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Claims: Live up to her expectations

by Lew Migliore

We expected it to last longer than this. We didn’t expect the colors to run. We didn’t expect the carpet to come off the floor. We didn’t expect to have to replace it so soon. We expected it to look a lot better than this. We didn’t expect it to get dirty so fast. We didn’t expect it to fade. We didn’t expect it to wear out under the chairs. We didn’t expect it to scratch and dent like it has. We didn’t expect the edges to curl. We didn’t expect it to mat and crush the way it has. We didn’t expect it to change colors. We didn’t expect it to fade in front of the sliding glass doors. We didn’t expect _______?

You fill in the blank here because this is what is heard across the country daily from consumers who didn’t expect you to disappoint them. People expect products they buy to perform the way they think they should. The reality of this is that they are right. When you buy a pair of jeans or sneakers, you expect to be able to wear them for a long time without them wearing out. You expect the money you spend on a product will not be wasted, especially after you’ve been told that it will live up to your expectations. When this doesn’t happen things go terribly wrong.

What is the problem here and why don’t the products you sell live up to the expectations of the people you sell them to? The problem is you not knowing what the products are really capable of doing, and not qualifying the use of the product and the end user by not asking them questions.

I love the saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get it.” If you don’t ask your customer questions about her expectations, you open yourself up for disappointment because if she is not happy, you won’t be either. In these difficult economic times, when you have to fight for every dime you make, you don’t need to give the dime away because of a complaint.

Your eagerness to make a sale does not justify selling a product that won’t work as the customer expects it to. Buying floor covering is a commitment. The space is torn apart and the products are fastened to the floor. It’s not like buying a pair of jeans and deciding you really don’t like them and bringing them back to the store. You can’t put floor covering in a bag and return it.

Be diligent

When you sell these products, you have to think about how they are going to be used. You have to ask, or qualify, the end user and end use. If you don’t have a product you think will work then you will have to find it or send her somewhere that will. There is one for every application. Today, no one wants to spend money for anything that won’t make her happy, whether it is for a cheeseburger or a carpet.

For those of you who want to dabble in the commercial market the risks are even greater. The expectations are very high and your reputation and business are on the line. If you don’t know how to play in this market then don’t get involved. We’re seeing more and more failed jobs from lack of knowledge about selling and installing commercial flooring.

To stay out of trouble ask one question of the consumer, “I want you to be happy with your purchase and us: What are your expectations for the flooring you want to purchase?” From there you have an open forum to satisfy her expectations because you’ll know what she expects. At this point you’d better know how the product you sell will actually perform or you can expect a complaint.