invite phone calls as people are bored.
This one, however, turns the whole "experience" upside down: recently at the post office half a dozen people were waiting in line in front of the single open service counter (sigh...). A lady decides to make a cellphone call (of course) and the rest of us are forced to join the fun - even me despite of the iPod I had preemptively brought along; she was standing right in front of me. Remarkably, the call takes a turn with the lady telling her friend about a handyman she just had such a great experience with. The guy was on time, did an incredible job (exterior painting, I believe) at a much lower price than quoted by a local company, and he even came back to fix some minor issues he had overlooked. Alas, she didn't have the phone number on her so she'd have to call back and give it to her.
Amazingly, the first person in line who had interacted with the clerk at the service desk while this monologue took place then walks up to the lady and asks if he, too, might have the phone number of this remarkable handyman (nobody focuses anymore on what they are doing). And before you know it, two other people waiting in line turn around and ask her for the same thing. The lady, apologetically, collects all three phone numbers and promises to call them back.
Let's assume that this episode was purely coincidental. Yet: what a hell of a marketing opportunity!! Not only did these people approach HER and gave her permission to call them. They also had a feeling of having discovered a really great and inexpensive service provider who came with a "neutral" endorsement by a happy customer.
What if anyone perfected this as a marketing strategy? She would have walked out of this post office with three sales in her pocket, enough to make a handyman happy for months. What other products or services would be suited for this kind of approach? Anything local, I should think. Is anyone actually doing this already?
Thanks for your time,