Canadian Contractor

Are we here to "convince" customers to buy what they don't want?

Don't tell me that "sustainability" should be more important to my renovation customers than their Return on Investment. That's up to them to decide.

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January 29, 2013 by Robert Koci

I am caught up in a LinkedIn conversation that started with the question, ” How do we convince average homeowners of the value of sustainability when all they are concerned about is ROI?”

I jumped in mostly because questions like this make my blood boil. I find it presumptuous that, as a business, you should be trying to convince your customer to think something they don’t think. My reaction is, “Who the hell do you think you are?”

As a customer who has worked hard to earn my money, the last thing I want is someone who thinks they know better than me how I should spend that money. I certainly want my supplier to let me know all the options that are available to me, but I will make up my own mind, thanks very much, about where the money ultimately goes.

My second reaction is, “How about you start by convincing yourself that ROI is less important than the environment?” How about you tell your kids that playing hockey is out this year because you have decided that the planet needs your  money more.

ROI is what has given us our wealth, and the ability to even ask these questions. To reduce ROI to an option is just flat out stupid. When you start thinking this way, you are flying in the face of everything that has allowed our society to care about the environment and make the tremendous advances in environmental protection that we have.

My solution is within the comments I made in the discussion. Check it out, and comment yourself by clicking here.

Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine. Tel. 647-407-0754
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3 Comments » for Are we here to "convince" customers to buy what they don't want?
  1. Ben Kuypers says:

    I have come across the same thing many times. And there is a whole other discussion going on about ‘should we as designers, contractors need to convince people to make certain judgements’. My feeling is that it is up to the manufacturers to be innovative and fill a need or demand. A product has to compete on many levels, cost, distribution, aesthetics, durability, application, ethics etc and a consumer will choose or not choose a product on any number of these features. A person makes there own value judgement on what they see is a Return On Their Investment, it is not up to us to choose that for them.

    • Robert Koci says:

      Agreed. I don’t have any problem wanting to change someone’s mind about bigger issues like environmentalism, and build quality and what is the right thing to do for their family, but always outside of the business transaction.

  2. Ben Kuypers says:

    Even inside of the business transaction. Just understand it is a choice you make if you decide to make ‘Your’ ethics part of the agreement. It will limit your market to those who agree with ‘Your’ ethical views.
    Both contractors and consumers can choose to make it a choice, but they limit their options if they do.
    That’s why I said it is up to the product manufacturer to make a product that includes ethical features, that make their product the outstanding choice.
    The value in sustainability is when they make ‘Green products normal, rather than normal products green’