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Using Stories to Close Business

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Using Stories to Close Business

A few small changes in the way you communicate can make a big difference

By By Mark Richardson January 10, 2020
remodeler telling his client a story
This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Pro Remodeler.

“If you say it, they understand it. If you say it well, they feel it.” While this is a simple play on words, it’s also true. We have seen this from political leaders like John F. Kennedy, spiritual leaders like Gandhi, or media leaders like Oprah.

We also see the power of creative communication with great business leaders, coaches, and gurus that inspire teams to achieve greatness just by conveying the feeling of simple ideas and themes.

So, the question becomes: “How effective are you and your organization at communicating with clients?” Are you wondering why prospects are signing with competitors that you know are not as good as you? 

By investing some energy into the way you communicate, you may reduce misunderstandings and increase your close rate. 

One method of communication that helps create a lasting impression is the use of stories and metaphors. Many of your clients have never gone through a remodeling design process or lived in their home during a renovation. They just don’t get it. Your job is to change that.

Telling the Story

While there are many familiar metaphors or stories you can use to communicate with potential clients. These stories pertain to different aspects of remodeling. The following are examples that are designed to help you formulate your own.

1] Compare remodeling to new construction. The idea is that, “Remodeling is like having a suit tailored while the client is still inside it.”

2] Make comparisons using the type of relationship you have with the client. In some respects, you are a financial advisor who is helping them reduce risk and invest correctly onto their greatest asset-—their home. You also serve as a doctor for the house, making sure the right prescription is given to cure the home of pain and disease. In some projects, you serve as a marriage counselor, helping the clients make decisions and work together.

 By helping them see that you are more than just a remodeling expert, they will not only better understand your role, but they will also perceive value in these other important skillsets when selecting the right remodeler.

3] Address cost differences between remodeling companies. Why is there such a big difference from one company to the next? You might share this idea: When you buy a car, it will have four wheels, automatic windshield wipers, an audio system, and cruise control. Did I just describe an economy car or a luxury car? It could be either. So, why does the luxury car cost $50K or more, while the economy model is closer to $20K? The difference is in the design, engineering, quality, team, and buying experience. 

4] Describe what it’s like to live through remodeling. Explain to your clients that living through remodeling is similar to camping. If you enjoy camping, you’ll make it fun and memorable. If you hate camping, you might not like living in an active construction site. Clients may consider moving, or at least doing the project when they can take a vacation for part of it.

5] Discuss how to make living through the construction process more tolerable. Many years ago, a client of mine shared that they redefined their mindset of their home during construction. They told each other (and the kids) that they were moving out of the four-bedroom home into a two-bedroom temporary apartment (which was carved out of the second floor of their home). It was an adventure, not an inconvenience. There was less to clean, and they spent more time away from home, visiting the city and doing things they never had time to do. They said it was like going on a three-month sabbatical to a new place. When it was over, they were able to move into their new, wonderful home.

Spend more time thinking about your prospects, their fears and stress, and their unfamiliarity about remodeling their home. Think about sharing stories and experiences that will help them understand, and consider using analogies or metaphors applicable to their lives to which they can relate. If you can become a better storyteller, your relationship with clients will move from being transactional to meaningful and lasting.

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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