Creating a Design Experience
Recently, my wife and I visited a local kitchen design center to plan new kitchen cabinets and counter tops. We purchased a home last month and remodeling the kitchen has been first priority. The metal roof is planned for next year! It was our first time participating in a design experience, and, considering our budget grew significantly over the course of the one hour appointment, I began taking notes on how to create the emotional design experience necessary when selling a $35,000 metal roof.
Dating back to Aristotle, it has been known that people most often make decisions to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. In a design experience – dreaming of their ideal kitchen, bathroom, or roof – consumers are overcome with excitement when imagining how much pleasure they will gain from their completed project. Budget takes a back seat to the ideal, optimum solution.
Homeowners do not naturally think of their re-roofing decision as a design experience – the roof is the necessary evil that protects the pleasurable parts of the home. But, with the roof composing 60% of a home’s exterior, our industry’s beautiful products can transform the look of any home and make pulling in the driveway a pleasurable experience. Before asking for $35,000, you must turn the homeowner’s roofing decision into a design experience and generate excitement in how beautiful their home will look once your roof is installed.
Our consultant did an excellent job facilitating our kitchen design experience. Here are a few things I noticed:
She got us dreaming. She asked questions to get us talking about what our dream kitchen would look like, down to the smallest detail. Before making any proposal or recommendations, she wanted details on the size, color, trim design, door style, shelving layout, hardware, backsplash, and more. The more we talked, the more excited we became.
You must get your homeowners excited about transforming the exterior of their home, turning it into everything they have hoped and dreamed of. Ask good questions to learn all you can, with as much detail as possible. Here are some questions you can use:
“If you could make any change, what would the exterior of your home look like?”
“What do you like about your current roof? What don’t you like?”
“What metal roofs have you seen that you like?”
“What do you like about your neighbors’ roofs? What don’t you like?”
She was thorough. When helping us choose a cabinet manufacturer, she didn’t simply offer a good-better-best line up. She explained how one manufacturer only used dove joints, which cabinets come standard with soft-close hardware, and which use plywood rather than a laminate. She used her displays effectively, so we could see, touch, and feel the difference, and we could make the best decision for us.
You must be thorough and specific when explaining the nuances of your system, using samples and demo kits to illustrate. It is only a design experience, though, if you allow the homeowner to make small decisions on each component. You engage them in the process and create excitement in the solution by explaining your paint finishes, trim designs, underlayments, sealants, etc., and allowing them to decide which are right for them.
She assigned each decision a dollar amount. As we made these smaller decisions, she tied a dollar amount to each. We knew how much extra the farm sink, glass doors, and molding would cost, and they each seemed like small upcharges when viewed individually. I started getting a little nervous when we kept saying, “We can always pull it out later.” I knew that once we included it, there was no pulling out the farm sink due to budget. We have watched way too much HGTV for that!
By tieing legitimate dollar amounts to each decision, the final price tag is less jarring and it is a reflection of every decision the homeowners made along the way. It also softly prepares them that their dream roof may cost more than they expected to spend. I was adding up each of our kitchen decisions and was well aware we surpassed our budget, but I knew it was because of what we wanted, not what the consultant was trying to sell us.
When done properly, you might design a solution the homeowner is willing to wait for. Few homeowners schedule appointments expecting to pay $35,000 or more for a metal roof, but that is the legitimate cost for a roof that accomplishes all their design goals and forever eliminates their roofing worries. If the homeowners are emotionally invested in your proposal, and have no pressing roof issues, they might wait until their budget allows them to purchase your solution. Even if they have existing issues, they might consider a repair as a stopgap in the meantime. I am not suggesting you not try to close the deal on the first night, but I encourage you to have procedures in place for homeowners who truly want your solution, but must budget accordingly.
If you transform a homeowner’s roofing decision into a design experience, you separate yourself from the competition and create an incredible amount of emotion around their ideal solution. Help them dream of all they hope to accomplish with their next roof and build it one component and decision at a time. (Using your manufacturer’s Visualizer tool can be a huge help as well!)
As always, thank you for being here and participating in this conversation. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any feedback, questions, or ways we can be of service.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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