Home Contractors Need to Sell to Buyers at Different Stages
When thinking about winning bids with prospects, many home services professionals find themselves thinking about how to be more effective in the sales process; first do a little connecting, asking, and so forth. You don’t design a service just because you like it (without consideration about the buyer), so why would you use a selling process without the consideration of the buyer? We challenge you to start thinking about selling – from the buyer's perspective (essential foundation to inbound marketing).
How exactly does the buyer think?
Here are the top major steps buyers go through during their journey to saying yes (you might find yourself nodding your head yes about yourself while reading this):
The prospect has no idea that they want a new kitchen installed or their entire backyard space renovated by your company. That might be the outcome of their problem, but in this very early stage, they have just recognized or come to terms with an opportunity in their home. For example, they may have family coming from their native country in a year and want to fix up something major to make their visiting family more comfortable. They might have children turning into teenagers and realize they want to create spaces for their kids and friends to spend time at the house. At this point, it is very unlikely that the prospect knows exactly what they need and how to do it with any other of their spaces, and they certainly aren't considering budget yet. The homeowners search terms such as "how to keep my teenager at home more often," or "impressing family visiting from Italy." And of course, Google doesn't just match their search terms word by word exactly, but rather matches their intentions for searching. Read more about Google's algorithm change here.
Your job here? Feed your potential prospects with information that will help them to identify possible solutions to their problems. This will help you reach new customers. Give them content that directly addresses the concerns they have at this stage. In return, they'll remember you and start learning about you. Comparing companies in who does the best pool design is not helpful here and if that is the only kind of content you have on your site, you will not be attracting your prospect early enough. However someone else is - and they are going to be a lot more likely to later win this bid (with you likely never even having the chance). Lastly, offer them to sign up for your blog to keep them engaged and returning often. Related: How Landscape Contractors Can Increase the Size of Their Average Project
At this point, the homeowner knows how they will fulfill their opportunity or problem. For the homeowners that will now have their kids grow into teenagers, they know they want to invest in their outdoor spaces. They're still not sure exactly sure what or how at this point. They'll want to learn about different options for the outdoors and associated costs. They are thinking about how their home will look with various design ideas. They might browse through sites like Houzz for inspiration. Their search terms will include phrases like, "different pool ideas," "how to make teenagers happy in backyard," or "average costs of pool and patio."
Your job here? You guessed it, provide content that is relevant to this stage in the buyer's journey. Educate on budgeting for home renovations, comparisons of benefits (and maybe concerns) on common projects your business provides. Offer phone consultations to help. Enabling this step's relevant content will help you come up in search results and therefore help to make sure you continue to learn about your prospect as they become more comfortable with your brand. Little by little, they are starting to recognize you - going through your sales cycle, on their own terms. About that blog of yours - have they signed up yet? If not, make sure you present them opportunities to do so often on your site!
The big one is here. The homeowner has decided that they want to recreate their outdoor space (as an example) - with a pool, outdoor TV sitting area, and expansion of their current outdoor kitchen area. This is where the prospect will definitely become someone's client. They are shopping around for vendors and products. They're comparing different companies by their online reputations (website brand image, reviews, social media, etc.). If they have learned from your company during their journey, they are going back to consider you (likely from the blog they've subscribed to). They will likely feel an extra connection with you despite the fact that you haven't even met yet. Their search terms now start with "landscape services in city, state" and then "your company name," followed by "pool and TV sitting area" and start searching for product specific items such as "patio floor."
Your job here? You guessed it - content! Give them content that they care about. Help them find material on your site with blogs about time-lines, your company reputation, case studies, and product ideas. Show them that you understand what their needs are at this point.
Then: You have them on the phone, they've learned quite a bit about your company. Don't stop here, don't assume because you have an incredible content selling machine of a website that the job is done. Continue to work with them based on their perspective. Make sure you are selling the experience of the work you're bidding for - that is the reason after all they are buying it! (Read more about selling experience here). Talk to them about their true reason for this project and make sure your conversations align to their needs. This will result in a beautiful project and a very happy customer (as well all know well in this industry, a beautiful project doesn't always results in a happy customer.)