Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.
Homeowners buy remodeling from people who are enthusiastic about their project and who understand their pain. But those same homeowners also need to clearly understand the logic behind their decision to buy and to buy from you.
This has always been true, but I believe it applies to today’s remodeling customer more than ever. Why? There are plenty of reasons. Ten years ago your clients’ homes were enjoying double-digit appreciation every year; today, after a deep recession, the pent-up demand is tempered by some deep and lasting fears about home prices and personal finances. Ten years ago there were fewer product options; today product offerings have proliferated, increasing homeowners’ anxiety about making the wrong choice.
As a remodeler, you know that you’re a house doctor and product expert, and in some cases even a marriage counselor. Today you also need to be a Voice of Reason that answers client questions about their project. Every answer you provide is like a deposit into a Reasons-to-Buy bank account, which helps to keep the client enthusiastic and moving forward with the project.
One of my successful remodeler friends asks each of his remodeling sales consultants to write out answers to the following list of critical questions. Some sample answers are shown, but you should also add your own.
Why do this project?
1] To bring the family together more often.
2] Your home is your greatest asset, and you must invest to protect it.
3] It will raise the home’s resale value.
Why do it now?
1] Low interest rates provide more value per dollar.
2] Remodeling costs are likely to go up 5 to 10 percent per year. Will you make that much on money in the bank?
3] The cost of moving is 10 to 20 percent of a home’s value. Remodeling is a better investment.
Why work with your company?
1] We do 20 projects like this every year, so we have more experience than a company that only does one or two. Would you prefer a surgeon who does just one or two operations per year?
2] We invest in training and certifications, like your auto dealership does. Would you rather use the dealer or the local gas station for major car repairs?
3] We have strategic relationships with major manufacturers that give you favorable buying terms and the right attention if there is ever a product issue.
Why do this project with you?
Remember, people buy from people, so this is an important question. Don’t underestimate the value of providing strong reasons.
1] Present your credentials, your experience, your personal remodeling résumé. Don’t keep these a secret!
2] Explore the client’s thinking with questions, and suggest alternatives. If you are just an order-taker, you aren’t giving them a strong reason to buy from you.
3] Be professional and enthusiastic. Always be on time. Always be proactive with communication. Try to help the client save, not just spend more.
These answers are just a sample—my friend asks his team to come up with 25 reasons for each question. He said that once you get past 10 you need to go really deep. That depth is often what tips the client over to a decision to proceed.
The best salespeople do all of this naturally, but with practice and perseverance, anyone can be successful.