by Lane Mangum, VP Business Services, The Concrete Countertop Institute
In my last 2 posts I gave some tips for selling to homeowners. Well, actually, homeowners are not your best focus for selling. Here’s why:
1. The only way to get referrals is by word-of-mouth
Everyone has heard a contractor boast, “I get all my business from word of mouth.” But what if you could multiply the power of word of mouth by a factor of 10 or even 50? You can, if you stop focusing on marketing to homeowners.
Think about it. Let’s say Alex created a beautiful concrete countertop for your kitchen, and you were thrilled and wanted to tell all of your friends and family about it. How many friends and family (not clients) do you personally know right now who are remodeling their kitchen or bathroom? Zero? One? Three? So you could refer perhaps one to three people who were solid leads to Alex, if any.
Now think about a kitchen designer. How many people do you think a kitchen designer knows who are remodeling their kitchen or bathroom? Everyone who walks through her showroom door! Probably 50 or more people at any one time. If that kitchen designer sent you referrals, it would be at least 50 times more powerful than Susie Homeowner sending you referrals.
Put your marketing time and money into developing relationships with the influencers in your community – the top kitchen designers, cabinet makers, custom builders and architecture firms. These relationships will pay off far more and build your business a lot faster in the long run than word of mouth from homeowners.
2. Homeowners are not good bosses
If you’ve ever worked with a finicky homeowner, you know what a headache (if not out-right nightmare) it can be, especially if the homeowner is acting as their own General Contractor. We have heard horror stories from people who installed a job and then were refused payment because the homeowner just didn’t feel like it; homeowners who changed what they wanted constantly, causing hours of wasted effort; homeowners who were dissatisfied before the job is even complete and wanted a full refund – the list goes on.
When you work directly with a (good) kitchen designer, architect or builder, you have a substantial buffer and safety net. These people are professionals, and they know how construction projects run. Not to mention, you have a more reliable income, as you get paid through the third party and not the homeowner, so funds are more easily guaranteed.
Budgets are tight across the board right now. Sell wisely. Use your resources to reach as wide a market as possible, and never underestimate the power of relationship marketing.
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