From the Editor’s Desk: What are you doing to please the customer?
October 2nd, 2009

By Janet Arden, Editor

Fourth Quarter, 2009

The house next door finally sold this week after more than 30 months on the market. After all this time, the neighborhood views it as our own private housing recovery.

Along the way, of course, the home seller lowered his price, changed realtors, repainted inside and re-roofed outside. He did what was necessary—and then some—to please his potential customer. Eventually he succeeded.

What does my neighbor’s real estate saga have to do with the tile industry? Plenty, if you think in terms of successful buying and selling relationships.

My neighbor did a lot to attract the attention of today’s discriminating buyers. What are you doing to please your customers? This issue of TileDealer suggests a handful of ways for you to reach out to increasingly exacting consumers.

First, there is our cover story on mosaics. We’ve illustrated it with some colorful, complex examples—probably more than the average tile consumer would expect to install. But our illustrations are just that. The heart of the story is that mosaics— whether they are pre-set mixes of glass tile in related hues or custom, water-jet images, are accessible. As a tile dealer you can seek out and work with the right resources and offer them to your customers. What a great way for someone to finish off a long-awaited kitchen or bath remodel. If you have samples and availability, this is a nice up-sell.

We also have a feature on stone tile. Stone is extremely popular right now. It’s an upscale material that has become increasingly affordable. Traditionally it offers the seller a better margin. It also offers many buyers a look they may not have considered—until you show it to them. Once again, this assumes you have samples and availability.

Finally, this issue features a One-on-One interview with Bill Griese, standards development and green initiative manager for TCNA. Bill is a knowledgeable resource on green building in the tile industry, and we’re pleased to share his expertise in this issue. How prepared are you to answer the inevitable green building/sustainability questions your customers ask? Do you have a green story to tell showroom visitors? Do you sell green materials? Do you market them that way? Studies tell us again and again that customers are increasingly interested in green products. Can you answer their questions and do you have the products?

It’s tempting in today’s economy to hunker down until the marketplace improves. That’s fine if you want to be left with the “same old, same old.” But if you want to drive your own marketplace, attract the customers that are out there now, and build an even better following for the future, it’s time to leverage the trends that drive today’s buyer.

For the homeowner next door, the economic recovery has arrived.

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