Some salespeople say that every home improvement transaction comes down to price. Do you believe that? Or is it simply a self-fulfilling prophecy of sales personnel who don't understand why the consumer buys? These are the reps who are still using price drops to manipulate homeowners into buying. Those who believe that price drives the market develop blind spots when it comes to what's really happening and why a consumer chooses one contractor over another.

Why They Buy Surveys of consumer buying decisions clearly indicate that price doesn't drive the process. Here's what consumers tell researchers they want from contractors, in this order:

  • Guarantee or warranty
  • Availability to do the work when wanted
  • Competitive price
  • A full-time, professional contractor
  • Brand the homeowner wants
  • Professionally prepared proposal
  • Business longevity
  • Variety of options and samples
  • Neat appearance of salesperson
  • Testimonial letters and/or pictures of company's work
  • Notice that when consumers address price, they indicate “competitive price,” not lowest price. Homeowners will often pay 30% more, even up to double the lowest price, provided the reason for the difference is clear.

    Showroom Selling What does this have to do with showroom selling? Everything. If you look at all 10 items and distill them into a single thought in the homeowner's head, this is what it comes down to: Consumers buy based on trust and confidence. And a showroom can be a far more powerful tool for establishing this than a single in-home presentation.

    Consumers need to know they are selecting the right product from the right company. A properly managed showroom is very effective at putting the contractors' best foot forward versus a contractor without a showroom.

    Everyone agrees that the showroom must be linked to a sales process, but how and when? Some contractors insist the prospect come to the showroom; others don't. Some try to close the sale in the showroom; others don't. What's clear at this point is that industry-wide metrics for determining showroom best practices, as linked to the sales process, have yet to be developed. But count on this: They will be soon. —Richard Kaller, president of Certified Contractors Network, has 39 years of in-home sales experience. Visit www or call 610.642.9505.