Mr. Customer, I’m sure you plan to live a long time; after all, both your parents lived well into their fifties.  I’m sure you know that had they lived longer, you would have had great expenses in setting them up in either an assisted living residence or perhaps even a full-scale nursing home.  The cost of either of those can easily run from $20,000 to $100,000 per year.  I’m sure you have money set aside for your living expenses, but perhaps if we do some simple home renovations, you will be able to enjoy living from the comfort of this home for a much longer time.  *Disclaimer:  take this with a grain of salt.

Now, how many of you are using high-powered closing techniques like the one I just gave away for free?   You may be thinking, “That is not a close; it’s a joke!”  Well, maybe so, maybe not so.

I just read an article in a trade magazine I found on my counter with a stack of recent mail.  Being a Saturday morning, I am supposed to be at my son’s new house putting in 4-way switches and GFCI receptacles. But maybe just a cup of coffee more, and oh look, a plumbing magazine.   (Squirrel!)

So, upon reading an article by one of my friends in the industry, Matt Michel, on “7 Products for the Modern Plumber,” I am intrigued by something he said.  He discusses what to some may be obvious products that you need in your arsenal like tankless water heaters and even water alarms—the basics. But he then goes out of the box and says that people will pay to replace a working faucet or sink with a better, cooler, more fun and more convenient item like a bump faucet or a sensory shower.  He has my attention because I am in the process of remodeling 1/2 of the top floor of my home, and I am just now choosing between one of the very many “sensory showers,”  although I didn’t know that was what they were called. The one I am pretty sure I’m buying is less than $300 and is a complete water delivery fixture, a glorified shower face and sprayer, but what a cool deal.  It has 8 body sprayers; I really don’t care much about spraying water on my abs and thighs when I shower, but hey it looks cool.  Next, there is an LED display which is quite pretty that displays the water temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, but that’s not all!  It also keeps track of the time you are showering.  Wow, what about that?  I can just hear myself screaming in the morning, “Hey Karen, guess what I just did?  I just beat my best shower time of 21 seconds and look at me all shiny clean!”   Oh well, I’m sure there is a good reason for a time stamp on your cleanliness.

Next is a rain shower style head that casually drops water from above, and it is available with its own LED light and/or a built-into-the-showerhead Bluetooth speaker.

I am not a fan of things that only work for 3 months and then never work again, so the speaker is out.

I also am researching pressure increasers because I am sure I will have to have a pump sucking water from the city utility to power this thing.

Now to the meat of the story and what Matt said that set me off on another tangent.  After his list of out of the box appliances and must haves like sinks and toilets with antibacterial coatings, he sort of inserted this statement: “Americans are living longer and want to retain their independence and quality of life as long as possible. Not only is this a quality of life issue, it’s economically advantageous to reasonably avoid assisted living.”  He goes on to say they can save money by remodeling their home and staying put.  Hence my “life insurance close.”

So, what does this mean? Can people live just as long at home as in a professional institution? I’m sure they would like to try. Can you make their home safer than a professional institution?  In many ways, I believe the answer is yes, you can!  Statistics say (my statistics) that simply believing you are healthier goes a long way to making you healthy.  I’m sure there are tons of books and studies to back that up.

Let me move over and say this—see if you get the connection.  When a customer calls and says they have no air conditioning and they think the problem is their thermostat, what do you think?  You know darn well what you think!  You think the customer is nuts! Ok, maybe not nuts, but you are pretty sure the problem is not the thermostat, and you haven’t even looked at the furnace.  Now after you fix the furnace or AC unit which was just something simple like a small electrical device, you then test it and it runs fine.  Now as an experiment, (one which I have done countless times), you say to the customer, “Mrs. Customer, we have made the repairs and your furnace is now running great! Wow feel the heat!  By the way, when you called, you mentioned that you suspected the thermostat; we have tested the thermostat and it appears to be working fine, however, I have some new thermostats here and am wondering if you would feel better about replacing it.  You don’t have to, but I should mention it since I am already here.”

Ok, put your thinkers in gear.   I ran this “test” 10 times in a row on customers who hadn’t even mentioned their thermostat when they first called in.  What do you think the results were?  No cheating or reading ahead!  Over 60% chose to replace the thermostat.  Yup, 6 out of 10.  But was I ethical?  Did I scam them?  When you bring your car in for service, do you drive it right by brand new models that you do not need?  Do you ever trade in a car that is perfectly functional for a new one? And why do you do this?  I can think of 2 reasons: peace of mind and fun. Just plain fun.

Here are 2 reasons to replace a working thermostat…well 3 reasons.

  1. Peace of mind: I don’t like having something in my home I don’t trust. (Not talking about your kids here).
  2. Fun:  the new one is fun; it’s cool, it lights up, and it attaches to my phone.
  3. I want to.  I want a new thermostat.

Those three reasons are good enough for buying a $35,000 car, so as far as I’m concerned, they are good enough for buying a $600 thermostat.  By the way, of the 6 out of 10 customers who buy a new thermostat, 7 of them choose one over $600.   Do you know why?  Because that’s what they want.  And because I always ask, it’s really because they are the prettiest.  Pretty trumps function.

So pretty things, antibacterial things, automated things, shiny things, energy saving things (and by energy, I really mean effort saving things), and of course things that the customer can see will just last longer and make living here more fun than living in some professional institution.  There are good reasons to stay home in this day and age.

Rodney Koop


hvac, electrical, plumbing, flat rate book