If you’ve been in the outdoor living area industry for any length of time, you’ve certainly seen some difference in the way homeowners go about their purchases. Just 10 years ago, when home equity loans were popular, customers were willing to part with their money a little easier. Today it seems customers are seeking value in their outdoor projects. What’s the best way to sell to today’s consumers?
There are two different philosophies to approach the in home sale when it comes to outdoor living area projects. Top down versus bottom up selling. By top down I mean you give the customer a price for the whole enchilada, the backyard waterfall, lighting, seating area, fire pit and work down to get into their budget. The bottom up is starting at a very basic project, and working up from there.
With a top down selling approach you’re basically giving the customer a complete, fully loaded offering of everything you can provide, similar to them walking on to a car lot and looking at the top of the line, completely loaded luxury car, and deciding which options aren’t really needed. It’s almost like shocking them with the price so they feel comfortable when the bid comes in lower. While a popular strategy 10 years ago, it’s been less effective with clients in today’s market.
The bottom up approach starts with a bare bone, minimal feature, essentially your base model. This helps the customer feel comfortable with the price, but who wants a stripped down version of anything? This is where your needs analysis and your role as an adviser come into play. How will they be using the area? Is the water feature merely for decoration, or will they be gathering there? A fire pit and a sitting area might fit their needs.
Using the bottom up approach, you’ll be providing your customers the value they’re seeking in their outdoor living area, while leaving yourself room for future work. Maybe the backyard kitchen isn’t in the budget this year, but if you position yourself right and keep in front of them with email newsletters and other touch marketing, there could be another job down the road when they look for further enhancements.
So what approach is working best for your company in this economic climate? Please share your thoughts and ideas.