Push Beyond the Trends 8/28/2012 10:00:00 AM
Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and wood flooring have been the big buzzwords in the housing industry. Almost any time you turn on “House Hunters” or “My First Place” on HGTV, the prospective homeowner is saying those buzzwords as must-haves in their homes. Hot trends versus realistic product choice are one of the biggest challenges for trade professionals.
Emerson Schwartzkopf writes about Consumer Reports’ evaluation of countertop materials in its July issue. The results: Quartz wins. Granite comes in second. He adds that quartz takes top place for the seventh year in a row. The product that comes in last? Bamboo. Another buzz product.
It often falls on the trade professional to educate the consumer on why a certain product is right or wrong for an application. Results of third-party research and what is in vogue often conflict.
When I meet with trades professionals, I almost always ask them how they get their clients from unrealistic expectations to educated consumers. The answers always vary. Some professionals believe it’s their duty to educate their clients. Others, point their clients in a direction and have them educate themselves. And then third category of professionals say, they are the client and will do whatever the client wants.
No matter what camp you fit in, everyone wants the same result: A happy customer and good referral. You are the expert, you’ve done the research, and you have the experience to know which product makes sense. Encourage your client to fall on your guidance. Trends come and go, but quality lasts.