Mark Richardson's Think Business: Confidence

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Confidence can affect individuals, markets, and an entire country. Confidence allows us to focus on the future rather than just the here and now.

February 15, 2013

Confidence. Such a simple word but also a word that might have more to do with your success or failure than any other. Confidence can affect individuals, markets, and an entire country. Confidence allows us to focus on the future rather than just the here and now. Over the last five to seven years most of our worlds have been turned upside down. Many of the basic elements such as the stock market, the weather, and seasonal workflow are not as predictable as in the past.

Our homes, which were not only our greatest asset but also a wonderful place to plant money, did not see that nice 3 to 8 percent annual appreciation that we have seen in the past. All these elements and factors have really shaken our confidence.

Most who are in the remodeling or construction business understand consumer confidence and the government’s rating as the most important indicators of remodeling activity. As a writer and speaker, I have tried to use metaphors to describe this confidence dynamic. Examples include clients that have been in “holding patterns” or “standing on the sidelines” because they are fearful of flipping the switch to proceed with a project. While these analogies may be useful for understanding, they don’t help you get the prospects to act. If you are or become a student of creating confidence, then you will not only sell more but also help your clients experience the joy of a new kitchen or deck.

If you see your role as a remodeling therapist or a tour guide, and less of a product peddler, you can expect your close rates and success to increase. As you begin this process you must first begin to change your own mind set and actions.

Are you investing in your own home to the degree you would like to see your clients?

Are you investing the energy on long-term master plans?

Are you mainly focused on maintaining the here and now?

I ask these questions not to judge but to say: You should not expect your clients to believe in doing a project especially if you do not believe or are not confident with these decisions. While making these renovations part of the process, you can also begin with some rational thinking.

Consider the following and try to be the voice of reason for your clients:

Have you ever had a client say: “I am sorry I did this remodeling project.” Regardless of the economic condition over the last 30 years, and after hundreds of clients/projects, I have not had one person regret doing the project. The only regret some clients had was not doing the project sooner—when their mother was still alive or kids were still living at home.

If I gave you a bucket of money today would you run out tomorrow and dump it in the stock market? I’ve asked this question to more than 1,000 people in an audience, and less than 1 percent raise their hands. Today, homeowners have three times the savings they had in the “go-go” times of 2005 when their paper wealth was greater than today. The home is a great place to plant money when the CD rates are low. If they only had a sage (i.e. you) to guide them through this process.

The home today is more complex than ever. The home today requires more care and feeding than ever. The home today has more improvement and product options than ever. And the home today is screaming for help.

While homeowners may not see the home as the financial Holy Grail that it was is the past—which I think is a good thing—it is their greatest physical asset.

As Rachael Drew from Harvard points out: Homeownership rates will continue to be strong because it is the one element in Americans lives that gives them control of their lifestyle. It is the house doctor’s (you) job to be the adviser to the client and not let the patient (the house) die.

If you begin to make a list of all the rational reasons why it makes sense to feel confident about investing in the home, you will have what you need to be a better adviser and also see more sales.

It has been said, “Knowledge instills confidence, confidence creates enthusiasm, and enthusiasm sells.” Now it is up to you, not the market. PR

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