Ever wonder how a company like Starbucks can consistently charge prices three times that of their competitors for a product as simple as a standard 12-ounce cup of coffee? It's not necessarily because they offer a vastly superior product, says Beverly Koehn, sales consultant and owner of Beverly Koehn & Associates.
"The reason they can charge so much more is because the focus is on the experience," she says, "not just the product."
When a customer walks into one of their stores, she explains, they know exactly what to expect from the the start of the process to the moment they walk out the door. From the ambient music playing in the background to the recycled cardboard sheaths protecting customers' hands from piping hot cups of coffee, the experience is consistently easy and enjoyable.
It's no secret that the remodeling process is not a pretty one. It's invasive; it's time consuming; it's stressful; and it's expensive. But the remodeler who is able to take that same process and make it feel like something different entirely -- something exciting, easy, even enjoyable -- is the remodeler who will be able to charge what he is worth.
In Koehn's seminar, "Selling Value, Not Price," delivered Wednesday morning at the Remodeling Show in Las Vegas, she identified a number of ways that remodelers can differentiate their company's experience from their competitors'. Here are a few of her key suggestions:
Align expectations. "It's so important to spend time up front with the customer aligning their expectations [of the remodeling process] with your own," says Koehn. "Clients need to know what they're getting into" from the start," she explains. A client might not mind paying a bit more for a tankless water heater if the cost is explained up front; they will certainly be upset, however, if the extra cost is sprung on them late in the game.
Build your brand. A strong, dominant brand is a "significant image built around the one thing your company does best." This image should be built around a "point of differentiation" -- some unique facet of your company that your competition can't offer. Figure out what your company's message will be, and plaster it (and your logo) on all of your company's materials.
Focus on the benefits. "Buyers don't buy features," says Koehn. "They buy benefits of features." So don't devote all of your sales pitch to [ITAL]what[ITAL] your company offers. Focus instead on why it specifically benefits them.
Educate the client. By educating clients about the differences between products -- what, specifically, makes those granite counters better than your standard offering? -- you will stimulate their interest in springing for the upscale model.
Hire for value. "Remodeling is a people business," says Koehn. "While other companies may be able to copy your designs, undercut your prices, or even match your quality, they can't replicate the attitudes of your employees." With the right people in place, your employees can become the point of differentiation upon which to build your brand.