Those Subtle Responses

FEB 19, 2013 5:46pm ET

My wife and I have started the process of renovating our first floor after it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Our house sits on a concrete slab and so any new flooring would go directly onto the concrete.

We decided we would go with ceramic floor tiles because if there were to be another flood, it would be easier to replace (FYI, the prior flooring was linoleum. There was also a wood floor laid over a board).

From a neighbor of ours we heard about a tile store near where my wife works that had a program for people whose homes were damaged by the storm.

We went on Monday afternoon to the store and I thought things were OK, but after we left my wife indicated she was less than thrilled with the experience.

I couldn’t figure out why until a couple of hours later, when the proverbial light bulb went off over my head. I asked my wife was the problem that we were only being shown the tiles available in the discount program? She indicated it was.

My response was you never made it clear, other than through a couple small, verbal hints, that for the right price, we would be willing to pick a tile outside of the program offerings.

Have did you have clients who came in publicly expressing one thing, but did not do their loan with you even though you were the lowest cost provider?

That means, like the salesman my wife and I dealt with, you were not thorough in asking your clients all of the pertinent questions. In the refi boom, people seek to do business quickly. Take a step back, listen to the clues from the customer’s mouth, and then recraft your questions.

You might discover that what you thought they wanted and what in fact they were willing to consider were two different things.