Internet Savvy Consumers Know More Than You Think
Today’s consumers not only know what you know — they know what you should know, says Paul Montelongo, CGR, CSP, of Paul Montelongo International, a nationally recognized consultant to the construction industry. They know because they rely on the Internet for information.
What’s more, they are “highly visual” and want an experience — not just a product, Montelongo says.
The following are some suggestions for appealing to today’s sophisticated customers from Montelongo’s presentation, “Be Memorable, or … Be Gone” at the 2006 Custom Builder Symposium:
Know Why They Buy
Know why your consumers buy at least as well as you know how to sell. “Sometimes in the sales process, we jump right in and tell them about all the stuff, without finding out what stuff is important to them,” Montelongo says.
Consumers must get more than features from you. They must see the benefits in buying from you — such as your creativity, expertise, systems, processes, reputation, brand, longevity and product quality.
They also must like you as a person, feel comfortable with you, know they can trust and believe in you. “What are they really buying? They are buying you,” Montelongo says.
Take Your Web Site to the Top
Do what you need to do to position yourself high in the Internet search engines — on the top two or three pages.
When potential buyers land on your Web site, give them a reason — attractive visuals, virtual tours, prices, a mortgage calculator — to stay there. “In about 11 seconds a Web visitor will decide whether they want to be on your site,” Montelongo says.
Once they decide to take the next step with you, they will already be familiar with features and you can focus on the benefits of a relationship with your company.
Make Happy Memories
Make the memories positive ones.
Your project manager will leave a good impression of your company by being on time for the preconstruction meeting, being prepared and being organized.
But also think of ways to take the customer experience over the top by getting whole families involved in building their home. Builders like you have had their buyers’ children pitch coins into the foundation and make a wish, write messages on the framing prior to drywall or leave time capsules in the structure of their new home.
After closing, conduct a thorough new home orientation, pointing out the craftsmanship and attention to detail. Make it a party, with friends and neighbors — otherwise known as referrals.
Be a Great Employer
Treat employees as you would have them treat customers.
“How much do employees want to be patted on the back? How often does your dog want to be petted? Employees want twice as much,” Montelongo says. Appreciation trumps money as a motivator for workers, so never forget to praise them for a job well done.
Make employees part of your “Unique Building Experience Team.” Praise your trade partners in front of your customers and, to the extent possible, include them in the estimating process.
Educate your vendors about your business and learn about theirs — you’ll find ways to partner for a win-win.
For more information, call Paul Montelongo, of Paul Montelongo International, at 866-494-1911, or visit www.PaulMontelongo.com.
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