Whether you’re a tile installer, a tile salesperson or working with an interior designer or architect, it’s important that you qualify up front the intended use of the tile. Does the customer want to tile a floor or wall? Are they tiling an interior dry area or a wet area like a shower or bath? Is the tile for an exterior area? It’s very important to know the conditions to which the tile will be subjected.
For example, understanding climatic conditions are crucial for exterior applications. Not all tiles are freeze- thaw resistant. Some tiles are more slip-resistant than others. Some tiles are only suitable for residential applications, and others are more suitable for commercial or industrial applications. Be sure that you can tell the customer the tile manufacturer’s usage recommendations for their products. Don’t guess — get copies of the brochures or data sheets and read what it says to the customer.
Remember, asking qualifying questions gives you much more credibility in the eyes of the customers. They will rely on you as a consultant. The qualifying process also gives you the opportunity to offer choices to your customers. Let them know what the trade-offs are, for better or worse, relative to performance and costs. Research has shown that 68% of the time when customers are given choices they will select the better quality (more expensive) product(s). Do they want a floor warming system or a sound control system? Do they want a crack isolation membrane to prevent potential cracking? Do they want a waterproof membrane to control moisture and help prevent efflorescence or other water damaging conditions? These are win- win options. The customer gets the added value, and you increase the value of the order. In the end, your customer will be a happy customer!