Saying “NO” Can Lead to a “YES”


It has often been said that, “the best job is the one that is turned away.”  This marketing tip is designed to build on that adage by highlighting actual benefits derived from having made such a decision.  An actual experience is used to make the point.

For quite some time, we had worked on adding a particular retail chain to our list of clients and we had met with a continued rebuff.  Their reluctance to buy in was based primarily on the view that ProCoustic is more expensive than cheaper ceiling paint products.  They maintained that it was in their best interest to have their ceilings coated with whatever product/system was the least expensive.

We continued to make contact without becoming obnoxious through our efforts.  Maybe with only the intent of proving their own point, they finally relented and asked that we visit a particular store location (five hour round trip), meet with their project manager, and submit a formal proposal.

The Visit

Within micro-seconds of entering the store, it was apparent that this was not a candidate for ceiling restoration.  And, considering the 2.5 hour drive, it was even more of a disappointment.  A substantial percentage of the ceiling tiles were not structurally-sound (dry, whole, flat, and unscratched).  Without any doubt, these would have to be replaced.  Of the remaining tiles, they consisted of a mixture of styles, sizes, and types.

To make matters even worse, the ceiling has been previously coated with a heavy application of conventional paint. The product had been caked on, filling many of the fissures on the tile surfaces, and permanently bonding the tiles to the supporting t-bars.  To summarize the assessment, it was an “ugly looking ceiling.”

Our Report

Soon after, the client’s project manager arrived and we were faced with making our recommendation.  We could have simply said, “replace it” and head for the car.  Instead we delivered our message in the following way:

  1. We walked the store, pointing out the amount of tiles that were candidates for replacement.  It became apparent that there were a lot of them.
  2. Of those that remained, we noted the differences between them explained how, no matter what coating material is used, there is no way that they could be made to look alike.  There would be no continuity.
  3. The painted appearance of the ceiling was discussed in detail.  The fact that some fissures were filled with paint product and others were not, made for a resulting appearance that was not natural and screamed, “I’M PAINTED AND PAINTED BADLY.” We also explained that these same filled fissures reduced the amount of sound that could be absorbed … hence, a loss in acoustics.
  4. Noting the fact that so many tiles had been replaced of random styles, we suggested a logical reason.  Due to the fact that there is always a need to gain access above the ceiling to perform maintenance (HVAC, electrical, etc.); ceiling tiles must be free to be moved.  In this case, the old tiles had to be cut out and then be replaced with whatever was available at the time, new, old or different.
  5. Finally, we explained that our company is committed to providing a professional service and that including turning away work when we feel that it is not in the best interest of our client to restore their ceiling.  We explained that as much as we would like the business, this was one of those times.
  6. Once the client accepted the need to replace the ceiling, we cautiously suggested that they be prepared to pay more than would have been the case, had the ceiling not been painted.  We went on to explain that this was no longer a matter of lifting old tiles out and replacing them with new ones.  This would be an exercise of cutting the old ones out, cleaning the residue off the grids and then installing the new tiles. This extra work might make it such that it would be faster and less expensive to tear out the grids as well and replace the whole ceiling system.
  7. Tile manufacturers offer recycling programs where the old tiles can be turned in for credit.  However, if the tiles have been coated with conventional paint, they are not eligible for recycling programs … hence this is another negative financial by-product of the decision to use a lesser expensive product.

The Result

The project manager was very appreciative of our professional approach.  He then asked us if, while we were in the area, would we care to look at another location that would be coming up for remodel in the near future.  So, the trip was not a total loss.

In addition, we had a more informed client who agreed that he would think twice about using conventional paint as a means of saving money, for he now realized that in the long run, there were no savings.  He thanked us.

Comments (4)

do you have any marketing brochures that we can use to promote ceiling restoration?

We provide a good bit of help to contractors who wish to provide a ceiling restoration service. To benefit from our support the most, please give me a call at (781) 767-2270 and we can discuss this whole topic.


Yes. Would like to talk to you first and maybe there are other ways we can be of assistance. Call (781) 767-2270.

Ken Woolf

Hi Ken,

I am in Stamford CT and did accoustical cleaning and restoration 15 years ago. I have a commercial property maintenance business and would like to reenter this market. How do i get your training? I have done millions of sf of coatings of various types and I am a perfectionist.

Thank You
Gary Tegtmeier
203 536 4332

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