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Learning the lessons from losing a kitchen contract

Chris Turnbull

Learning the lessons from losing a kitchen contract

“A loss does more to make me a better lawyer than any win could ever hope to do”.  Matt Brown, a defence attorney in the USA.

OK, as an opening line to a blog about a change we’ve made to our kitchen website, that quote might, at first glance, appear random!  Visitors to our website, including this blog page, will (I hope!) have noticed the string of icons showing all the services that the installation of a new fitted kitchen are likely to require.

What prompted their creation was because of a contract we didn’t win (hence Matt Brown’s analogous quote above!) earlier this year.  We’d had a couple of meetings with a family who’d visited our showroom in Stony Stratford as a result of finding us on the Internet.   As we always do when meeting with clients we’d spent some considerable time ensuring we understood their wishes, how they planned to use their kitchen and what their vision for it was.  Then we created a design to meet the requirements that also looked great and married with the required practicality that every new kitchen needs.

The family (including the husband!) seemed to like the design we’d created and the cost wasn’t too far away from what they wanted to spend.  We were pretty confident that, with a few tweaks to the design and the resultant cost reduction, that we’d secure the job (although we never count our proverbial chickens!)

So, it was a real disappointment to find out a few days later that they’d chosen to go with another company (it happens, we can’t win them all!)  When we asked why they’d make the decision they had it transpired that it was because they weren’t convinced of our ability to manage the entire project to their satisfaction.  And this is despite the fact that, over the years, we’ve done hundreds of such projects – each with its own individual challenges – using highly experienced contractors who are capable of working as a team to ensure the project’s delivered on time and to budget.

So we’ve added the services icons.  Hopefully, they highlight to customers the variety of services and contractors that need to considered when fitting a new kitchen and deciding which retailer to choose.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that, had we had them at the time, a string of services’ icons on our website would have made little difference to securing that lost sale.  We lost it because we couldn’t convince the clients that we were up to the job.

So the icons are also there to act as a constant reminder to us that winning a contract is also about instilling confidence with potential clients so they’re convinced and reassured that we’re not just about creating beautiful designs using a computer program but that we also have the expertise to warrant their trust in us to fulfil such a major project.  A project that that many will have dreamt of for many years and encapsulates their hopes and dreams for the future.

A lesson we’d do well to remember and remind ourselves of regularly!

For more information about Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design Studio please go to or telephone 01480 468598 or email us at

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