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Today’s Consumer is Your Biggest Competitor


Today’s Consumer is Your Biggest Competitor

Understanding the real competitor allows you to sharpen the correct skills

By Mark Richardson July 28, 2023
remodeling competition
Photo: stock.adobe.com

In professional sports, it’s crucial to understand who you’re competing against. 

In football, if you’re up against a strong passing offense, you’ll sharpen strategies with defense backs. If you’re facing powerful home run hitters in baseball, then choosing the right starting pitcher and adjusting his pitch blend to increase success is critical.

Knowing your competition in the remodeling business is also critical to success.

When I ask remodelers, “Who is your biggest competitor?” almost all name one or two local companies they occasionally go up against. But when I was president of one of the largest remodeling firms in the country, we had less than 1% of the local market share. So how could other remodelers really be our real competition?

Your real competition in this business is the consumer, not the other remodeler. It is consumer ignorance, fears, overwhelm, and the other priorities in their lives.

While this has always been true, the pandemic gave rise to a new breed of consumer, and just as in sports, it’s important to adjust your strategies and skills for success.

You may not think of yourself as a tour guide, therapist, marriage counselor, and investment advisor, but these approaches are as much part of your role as knowledge of remodeling.

With that in mind, here are five tips to help take your game to the next level.


1. Educate potential clients

Rather than solely discuss past projects and your company story, make your sales presentation educational. Help homeowners understand the differences between working with an independent architect vs. a design-build firm. Help them grasp the different levels of remodeling a kitchen or bath so they can make a better investment decision.


2. Sell the process, not the project

While you know that success in remodeling is about relationships and processes, a homeowner probably doesn’t. You need to shift your mindset if you want homeowners to focus on the right decisions. Ask a lot more questions focused on “why” and less on the “what” of the project. Make more of the conversations about the process of remodeling than the project itself.


When I ask remodelers, “Who is your biggest competitor?” almost all name one or two local companies they occasionally go up against. But when I was president of one of the largest remodeling firms in the country, we had less than 1% of the local market share. So how could other remodelers really be our real competition?


3. Address fears proactively

Potential clients may not articulate their fears of making mistakes, being disappointed, or paying too much, but they think about these things. Addressing these fears will help replace their anxiety with trust. Practice becoming more masterful at talking about money and making the narrative about their budget, not your cost or price.


4. Take control

Today’s homeowner wants to control the process, but you need to make them feel comfortable in the passenger seat for a successful remodeling experience. As in sports, the team that controls the game generally wins. Master setting the agenda at every meeting. Say “no” when you cannot meet or exceed expectations. Always follow up after each interaction to set the right accountabilities.


5. Master creating urgency

Make your relationship and their project a priority over the other things in their lives. The post-COVID consumer has escaped from captivity—they are feral. By skillfully creating urgency, you will entice them to stay on schedule and not postpone or cancel.


These strategies and skills above have nothing to do with design, construction, or building science. They are about people. Try to spend more time training, experimenting, and honing these mindsets and skills, and you will see more success.


written by

Mark Richardson


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 mrichardson@mgrichardson.com or 301.275.0208.

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