Some things in life, while appealing to large audiences, are individually crafted, produced, or marketed to appeal to a very limited audience. Clothing is a great example of this. While there are hundreds of items available in retails stores, street vendors, and online outlets, from shoes to hats, there are only a few styles, colors, and sizes that appeal to each of us. The rest of them might as well not even exist.
Technically, we could wear many other types of shoes than we do, but they just aren’t comfortable, don’t match our personality, or we just don’t like the way they look on us. Personal preference. This is likely why there are so many different selections available. This, of course, can be a merchants dilemma. How do they keep a variety of sizes, colors, and styles in stock to ready for our purchase (or someone like us) if and when we come along?
This leads us to aging in place products and solutions. In most cases, there will not be a retail showroom displaying room vignettes and suggested solutions. True, there are many kitchen and bath showrooms, lighting displays, furniture, cabinets, doors and door hardware, windows, flooring, appliances, mirrors, and many other products on display for examination and purchase, but these are not presented as a specific use within a dwelling space to accommodate the occupants. They are shown in a general setting for us to get ideas on how we or our clients might apply them in a solution.
People would not by an aging in place kitchen that was on display at a showroom and have every piece in it delivered and installed for them. There might be many parts of it that they would want. There could be others that aren’t applicable to their situation. Remember, each person has their own needs, and each dwelling comes with its own set of parameters and criteria.
If we lose sight of the fact that aging in place solutions are individual and designed on a case-by-case, one-at-a-time, living-space-specific basis, we risk trying to sell our services rather than understanding the client’s needs and concerns and then addressing them. We are there to serve them, not make a sale although making some type of a sale will need to happen before we can move forward with completing the solution that we agree upon for them.
To get started in working with our clients, we first will listen to what they think is concerning them, we will take a look at the living space for ourselves to see what we notice and if we agree with their assessment of the situation, and then we can proceed to creating a solid solution that will help them.
It’s a multistage process, but it all begins will listening to the client. We have to allow them to share what’s on their mind and then interpret that to provide a solution that will address their needs. Sometimes a very limited budget will factor into what we can provide so we will have to be creative in our approach. When we can’t offer them everything that we think they need or that they request, we’ll have to help them prioritize the most important improvements or help them identify possible funding sources they are unaware of or haven’t considered.
When we approach working with our clients as providing a service rather than making a sale or entering their home with any type of agenda, we can be the most helpful to them. It doesn’t matter what they purchase from us or how much they spend. Clearly, we would appreciate a sizable job because we are in business to make money, but more than that, we should be in the aging in place services business to serve our clients. Service first, profit second.
Profit is not unimportant. It can’t be. It’s that it is secondary to serving the needs of our clients. Otherwise, this business may not be the best fit for us.
When our clients see that our motive for working with them is to create a solution that is beneficial for them and truly allows them to function well and safely in the home environment as they continue to remain there long-term, they will want to work with us. They will enjoy working with a company that puts them and their needs first and making the sale second. The sale will come – it’s the validation of the proposal we create to serve their needs. It just needs to be done in the correct order and with the right motivation. Trying to make a sale without knowing what is needed or because we generally recommend a certain approach is to sidestep the service approach that we need to embrace and illustrate to them.
When we have their best interests in mind, it will show and they will want to work with us.