Networking Over Carpet

He was working so hard I couldn’t get him
to look at the camera. Such dedication!

We’ve been having a little bit of work done on our basement lately, including having new carpet installed. We purchased our carpet from the local GCO carpet outlet store. When we did, they gave us the names of some installers in our area. From that list, we chose an installer named John Outhwaite.

What a treat.

John is 75 years old and has been working since he was 14. He’s seen a lot of what the business world can throw at you and has continued to adapt over the years. He’s been doing carpet installation for the last forty years and still enjoys seeing what his efforts can do to make an empty room look like home.

One of the things he told me when talking about his business related to the importance of knowing your target market. While he is on the preferred vendor list with a number of carpet stores in the area (like GCO), he told me that a good portion of his business comes from companies and individuals who manage student apartments here in the Ann Arbor area. At the rate students come and go around here, he should have work for as long as he wants it. Note, though, that this target isn’t “Anyone who needs carpet” or even “Anyone with a rental property”. No, he is looking for clients who are specifically in charge of student apartments in the Ann Arbor area — specific in both location and industry.

Of course, having that group as his target isn’t sufficient to guarantee his success. He still has to provide superlative service in order to maintain his current clients and have his name passed along (in a positive way) within the group. John certainly does that. He and his partner kept us informed as to how the process worked. They were willing to help me move some heavy exercise equipment we have in the basement. They wouldn’t leave until I had the chance to look over everything and sign off that I was happy. Then he gave me his “just call me” guarantee. Basically if something goes wrong with the installation … ever … I just have to call him and he will come over and make it right.

If you are planning to have carpet installed, remember to give him a call. If you want to succeed in business, remember his focus on a target market. You’ll end up finding a lot more success in the long run.

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Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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