Exterior Replacement: Selling more profitable contracts

When you use the words “you” and “your,” you are talking with homeowners about them. That’s a game changer. Explain your company, processes, procedures, methods, and experience through their eyes so they can imagine it happening.

December 10, 2014

In late 2008, the high-flying era for the home remodeling and improvement industry started to develop complex problems. During the next four years the phone didn’t ring as much, referrals lessened, and there was less business to share. Thus began the cries of woe regarding the recession. During the same period of time while many remodelers were fighting to survive, there were many companies that were actually thriving in the same markets.
 
What occurred is the home remodeler succumbed to the concept that business was, and would continue to be, poor. Here, I’ll inject a little known phenomenon called “make marketing versus take marketing.” 
 
Moreover, this is a key if you are selling a product or service directly to the user that requires installation into or onto an existing dwelling. To understand this phenomenon is to grasp the key issue for developing more leads—for more prospects—to whom to sell your products and services.
 
Take versus make marketing
Simply stated, “take marketing” enables the seller of goods and services to analyze the market then design a program that will enable the marketer to sell a percentage of that market. Once accomplished, this is called market share. 
 
This is especially true regarding building materials. There is a fairly accurate projection as to how many houses will be built, torn down, or remodeled over the course of a year. An accurate projection can also be made as to how many feet of piping, flooring, roofing, insulation, and windows will be installed. Those who offer goods in those markets will decide how to take the piece of that market which their product can accommodate by price, quality, distribution, and similar factors.
 
Next, examine what happens when fewer people plan to undertake remodeling. Remodelers, unable to maintain their original market position, downsize, adjust prices, or undergo similar machinations to try and maintain market penetration and revenue retention.
 
How successful companies utilize make marketing
The “make marketer” finds ways to stimulate prospects by offering them an opportunity to look, preview, see a demonstration, get free inspections, and other similar tactics. Here, a methodology is employed to take prospects (those who can use the product or service) from “no” to “maybe” to a “yes” answer. 
 
The exhortation to participate in any of the latter utilizes almost every conceivable manner of communication, some a lot more effective than others, while some are complicated to understand. All require the development of structured programming and presentation skills unlike that of take marketing.
 
Here are some of the methods used by successful “make marketing” remodeling and home improvement companies:

  • Exhibits at shows and events
  • S.F.I. (Sell, Furnish, Install) programs utilized by wise marketers such as Home Depot, Sears, or Sam’s Club
  • Innovative Internet marketing
  • Effective call centers to utilize unsold or undistributed leads
  • Sales reps soliciting around installed jobs
  • Properly executed canvassing

All of these techniques require thoughtful preparation, supervised execution, and budgetary controls. When utilized properly, they are the benchmarks of make marketing. 
 
Abundant case history supports this concept: It is the make marketer who thrives in a changing economy and effectively introduces new products to the marketplace.
 
Learn from those who thrive in good times and bad
Are you tired of waiting for the phone to ring from the prospect who promised to call back but hasn’t? Are you tired of reading your email wondering if the prospect is ever going to respond and give you the go-ahead? Are you tired of waiting only to find out the job went to someone else or the prospect has decided to wait until next year? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time to put some power into your presentation and selling skills. 
 
The inspection and needs assessment
Spend more time looking the job over, measuring, taking pictures, and asking questions of prospects. Make it clear you are there for them. Make sure homeowners feel they are the most important people in the world at the moment and your only goal is to understand them and help them get exactly what they want from their remodeling project. 
 
Your company story
Your company story presentation is highly misunderstood. You want to tell them how great you are, but you want to do it in a way that makes the presentation about the prospect. Switch from first-person to second-person language. 
 
Here is a poor example: “My guys always arrive first thing in the morning and work all day. We never leave mid-day to go to another job. My crew always cleans up at the end of the day.”
 
A good example is: “You will enjoy seeing the team show up bright and early every morning. You’ll come to love the fact that once your job is underway, the crew is on site all day every day until your project is completed. You will be pleasantly surprised how we clean up at the end of every day. You’ll see our 18 years of experience unfold before your very eyes as we meticulously complete your project.” 
 
Obtain a trust commitment
After your company presentation, ask a brutally honest question: “Mr./Mrs. Jones, would you feel 100 percent confident trusting your home with XYZ Remodeling?” 
 
Discussing the project vision, building the dream
It’s been said the vast majority of the decision is not based on all the facts, data, and figures, but it is based primarily on what the prospect believes and envisions happening in the future. Take them into the future as if they are already living with their completed project as you design, discuss, and dream together about how great it’s going to be. Get them to imagine (not think about) each part of the process coming together as the project gets better and better all the way to completion. Allow them to become excited about how you can deliver this amazing experience beyond simply building their project.
 
The final design and preliminary agreement
In most cases, you will need to return after additional preparation is completed to present the full scope of work, deliver the price, and ask for the order. At the conclusion of the initial meeting, you must obtain a preliminary agreement in regard to your next meeting. 
 
The power question comes next: “Folks when we get back together, if I am able to provide you with everything you want, just the way you want it, as well as work within your budget, could you think of any reason we wouldn’t be able to go ahead and get your project underway when we meet next?” 
 
Get the commitment that if you meet all of their criteria, they can and will move forward with you at your next appointment.
 
Return visit for price delivery, consummate the sale
At this point all of your paperwork should be well documented and prepared for a signature. You will review in great detail everything you are going to provide. Don’t leave the little things out. Your competition is going to provide the basics. Your presentation must stand out head-and-shoulders above their expectations. 
 
Once completed, you will deliver the price by saying: “Mr. and Mrs.Jones, we can deliver all the customized work listed on the agreement for only $XXX (do not pause). Now, there are two convenient ways all of our customers do business with our company. The first is our three-pay cash plan where you make a deposit with the order of one-third, or in your case $XXX. At the point when we start the project and get underway, you would provide an additional payment of one-third, and then at completion you would pay the final one-third. Now, the second way some of our customers like to do business is by utilizing some of our financing options. In this case you would make a deposit of 10-to-20 percent or whatever is workable, and then we would arrange a comfortable monthly investment through one of our special financing programs. So what would be the easiest way for you folks to get your project started? The three-pay cash plan, or with one of our financing options?” 
 
By offering them an alternative option question, you are not forcing them to say “OK” or “yes.” Once they answer you with the way they want to buy, you have made the sale. Now you have to wrap it up. 
 
For example, if they say: “Well we have our money in order, we would use the three-pay cash plan.” 
 
You simply stand up, stick out your hand, and say: “Great, welcome to the XYZ Remodeling family of customers! I simply need your authorization right here and we are all set.” 
 
Hold out your pen, put it in their hand, and ASSUME THE ORDER. 
 
I assure you nothing suggested herein is heavy-handed or high pressure—the most successful companies use these methods—you can also. 

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