A college friend was driving to Alaska. Somewhere in the middle of Canada, his van died. He and his two passengers pooled what money they had and bought a very cheap used Chevy van and affectionately named it “The Option.”
Whatever the situation, we like to have options. I know those hippie friends of mine still love having options. Boomers and every generation of Americans after them expect options.
Remodelers report that prospects have become information hounds. We as remodeling salespeople are finding ourselves providing more and more information and options in order to close a sale. Most are lamenting this development, but we had better get used to it. This is the information age. The one who provides information will get the job.
I just received a proposal from my HVAC sub with three options for one of our projects. It came in the form of a PDF with each option having a different background color on the page.
One of my plumbing contractors trains his service techs to offer homeowners five options, with corresponding prices, to resolve their plumbing issue. This is done on the spot.
My prospects used to choose either “design-to-budget” or “budget-to-design” for our approach to their feasibility study. Now we provide both answers and a handful of in-between options (those of you who know me, also know that we’re not doing this for “free”).
The Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey reports that the affluent are still buying whatever they want but that they are feeling the need to do more due diligence than they used to, convincing themselves that the purchase they are going to make anyway is a good value.
Change your estimating system and spreadsheets to efficiently spit out multiple pricing scenarios. Reformat your proposals to clearly lay out options like an à la carte menu.
We recently provided a client with a spreadsheet showing a base price, the cost effects of breaking the projects into phases, and at least a dozen à la carte add-ons. This added weeks of time for my estimator, which the client happily paid for, and then signed the contract.
Looks like you have an option: Either provide clear options and thrive, or don’t and go out of business.
—Greg Antonioli is owner of Out of the Woods Construction & Cabinetry, in Acton, Mass., vice president of his National Association of the Remodeling Industry chapter, and a Sandler Sales trainee. Click here to read more from Greg Antonioli.