More Business Lessons Learned During my Home Renovation

Well, here we are, about three weeks into the renovation of my primary bathroom and laundry room.  And for the most part it has been going extremely well.  Dare I say that I might have learned a few things (or a hundred things) about this process when we renovated our kitchen two years ago that are serving me very well this time around.  

BUT . . .

One thing I have not learned how to get around is dealing with salespeople who automatically assume that I want the cheapest and smallest of the options available in my new bathroom.  

In all my conversations with one particular vendor, I have repeatedly said, we are not looking for the cheapest option, we are not going to do this again for a VERY long time.  Please show me the best options available for the things we need in our home, no matter the cost.  We will then decide if we want to choose the top of the line items or go another direction.  

You would think that because I was very clear about what I wanted and was looking for that she would have bent over backward to show me things that were available.  I mean, bring on the Bluetooth bathtub with the led lights, the motion detection on the toe lights under the cabinets, the biggest heated towel rack you can find, I want to see ALL of it.  

But what did she do?  She quoted me heated towel rack that only holds one towel???ONE.  So do I just fight every morning with my Hubs on who gets the comfy, warm towel?  A bathtub without the lights (according to her, we weren't really going to see them anyway) , and items that were subpar when it comes to longevity and style.  

From my perspective, it felt like she made assumptions on my husband and I that we could not afford the top of the line items.  Was that because we showed up to the showroom in a 10 year old Nissan, or that my husband is black (I HATE thinking that) or that my Coach purse is a couple years old, or that my jeans were ripped (umm, don't all jeans come ripped these days) , or that I didn't have make-up on, or that I wasn't wearing my big wedding ring, the my husband wasn't wearing his ring?   

Did she think any of these things?  I hope not.  I have a hunch that it  was her projecting her own ideas and limited budget onto my project.  She didn't want those things, so why would I? 

So here is the photography lesson in all of this:  


Why is this such a big deal?  Well, working with her has made me feel bad.   It has made me feel like what I wanted for my home wasn't appropriate.  It has made the process much harder because of her ordering things for us that we returned and had to wait several more weeks for the correct item.  Her judgements and mistakes have literally caused a three week delay in my project that we wouldn't be experiencing if she had listened to what we wanted and were looking for from the beginning. 

  • Will we refer her to others?  Absolutely not
  • Will we tell our designer of the struggles we have had dealing with her?  Absolutely
  • Will we return to her for future projects?  Absolutely not
  • Will I use my experience with her as a lesson on how not to treat clients on my blog and for my future speaking engagements?  Absolutely

If you don't think that placing your limited money mindset, judgements, and budget ideas on your clients isn't a big deal, think again.  It is a huge deal.  HUGE!  It could literally be killing your business and the worst part of it is that you will never know why the clients stop calling or the referrals dry up.  

We all have limited beliefs when it comes to money and we all have personal biases when it comes to how others spend their money in our studio.  The key is making sure that none of those things show when working with our clients.  Embrace the big spenders, the people who want all the bells and whistles, show clients everything, assume they want it all.  Trust me, there are many people out there just like me who do want it all.  Give it to them.  

Don't be like the salesperson in Pretty Woman.  



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