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Installments: Going the extra mile is rewarded with success

Volume 27/Number 23; March 17/24, 2014

Stafford,-DavecolorBy David Stafford

Luck is all about taking the right steps when you get an opportunity to make a sale. This is particularly true in selling a commercial package of products.

You receive a call from Steve, a property management client you’ve pursued for over a year. “I need some help,” he says. “I’ve got a chance to land a new tenant, Magellan, for my Ascot Building property.” Ascot is a Class A property. Steve continues, “They’ll take my prime space but are really pushing me for ‘extras’, and the last area I have to wow them with is flooring. Can you put together some products and ideas for me to do a presentation on Friday?”

This is short notice, but it sounds like a great opportunity.

“Steve, I’d love to help, so let me ask you a few questions: How quickly will Magellan move into the space? Are there any restrictions on products? Have you established a budget for flooring? If you like what I put together as a package, and you get Magellan on a lease, will I get this project?”

Steve replies, “Give me three solid packages, price it right, and we’ll do business if I get the deal. They need to move in within 45 days. There is no particular product restriction, but they’ll have to pay extra over building standard.”

“I’ll visit the building this afternoon and get a feel for any possible challenges so I can pick the right product mix. Fair enough?” Steve agrees and arranges for his property manager to meet you later in the day.

The Ascot Building is an older building but in a prime downtown location. With great traditional architecture, it’s the type of building you don’t see too often. From a web search, you spot immediately that most of Magellan’s offices have a very traditional, conservative look about them, probably one reason they are attracted to Steve’s building.

You walk the space with Steve’s property manager, spot-checking the blueprints to make sure they’re accurate and make your notes. For Steve to have the best chance to close the deal, you’ll want to create three integrated product packages using different blends of products, color and texture choices. Each package theme is based upon a price point.

For this package to be successful, on-time delivery is critical, so you enlist the help of Jessica from a major multi-line mill. The presentation quality is crucial and since you only have 72 hours, you ask Louise, a freelance designer, to prepare design boards for illustration of each package theme. After several meetings with both, and a detailed review of the building, specific product selections and colors are made. Final package pricing is done and design boards are complete.

You give Steve a call to tell him you’re ready for the presentation. After a mock demonstration, you suggest Magellan will likely be most impressed with the traditional, upscale components of package C.

During the presentation, Magellan’s vice president says, “Finally, someone understands us and the look we are after; I want to go with theme C if I can afford it. Steve, you’d better sharpen your pencil.”

The following week, Magellan signs the deal for the Ascot space, although for not quite as much as Steve would have hoped. Steve requests your final numbers and asks you to do “a little better.” You do and get the job, delivered on time, and everyone gets paid. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Selling a successful package often means an unusual amount of cooperation to bring all the pieces together within a short time. Your ability to do this will make your sales and your reputation.


Dave Stafford is a lifetime member of FCICA and a flooring industry veteran with extensive commercial flooring experience. He may be contacted at