It’s not always a good idea to do it yourself

I remember when we decided to redecorate our son’s room with a laminate floor. I thought I could try and lay the floor myself to save my husband the bother. How easy could it be? The slats easily locked together and I could get the majority done before collecting the kids from school.

How wrong I was. For four hours I struggled even to begin the first layer. My comments were not repeatable and I achieved absolutely nothing. On his return my husband took one look at my efforts, lined up the pieces against the wall, and in four minutes had completed a couple of layers. What? This was not fair!

I related this episode to a floor specialist I met with the other day as an anecdote. I explained it’s not worth struggling to do something you don’t know anything about, and I know nothing about laying floors, that was his speciality. ‘How does this relate to me?’ the floor specialist asked.

I looked at the advert he had given me to scrutinise. He had been complaining that, although it had cost a lot of money to produce and place, it had brought in no returns. It consisted of sumptuous pictures of beautiful floors above his logo and contact details, even if they were a bit small. It was certainly well designed and was appropriate for the kind of magazine it had been placed into.

‘But what have you asked your customers to do?’ I replied.

‘Err… I don’t know.’

‘Exactly!’ I said. ‘It’s all very well giving them something attractive to look at, they will treat it the same as all the other pages in the magazine, think it’s very nice and then turn over. You need to tell them to take action! Even if it’s just to call you!’

This is a common fault in adverts and leaflet campaigns. Never assume your readers will understand what you want them to do. Just because there’s a telephone number or webaddress it doesn’t mean they will actually take the initiative.

Play on your customers’ natural self centeredness and greed. Offer them something of value, such as a discount, free sample or whatever, if they make contact. Give them a specific time to accomplish this by, or they will forget, get distracted or find a better offer elsewhere. Even by just commanding they phone you: ‘Contact us NOW to find out more!’ will have a better result that saying nothing.

So if you want to get good results in anything, it’s best to ask somebody who knows what they are doing, and that includes laying laminate floors.


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