ICS Magazine

The "Wow!" Gadget Factor

April 5, 2010


My telephone does what every telephone should: it lets me dial, connect and talk to whomever I wish. But that’s not all; being highly advanced technically, I have now learned to keep my calendar on my phone.


Last weekend a friend showed me his new phone. He can play games, surf the Web for the latest sports scores or stock market quotes, and use the built-in GPS if he gets lost. Another app recognizes music and provides the name of the song and artist for whatever is playing at the moment, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for this amazing device. When he showed it to me, I just had to say, “Wow!”

I assume he is also able to make calls.

Often, the tools we use as carpet cleaners or restorers have a similar effect on our clients. In fact, some tools are just so neat that they have a value beyond their actual function; they market our expertise to the customer, assuring them that we have the technology, skills and training to do the job at hand.

It may be a big ticket item, like the carpet cleaning unit with the #56 vacuum blower mounted in a box van that draws the neighbors outside to see this impressive machine work. It may be the sharp-looking, insulated, fully stocked spotting kit we keep casually at hand during the inspection. Both are fine tools by themselves, but also do wonders as marketing tools.

Let’s look at a few items that can give you the “Wow!” factor.

Let’s start with the inspection. A laser measuring device or an ultrasonic rangefinder with a laser pointer can get quite the reaction as you place the tool on a wall and click for a fast and accurate room measurement.

Once, while I was moving from office to office to measure a large building, I was asked about the rangefinder’s beeping sound. I joking told her I was checking radiation levels. That drew lots of attention. By the time I finished explaining what I was really doing and my carpet cleaning processes, I had booked four residential jobs with building employees.

The use of a powerful UV light or flashlight during an inspection can really open a pet-owner’s eyes to the work that needs to be done. I had been called to clean and deodorize “a couple of spots.” When I turned off the lights and turned on the UV light, the carpet and all the upholstered furniture glowed like daylight. That drew a “Wow!” from the prospect.

What could have been a minimum charge spot removal job turned into over $700 worth of work cleaning and deodorizing carpets and upholstery.

Vacuuming is a key first step in any carpet cleaning job. If the vacuum cleaner you bring in from the van is the same one your customer has in her closet or could purchase at Wal-Mart, this tool won’t make much of an impression.

But if she sees and hears the whine of a turbine vacuum powered by airflow from your truckmount, or sees the size and power of a true pile lifter in operation, your client will know her carpets are being vacuumed with a specialty tool designed for carpet cleaning.

Applying protector with a pump-up sprayer might make your client think of the unit she uses in her garden. A cordless battery powered sprayer that can be wheeled in the doorway and used to treat an entire room via a coiled hose helps reinforce the image of the “specialist in your field.”

Would you like a little help in convincing your customer to go with the add-on cleaning of her stone or tile floors? Doing a quick demo with a hard-surface tool that uses water pressure to agitate, rinse and extract the soil will paint the picture that your service as above and beyond that of an ordinary mop-and-bucket approach. Having the right tool cleaned, primed and ready to do the job properly helps win you the job.

Restorers have some of the most sophisticated and coolest equipment to work with, from non-invasive moisture meters that reveal hidden moisture to directed heat drying units that monitor conditions and turn equipment on and off as needed until materials are perfectly dry. But which ones impress the building owner?

If smoke odor is the culprit, simply walking into the premises carrying a Golden Eagle fogger makes a huge psychological impact. Seeing it in operation, your client knows you are reaching every nook and cranny where odor could possibly hide.

Are there concerns about what contamination may be lurking inside a wall cavity? When you open up the case and insert your borescope into the wall cavity, you and other interested parties can see a clear, detailed view of the inside of that wall cavity on the 3 ½” LCD monitor.

A smart business person purchases the tools and equipment that her firm requires to do the work at hand. A wise business person also considers the marketing value or the “Wow!” factor of the equipment she purchases.

Take time with your customer and explain what the tool is doing and why it is valuable and important. This gives them confidence in your ability and they will love telling their neighbor about the awesome “thingy” you used on the job. Although I, too, have a few tools that ended up sitting on the shelf collecting, I more than made up for them with the purchases I made that paid for themselves quickly due to their ability to make the client sit up and say, “Wow!”