Selling the Value of Kitchens & Baths

There's one aspect of our products and services that I believe we all too often forget to use in creating and closing a sale. Yet, this feature may well be the most important element in the prospect's purchasing decision. What I'm speaking of here is the investment value of a kitchen or bath, which is often overlooked in our rush to focus on our wonderful products, services and designs.

So, the question is, how do we "prove" the value we're offering to consumers when they remodel their kitchens and bathrooms?

First, we need to examine how our prospects are being conditioned. Consumers are used to seeing newspaper flyers that sell kitchens by the foot, or advertising that features a price for a 20-ft., L-shaped kitchen of the simplest design. These can obviously be misleading. A lack of understanding of the work involved, especially with remodeling projects, also leads consumers to underestimate the cost of labor when having work done. New electrical systems, wall coverings, flooring, lighting and similar items all add cost to projects, and are often not considered in the original concept and pricing by the prospect.'

Once prospects begin to learn about products available and options offered, they often want to include these things in their projects. However, the addition of these items may very well result in a budget-busting dilemma. I believe that the majority of people willing to tackle the remodeling of a kitchen or bathroom will find the money they need to purchase the products and services they want as long as they can justify the investment.

Points of investing
There are several ways that you can help your prospect justify investing in your offering.'

Using myself as an example, I needed to obtain proper lighting for a home show display that we featured once each year. I'd been using inexpensive clamp-on reflector lights that were unattractive, as well as ineffective in keeping the light properly directed. In addition, after each show, the fixtures would get so damaged that in the final moments before the next show's opening, I would be scrambling to buy five or six of the units, along with the 75-watt flood bulbs that went with them.'

After working with photographers on a project, I was intrigued by their use of quartz halogen lights on chrome-plated adjustable stands. Thinking I had found a solution, I went into a photo supply shop to make my purchase. Unfortunately, I immediately suffered from sticker shock. Because I was conditioned to investing $40 to $60 for lighting, I wasn't expecting a price tag of over $100.'

After the initial shock, I stopped to ask myself if I needed to do this, how long they would last and if the investment was worth it. Well, I ended up making the investment, and I have been using the lights for 18 years now, and at three shows a year instead of just one. Had I still been buying the inexpensive lights (or were they really?), I would have spent $700 to $1,100 dollars by now and not been as happy.

Well, our customer today has similar concerns. I see it as our responsibility to offer proof that the investment they are about to make will last a long time. I recommend using warranties, product qualities and industry information to reinforce the long life expectancy of their project.

Having a product last a long time is only part of the picture, however. How often the customer will use it and enjoy its benefits is another important piece. A kitchen, bathroom or laundry area can potentially be used 365 days a year, so having the best design is a great benefit. Do the math for your customer, and point out that two people using a remodeled master bathroom shower, for instance, will take in excess of 10,000 showers over 5,000 mornings. Don't hesitate to magnify the amount of use they will get. It will simply act as a reinforcement of the importance of a proper investment.

Proving the wisdom of the investment from a financial point of view is also very important when trying to close the deal. It's important to be prepared with figures to reinforce the customer's decision. Find information supporting how kitchens and baths will hold their value. Generally speaking, residential properties will increase in value, so the new investment will increase in value, as well. When your customer invests in their kitchen, for instance, they not only get to use it over time, but the kitchen will hold its original value, and likely increase in value over the years.

A good return
I had an employee who believed she and her husband were going to be in their house for at least 20 years. They did an extensive remodel of their kitchen and were set to enjoy it. Within weeks of the project's completion, however, her husband was transferred.

At the time, the housing market was soft and there were several "for sale" signs in their neighborhood. Some of the homes had been on the market for months and there had been no activity. As a result, when the couple listed their home, they were expecting to be in for a long wait. They were worried about just selling their home, let alone recovering their recent investment in the kitchen. As it turned out, their investment in the kitchen was the key in getting their asking price within 24 hours of the "for sale" sign going up in their yard.

I believe we can all relate to how an investment in a car deteriorates as the years go by and the mileage goes up. Five, 10, 15 years later, however, a kitchen or bath is still in place, and your customers are still enjoying the benefits of their investment, and the investment keeps its worth.'

Use these concepts to prove their worth to your prospect. You've no doubt had experiences and heard first-hand about investments in kitchen and bath remodeling where the value was not only maintained but increased. Take advantage of these success stories and share them with your prospects.'

Your potential customer is generally so focused on door styles, finishes, types of countertops and the elements of design, their thoughts are probably a long way from the idea of a return on their investment. It's important that you help your customers purchase what they really want to own. Do this by supporting their decision, one based on information that offers proof that they're making a wise investment. You'll find yourself closing more sales.'

The results are a win for your customer and a win for yourself. And that is the way it should be.

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