My husband and I have recently been in the market for a new bathroom. The back story is, that last year we moved into a beautiful new house, and immediately discovered that the previous occupants had lived there for 9 years without a shower (how does anyone do that?!?!) No problem we thought, we’ll just get a plumber in, tile up the wall and put in a shower above the bath.
So we bought our shower kit, a whole load of crazily priced mosaics, arranged the tiler and plumber and waited for the transformation to happen.
But inevitably it wasn’t to be as simple as we’d hoped. The tiles behind the bath didn’t sound right and the tiler suspected that water was leaking through to the stud wall behind. This was where we discovered, that what looked like a perfectly attractive and well put together bathroom, was actually a botch job, that warranted taking the whole thing apart and starting from scratch.
So we stuck up some very unattractive tile boards and decided to get a new bathroom.
… 1 year later …
Does anyone else find that it takes a long time to actually get moving on projects like this?
We sourced 2 bathroom design companies and this is our experience with the second one.
The first visit
One Saturday morning, I popped down to the local franchise showroom and was immediately greeted by a very friendly young woman called Joanne. After I had a look around their lovely showroom, she explained that their process is to sit down with clients first, understand their needs, show them some products and THEN if they are happy with that, they come round and put together a free design based on their specifications. Following this, they arrange a meeting to discuss the design and provide the quotation.
The second visit
After a disappointing design meeting with Design Company No. 1; I phoned Joanne as we were pulling away in the car and arranged a meeting for an hour later.
We arrived with my 5 year old daughter in tow, to find a lovely pot of tea and a plateful of little muffins and flapjacks. They were a big hit with my daughter. We then proceeded to have a detailed discussion around our requirements, our budget, and what we were looking for.
The whole experience was really friendly, chatty and relaxed. We arranged for Joanne to come round to our house that week, and made an appointment to view the design the following week.
On arrival the following Saturday, we sat down with Joanne (with more tea and flapjacks) and she showed us a hand drawn design that stopped us in our tracks. Wow, this was our bathroom, but not our bathroom. It was exactly what we were looking for, bar a couple of little things. I loved it! She then ran through all the choices she’d made, from shower enclosure, to floor tiles, to bathroom furniture, to sinks, to plugs, to mosaics, to bath, to toilet. Everything in detail with photos and catalogues. And then she showed us the price.
…When you start a project like this, you have a budget in mind. We knew what we were hoping to spend, and we had an idea of the split between the build and the fixtures and fittings.
…. So the price was a bit of a shock. We had left out loads of little costs, which added up to an additional £1500 on top of what we expected. Plus we had also chosen some items that were a little pricier than we’d intended (as you do…)
Then she showed us the build cost. The build cost amazingly, happened to be approximately 1/3 less than we were expecting. And in that moment she had us.
By spending so much time with us, explaining her choices, helping us to imagine what our new bathroom would be like, understanding our budget, and really showing us the impact of different choices – we were sold. Hook line and sinker. We made noises about needing to discuss it and went and had lunch – but the reality was that my husband and I both knew that this was the one. There really was nothing to discuss. After an hour we returned and put down a 50% deposit on our new bathroom.
Why was this a perfect sale?
- She qualified her customer. We were beyond the research stage and into decision-making mode. Joanne recognised that and behaved accordingly. She invested her time at the right point in the process.
- She checked our budget. Before she invested any real time with us she made sure that we were her target customer and had the right amount to spend and also made sure that what she presented us, matched that price.
- She made every touch point professional and pleasant. People buy from people they know like and trust, and she ticked the box on all three points. She was extremely friendly and a real pleasure to deal with. She spoke very confidently about all our requirements, including how to achieve our walk in ‘wet’ shower area in a very small space and there was no sense that what we were requesting was difficult or expensive to do.
- She listened. She didn’t sell us what she wanted to sell us, she listened to what we were saying and drew up plans that showed she understood. She reflected back our requirements to us perfectly.
- She made the experience feel special. The tea / coffee / cakes was a really nice and unexpected touch. Her drawn plan of the bathroom was fantastic, and it felt like she had spent a lot of time on it. These things show that she valued us as a potential customer and was giving us a ‘high end’ service.
- She took the time to help us imagine ourselves living with our new bathroom. By showing us all the products and going through why she chose them, she made it very difficult for us to downgrade our aspirations based on the price.
- She was comprehensive. We are very confident that there will be no surprises. The attention to detail was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, right down to the type of plug we will have in the sink.
- She explained why each choice was the right one. We understood her thinking and her choices and agreed.
- She gave us a reason to signup right away. It was sale time and the sale was finishing that weekend. However, she did also say that they would be having another sale for a weekend in two weeks time. We could make our decision now and get things moving or we could wait two weeks and still get a similar price.
- She closed the sale. She put the paper in front of us, explained what the next steps were and she asked us to proceed. It was all done in a really comfortable and easy way.
We came away from the whole experience feeling excited and looking forward to our new bathroom. At no point did we feel like we were being ‘sold’ to… though I think we were handled by a master saleswoman.
And just in case you’d like to know who we bought our bathroom from, it was Ripples in Reigate and I can highly recommend them if you are looking for a new bathroom of your own