Craig Durosko: Remodeling is only part of the solution

Once you determine the clients’ challenges and their budget, now you can provide your solutions. You have to create the process to solve their problems, help create their vision, and realize that the product is only a piece of the solution.

May 05, 2013

Last month I wrote the column, “A product is only part of the solution.” It was in the context of business owners purchasing anything from a sales seminar, a new computer or a skidsteer loader for their business and realizing the product isn’t the whole solution; it is a part of the solution.

This month I wanted to write about how the same thing happens with our clients. Recently, I met with a client and because her spouse was running a few minutes late, I was able to listen to her story. She wanted a new kitchen, more storage, better flow, and improved functionality.

After her spouse arrived, I was able to listen to his goal of upgrading the basement to a family room and media room. After an hour of discussion, I realized another issue they did not bring up initially.

They were embarrassed to have people in their house. They would meet the parents of their children’s friends at the door. They did not entertain because of the condition of the house.

The owners were very successful businesspeople, and it bothered both of them that they did not want to have people inside their house. The real problem stemmed from hastily moving into their house three years ago when they had sold their other home and had to move quickly. They never planned the layout of the house or determined a purpose for each room. Finally, they never determined if any areas of the house did not meet their needs.

The real need was to make an assessment of the main level of the home and determine their remodeling priorities based on their budget. A plan would then be implemented over a course of three years.

It was also during our initial meeting that they told me how they hired an interior designer. The designer, however, missed the fact the owners were looking for a solution and not just buying furniture or a product.

Just like the interior designer, if I would have tried to sell them a kitchen or refinish their

basement, it would not have been the whole solution, and they still would have been dissatisfied.

This is when I realized the similarities: homeowners are like business owners. They go out and look online, go to the big box stores, and they research for the best product at the best price for them. Our clients go to home shows and see all the products that can solve their problems. That rarely works.

Often it is like the story last month; the product is only part of the solution. It is like putting blinders on and looking at only one part of the answer.

Looking back, I have seen homeowners struggling to escape the clutter in their own home. Their kids have a hard time focusing on their homework because of the clutter. They are borderline hoarders with not enough room for storage or closets full of clothes they have not worn in years; they are looking for better closet organization. I have also seen people living in their kitchen and family room that is only one-third of the main floor and never using the more formal parts of the home.

This is a small sampling of the many challenges our clients face as they talk to you about needing more space, storage, or updating their kitchen or bathroom. These are all opportunities for remodelers to help identify the challenges a potential client is facing.

There is an opportunity to be like a physician looking at the symptoms and then make effective remodeling recommendations or a treatment plan. It is still up to the client what they choose to act on. If you are the one that can do that best, most likely you will be the one to win the job. You would truly be in service to them. 

How do you do this?

It goes back to your selling process. Do you have a process that first understands why the client is looking to remodel before what they want to remodel? Can you look not just at what they called you out for, but the surrounding areas and how each adjacent space interacts with each other?

You can create a list of questions you could ask your client. How do they enter the house? Do they entertain, and if so, what are the challenges? Is your process that they come to see you in a showroom?

Maybe either adding a site visit or simply asking lots of questions will help. Obviously if you are not able to see the site, it is up to their filter as they are only telling you what they see. Once you determine the clients’ challenges and their budget, now you can provide your solutions.

You have to create the process to solve their problems, help create their vision, and realize that the product is only a piece of the solution. PR

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