“I’d like to remodel my basement.”
Okay. This is a good thing, right? Mission accomplished!
You’d naturally want to send someone over to get measurements, submit a quote, follow up in a few days, and… hope for the best.
But more than likely you’ve missed a huge opportunity to create a great fan. A homeowner loyal for life. Who comes back for your services over and over. Someone who recommends you to friends and family.
What’s the secret to making all that happen?
Two key skills:
- Asking Questions
Basically, it comes down to discovering the emotional needs of your homeowner. And the need is rarely the same as the want. So, if they tell you “I want to remodel my basement”, they also have a need to fill.
They may say they want to finish their basement so they’ve got more room or they want to add a “crafting space” for scrap-booking or a home gym so they can get in better shape.
But if you let them keep talking (listening) or you dig a little deeper (asking those questions), you’re likely to discover the real, deep-down need that they want fulfilled.
Why do they really need to remodel the basement? What problem (realized or unrealized) do they need to fix?
Let’s say you have a guy who says he wants a “man cave”. Fair enough. But what if you discover he’s really envious of his best buddy or his next door neighbor who’s got a “tricked out” finished basement with a custom bar, 4 hi-def TVs and a stereo so loud the walls shake?
That envy is a strong need but you may never discover it’s there if you don’t listen and ask.
Now consider this – same set-up where you’ve got a guy who says he wants a “man cave”. When you put your listening skills to work and you ask questions, you’ll find that he really wants alone time. His hectic job, family, and pets are driving him crazy. He needs quiet, comfort, and seclusion.
Consider both of these scenarios and realize the design and construction of both basements would be drastically different. But because you dug deep down, you found out what the homeowner really needed. And you would have made them happier.
Examples of Emotional Needs Your Potential Customers Have:
- Envy/Jealousy – As in the example above. Your potential client may want to keep up with the community and the people in their social network. They crave what others may have and want to “keep up with the Jones’.”
- Pride – Some are leaders in their neighborhood. Early adopters. They’ve got the best landscaping, the newest car, and they want to keep up those appearances. They’ll actually spend more than your average homeowner (and may spend more than they can afford.)
- Identity – For many, their home is who they are. Or, they may have no identity in the house at all (because their spouse controls all the other rooms.) They may be looking to put their own personal touch on every aspect of the room so they can call is theirs.
- Ambition/Aspiration – Similar to keeping up with their neighbors, many customers aspire to reach a higher level. Maybe their home isn’t in their choice of neighborhoods, but they want to feel as if their home really is their castle. They may not be able to afford the finest in materials or products, but you’ll know ways to get them close at a lower cost.
- Fear – Some people fear being judged poorly. Or not feeling like part of the community. They’re afraid they don’t have enough friends in their community and want to fit in. Maybe they worry their kids aren’t popular enough and having a fun kid-friendly basement will help.
These are just a few… but the interesting part? Your homeowner may be feeling more than one (and possibly all) of these needs. They’re nearly all related to each other in some way.
By knowing what your potential customer really needs, you’ll be able to plan accordingly. The prideful owner will expect the best products and materials. The fearful one will want all the necessary options to overcome any future criticism or objections. As stated, the ambitious homeowner will want it to look very high-end but probably won’t break the bank in the process.
When you ask questions and truly listen to what your potential customer is really saying you’ll create a supremely loyal fan. They’ll end up having needs met they may not have even fully realized themselves.
I call it the “I’ll know it when I see it” factor. They may not be able to articulate that they are really jealous of their neighbor. But if you ask some good questions and “read between the lines” in their answers, you’ll hear from that customer (and their friends) many more times in the future.
Tim Clark is the Director of Marketing Communications for improveit! 360 and he’s been with the technology company for two years. During this time, the company has grown rapidly and positioned itself as a leader in delivering business management tools and expertise to thousands of home improvement professionals. Prior to improveit! 360, Tim worked as a marketing director, professional writer, and communications expert with several software companies and the contractor lead generation industry. He is a digital marketing expert with over 10 years experience working in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click advertising (PPC), video production, and content marketing. He holds a bachelors degree in Marketing and International Business from Otterbein University.