Last time we talked about how times have changed in the home improvement lead generation business from an immediate focus to a funneled approach.
This transition has been encouraged by the necessity to stem the tide regarding poor lead quality, higher sales team turnover rates, inferior ROI’s and the negativity surrounding rescissions and credit rejections.
But maybe more importantly, this transformation has been fueled by changes in how home improvement buyers perform their due diligence as well as their overall decision making process.
Today’s home improvement buyers journey has radically changed. Not so long ago a homeowner might see an ad for new windows and think, “You know, the wife has been on me about taking care of some of the windows that we have.” They’d open the yellow pages, look for a good ad and call salespeople from three different companies out to give them an estimate.
These were perfect candidates for the tomorrow and next day leads that we talked about last time.
What Has Changed in the Way Homeowners Buy
However, with the proliferation of marketing, educational and performance ratings information available, especially on the internet, and demographical changes, those types of purchasing habits have been replaced by a longer, more deliberate buyers journey.
In fact, research indicates that the percentage of people that rely on the salesperson as a source of information is at an all time low; a scary thought for those of us in the home improvement business.
The good news is that there are ways to respond to this significant change in the way our customers buy. It first begins with an understanding of the home improvement buyers journey.
So, let’s first define the 5 steps in this journey and talk a little about the implications of each. Over the course of the next few visits we’ll more fully develop each of the steps and how we can best leverage our marketing and sales efforts to take advantage of this pilgrimage.
Today's Home Improvement Buyers Journey
- Awareness—This isn’t just a peripheral awareness that something is wrong, but what we are referring to here is the acceptance that something needs to be done now. The home improvement buyers journey DOESN’T begin until the homeowner reaches this point. (Remember this—we’ll come back to this later as it is important) This is where the adventure begins.
- Research designed to educate—More than ever, today’s home improvement buyer desires education. There’s an adage that is more true today than ever, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Educating themselves allows a homeowner to feel more in control of the buying process. This part of the trek also includes identifying some potential supply alternatives based on word of mouth referrals and reviews.
- Final choice of potential suppliers—Upon completion of the educational process, as determined by the homeowner, they’ll make choices as to which dealers they’ll consider as possible suppliers for their window job. This could be one, or many, depending upon all of the research that they have completed. It is estimated that by the time the homeowner reaches this point between 60 and 70 percent of their home improvement buyers journey is complete.
- Final decision on supplier is made—After visit(s) by potential replacement window dealers are complete, the homeowner uses all previous information gathered, adds new information gleaned during the dealer visit(s), including pricing, and makes a final decision as to who will be awarded the project.
- Additional purchases—Based on chosen dealer performance, opportunities for additional purchases can exist either from the homeowner directly, or via powerful personal referrals.
Key to transforming your organization into one that takes advantage of this new model is figuring out how to market to, and capture information from, homeowners as early in their expedition as possible.
Next time we’ll begin pulling each of these apart and talking about how to do so.