One of the things most remodelers love most about their business and their industry is actually remodeling houses. One of the things many of them hate is the financial rollercoaster that they often find themselves on because of the busy season and the inevitable slow down. It seems that a remodeling business is either booming or it’s slow. Many remodelers wish they could flatten out that sales cycle so that it’s not always boom or bust but rather a steady stream of projects throughout the entire year.
Flattening Your Remodeling Sales Cycle
One of the best ways to achieve that consistent stream is by being consistent in your business, especially with a regular marketing and sales program that keeps prospects interested all year long. And by regular, I mean it’s something you’re doing all the time (without having to reinvent the wheel each time you undertake a marketing effort). Consistency in marketing is what generates consistency in sales which creates consistency in your remodeling business and your revenue pipeline.
So how do you flatten your sales cycle and keep a consistent flow of customers through your sales funnel? We recommend starting from the opposite end of the marketing and sales funnel and first focusing on your clients and their perspective. Consumers aren’t thinking about your sales cycle, and they don’t really care. What clients are concerned about is their own buying cycle and buying journey, which is the process they go through before making a major purchasing decision.
The Buyers Journey for Remodeling Clients
The Inbound Marketing experts at HubSpot talk about the Five Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle. Here’s an overview:
This is when a customer identifies a need they have (a remodeled home) and come to the realization that your company is well suited to meet that need. Of course, that means you have to get in front of them, acknowledge their need (or remind them of it) and remind them that you understand and can help. Your potential buyers aren’t just looking for a house—they’re looking for a building partner.
So how can you reach consumers in the first stage of their buying process and help them move on to the next phase of the buyer’s journey? One of our favorite ways to reach these consumers is through inbound marketing practices including blogging, social media, emails, premium content offers, and campaigns. By answering your prospective client’s questions about remodeling their home, they will find your business and the answers to their questions, creating a positive correlation with your brand. All of the listed inbound marketing practices will help in the awareness stage and help your business stay top of mind when they enter the next stage.
This is where your potential customer evaluates how well you can meet his or her needs. This is where you’re going to be compared with other remodelers. What sets you apart? Why should they choose you? The better you understand your ideal customer, the better job you’ll do at explaining how you’ll meet their needs.
You can help consumers make this decision through similar inbound marketing tactics listed in the previous section, but also through your website’s "about", "services", and "gallery" pages. Write stories and tell users why you are the right choice for them. Do you give no b.s. quotes that are within 5% of the overall cost of the project? Do you have exceptional customer service and a killer warranty program? Tell your story of why consumers should hire you and your team.
In this part of the process, you’re building a relationship with your prospect. Your marketing efforts are more specific and targeted. You’re moving from general information to more specific issues that your prospect is concerned about. This is where you can really separate yourself from the competition. It’s where the customer thinks: “This company understands what I want and how to deliver it.”
You can start this process early by talking with the prospect and learning as much as you can about them. Really listen to their questions and concerns and be as helpful and informative as you can. Walk them through the process, what it might look like to work with your business and what they can expect from your company. This can be done through face-to-face interactions or through inbound marketing tactics.
This is when your marketing efforts shift over to sales efforts. Your marketing team turns qualified, nurtured leads over to the sales team to close the deal. Sales helps the customer through the contract stage and is with them through the finished product of their remodeled home. The sales team should make the process as painless as possible for the customer and provide a delightful experience.
For remodelers, the best business is repeat business. And remodelers also rely heavily on referrals. That’s why you want to make the whole remodeling experience (from marketing to sales to completion) so fantastic that your clients will tell their friends and acquaintances about it and remodel with your company again in the future. You’ll want to capture those testimonials for others to see as well. Reviews online often affect the purchasing decisions of prospective clients all the way back in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
The Sales Cycle for Remodelers
So how does this flatten the sales cycle? The point is, even if you don’t have a major sales push going on, you can always be working on one of those five areas. Your website, your blogs, and your offline marketing efforts should always be making prospects aware of what you do. You can always look for fresh new ways to talk about the things that really matter to prospective remodelers. And you can always look for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
You need to do this all year round because you don’t know when your next customers will be starting their search for the information they need to choose you as their remodeler. The buyer's journey might take 3 months or it might take a year or more for a consumer to realize they are ready to remodel their home. If you are continually in front of potential clients, you have a much better chance of turning them into customers when they are ready.