What Boomers Need Now

How to win over this demographic and become the aging-in-place expert in your market

March 06, 2017
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Photo: courtesy Remodel Direct

You’ve no doubt heard the statistics: 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day, and the vast majority want to stay (“age”) in their homes for as long as possible. But our homes were built for us to raise our families, not to safely enjoy our golden years.

This represents an unprecedented opportunity. Many remodelers offer the 55+ demographic some solutions, and they probably would tell you that their business has felt a positive impact from this group of customers. But would those remodelers say they dominate or are the go-to company for aging-in-place solutions and universal design? Unlikely.

Here’s why: Most remodelers treat this demographic as if it was part of their “regular” market. But it isn’t; it’s unique and has unique needs. Boomers seek a company that specializes in those needs and can truly empathize with their situation. Ask yourself: If I had an issue with my vision, would I call a general practitioner or an eye doctor?

Here’s how to “win” over this demographic:

  • Get educated: Become certified (CAPS, CLIPP, UDCP, etc.) and develop a library from the dozens of outstanding books that address aging Baby Boomers’ needs. If you’re to become a true subject-matter expert, you can’t fake it. You need to know your stuff and have a sincere desire to guide people through the remodeling solutions that will allow them to continue safely living in their homes.
  • Take a consultative sales approach: The hard sell won’t work with this group, and often you have to win over the adult children of the over-55s who want to make sure mom and dad are in good hands. If you can establish credibility and build trust, you’ll be referred to more potential customers than you could imagine.
  • Be prepared to respond quickly: More often than not (unfortunately), homeowners tend to be reactive rather than proactive: We’re called in to modify a bath after a slip-and-fall incident rather than converting it into a seated shower in order to prevent such a fall. Sometimes an individual won’t be released from a rehab facility following an accident or surgery until a stair lift or ramp has been installed. You may take a call today from someone who wants to schedule an installation tomorrow. That level of service is worth a premium price. Are you prepared to do this?
  • Target your marketing: Your communications and lead-generating efforts must specifically target Baby Boomers. When you search for resources that already exist to support the 55+ demographic, you’ll feel like you’ve opened the door to another world—active adult centers, occupational therapists, associations, seminar marketing, houses of worship, the Veteran’s Administration, age-specific periodicals, etc. For many home improvement companies, such lead-gen sources seem difficult to cultivate. But they’re not; they’re just different, so it seems more difficult at first.
  • Provide relevant products: You need to position your business as a one-stop shop and offer products and solutions for all areas of the home. If you only offer walk-in tubs, for example, that doesn’t position you as the whole-house expert that homeowners seek.

If you take the right steps to become the go-to provider in your market for aging-in-place solutions, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of repeat-and-referral opportunities.

By the way, did you notice that I didn’t use the word senior in this article until now? Why? Because people in this demographic hate being labeled seniors! 

About the Author

Rick Hirschhaut is president and cofounder of Remodel Direct, the first national remodeling brand dedicated to providing installed products to keep homeowners 55 and older safe and independent in their own homes.

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