When supply is high and demand is low, buyers are looking for the best value. Many people in the remodeling industry think that means they have to cut their price and jump into the three-bid war game, but the panic-driven mindset is not a healthy place for a salesperson to be. “The place to go with prospects,” says Jim Stephens, a Sandler Training consultant, “is to recognize that now is the best time to remodel.” To convince prospects of that, establish yourself as a trusted adviser. To do so, build trust — quickly. Some tips:

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  • Act as a trusted adviser. Help prospects over roadblocks they aren’t even aware of. They know it’s a good marketplace, but get them to see how they can take advantage of that; play the role of consultant.
  • Don’t skirt the issue of the economy. Call out that 800-pound gorilla up front and say, “Let’s wrestle that together.”

Let prospects know that you have leverage, for example with trade partners willing to negotiate price, and that you can help prospects take advantage of that. Stephens counsels: “Tell prospects, ‘It hasn’t been this good a buyer’s market ever, and we want to help you take advantage of it. You’ll end up with something you’re buying at a low point in the marketplace that will appreciate over time.’”

  • Focus on the customer. The biggest differentiator in today’s market is how you deal with customers. “The [homeowner] doesn’t care about you or your company. They care about their issues,” Stephens says. “The person who takes time to help [homeowners] work out their options and think through their process wins because that person helps them discover.”
  • Have “real” conversations. “Bring up difficult topics ... like the economy,” Stephens says. “Offer your opinion when [prospects] ask for it versus steam-rolling. Let the customer buy and not be sold. When you push, people will resist.”

Also, be transparent and willing to disqualify a prospect. “It makes you appealing,” Stephens says. “If you’re desperate, it’s not sexy.”
In the end, you will bring value to the table and you won’t be trying to compete on price. “If clients recognize that you are looking out for their best interests, they’ll trust you,” Stephens points out. “You don’t have to cut profits or margins, just pour yourself into taking care of your clients.”

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.