As economic uncertainty continues, homeowners are increasingly nervous about taking on flooring projects. There is an entire generation of homeowners who have no experience dealing with the levels of inflation we are seeing. While some homeowners may feel encouraged to improve their home because of higher property valuations, rising interest rates make borrowing for such projects less appealing.
To better understand how consumers are dealing with these stressors, Modernize Home Services surveyed nearly 30,000 homeowners who are considering major home improvements. Sixty-one percent say their level of stress related to their home improvement projects is “more than they can handle” or “tough to manage.”
Based on our findings, here are a few tips to help your sales team work with stressed homeowners:
Deal with inflation head-on. The stress factors cited most often in the survey had to do with rising costs (gas, interest rates, supplies, etc.). The vast majority, 85%, agreed either entirely or somewhat that “inflationary pricing right now puts supplies and labor costs out of reach on [their] budget.”
Flooring salespeople must be prepared to turn concerns about inflation into a selling opportunity. For instance, consider authorizing sellers to lock in some or all costs of a flooring replacement once the homeowner signs a contract and makes a deposit. Help them understand that their commitment can lock in costs before they increase even more.
Promote availability. When asked which issues might cause homeowners to delay projects, 72% entirely or somewhat agreed the reason is they “can’t find contractors who can even fit us into their schedule.” To address this concern, make your company stand out by responding quickly to interested homeowners and being transparent around scheduling expectations. Whether start dates are in weeks or months, homeowners need to plan accordingly. Quick communication with consumers is always important, but it is even more critical when many homeowners feel the pool of available contractors is limited.
Help navigate borrowing costs. Another often-mentioned source of homeowner stress is high interest rates. In fact, when we asked what factors might interrupt planned home improvements, 82% said “increases in interest rates.”
There are a few different ways to respond to stresses about interest rates. One tried-and-true response is to put these high rates in a longer historical context. Share your own financing options. Ensure that reps have current data on rates generally charged for well-qualified homeowners.
Train your team to empathize. Build awareness of these economic stresses in your communication with homeowners. The best-performing flooring contractors view homeowner trust as a key competitive differentiator. If all your sales team are aware that 61% of homeowners are feeling high levels of stress, they can dial up their empathic listening and prepare talking points to calm the customers and ease their worst fears.
Lastly, reinforce the importance of empathy in sales scripts and training. Encourage your reps to slow down, listen carefully, empathize and respond with as much positivity as possible when they sense stress from homeowners.
There’s no denying our challenging economic environment. However, with flooring inquiries still coming in, you can put yourself in a better position to close sales.
Gregg Hicks, a business leader for Modernize Home Services, has 20 years of experience across web analytics, SEO, social, SEM and affiliate marketing. He specializes in explaining the value of thoughtful matchmaking between homeowners and home improvement professionals.