Deck Builders Give a Lesson on How to Sell

When I get really good service, I feel the need to share it because, unfortunately, it seems all too rare.

I’ve been wanting to add a backyard deck to my house for the past two years, but never got around to actually getting it done. During that time, I met with quite a few different builders. Each one would meet with me briefly, then give me a quote that varied considerably from one person to the next, and would base it on either cedar or pressure-treated wood. I’ve had my heart set on cedar from the get go. Love the look of it. But I’m a low-maintenance kind of a guy, and the more I thought about the idea of sanding and staining my deck every spring, the less appealing it looked. I came across a composite material at Home Depot one day that looked like cedar and thought, “That’s it!” Doesn’t look quite as good as the real thing, but would give me what I’m after. Still need to settle on a builder though.

It turns out my colleague’s husband is a carpenter and he, along with his partner, build decks all the time. Arranged a time for them to come over. Expecting a brief meeting and a follow-up quote based on what I wanted, instead the two of them went over all the options available to me, and the pros and cons of each. They informed me that composite material is very expensive, about 2-3 times more than cedar (I actually thought it would be cheaper than cedar). It also has colour variations and still suffers from some weathering issues based on their experience. Cedar looks great, but is high maintenance. Also, most of the cedar being used now in Vancouver isn’t old growth, so it’s soft and dents easily. Pressure-treated wood is the the most affordable, but can flake and crack – I know this first-hand, because my current tiny deck is made of it. After walking through my house, they offered up a fourth option they felt would give me what I’m looking for, and would fit with the design of the house – one that no one prior to them had suggested: building a solid floor deck with slate tiling. It’s very low-maintenance, fits with the interior of the house, and is cost-effective. For the first-time in the process of wanting to add a deck, I felt informed to make a decision that fits my needs. Rather than just telling me what I wanted to hear, they took the time to educate me with the facts, and with no pressure to buy or make a quick decision. This is what effective sales is all about – empower your customer with the information they need to make a purchasing decision they feel confident about. It goes a long ways to getting repeat business and referrals.

I went with the fourth option, the one I never considered before meeting them. Thanks guys.


Filed under Business, Customer Service, marketing, Referrals, Sales, Selling, Small Business Marketing, Word-of-Mouth

3 responses to “Deck Builders Give a Lesson on How to Sell

  1. lance

    Where are the pics?

  2. Still being worked on. Should be completed in another week or so. I’ll post pics up then. Cheers! Rajan

  3. I know here in central Canada we wouldn’t be able to do tile on a deck due to too many freeze thaw cycles. The smallest imperfection would cause the tiles to pop…and even delaminate the layers of slate.

    I can see where it may work well there. Just make sure that the sub surface stays perfectly dry during installation.

    Worst case scenario you can always go over the whole thing after and apply duradeck membrane.

    I can certainly see where stain would be a nightmare to apply in a rainforest!


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