Residential Service Contractors: Pay Attention to Do-It-Yourself, Home-Renovation media

RemodelingDave Boduch
Contributing Writer
Master Trainer, Nexstar Network

Property Brothers, House Hunters Renovation, Renovation Realities, House Crashers, Fixer Upper—these shows are having an impact on our industry whether you realize it or not.

Television channels such as HGTV and DIY Network and do-it-yourself-project websites such as Pinterest have made home renovations an ever-popular idea.

If you haven’t ever seen anything like this—and I would say you’re lying if you say you haven’t—the gist of the type of shows that air on these networks is that the homeowners have a situation they’re not happy with and would like a change. They want a remodel; they want new things; they want something different.

In Service System we talk all the time about wants, and it’s important to remember that these shows are helping us with that want. Whether we choose to take advantage of this opportunity or not is up to us.

In 2015, the DIY Network had more than 60,000,000 subscribers, and Home and Garden TV (HGTV) had nearly 95,000,000. Pinterest has 100 million monthly users. Now, not all of your customers watch these channels or use these types of websites, but your customers are in those numbers somewhere, you can be sure of that.

The high traffic on Pinterest and even HGTV.com all says that the consumers are researching. They have recognized they want something and they’re looking at they can make it happen. That “I want” is a powerful thing.

Here’s where we come in: I’ve seen a lot of articles on HGTV.com about how to select a contractor. These articles are telling readers to look for contractors a lot like the ones the channel has on their shows. A lot of these shows are full remodels, and that’s fine if that’s not what you do. You still have the ability to give them one or a few specific elements of what they want—you don’t have to give them a full remodel.

The customers who want these things aren’t everybody you will work with. HGTV viewers tend to be female, around middle age, and making more money than average. But if you’ve seen the shows and you have a general understanding of the typical viewer, all you have to do to avoid missing a sales opportunity is to inquire! It’s as simple as asking what the customer likes or dislikes or whether they’re thinking of making any changes. Then, you can find out if it’s something that was seen on TV and empathize over the fact that you or someone in your life watches those shows, too.

I’ve seen some negative reactions online from contractors about home renovation shows. Here are the top three and how you can easily overcome them:

1. “These shows make it look too simple—my customers will be angry that I need more time to complete the job.”

You’re a professional—it’s part of your job and the Service System to explain to your customers what you will be doing in their home. Explaining the realities of your work is the first step to clearing any objections they may have about the time issue.

2. “The products on those shows and that customers request only come from big name advertisers, and they’re not as good as the ones I want to use.”

I’ve seen the brand names (who are advertisers) on these shows, and even though we don’t always see these things as quality, you should also be able to explain to the customer why the product you want to use is better than what they’re seeing on TV. Confusion and anger come from the customer being left in the dark.

3. “The contractors on these shows are extremely professional, and we’re just never all going to be on that level.”

Yes, some of the hosts of these shows are borderline models. It’s hard to believe they’ve ever used a nail gun in their lives, much less changed a supply line or switched out a plug. But perception equals reality, and how we are perceived is extremely important. The TV contractors are going the extra mile: they’re using technology, they’re excellent consultants and they have lots of empathy. Everything we talk about in Service System, these TV contractors hit out of the park. They’re unbelievable. When the customers expect this, they better get it, or they’re not going to hire you to do any piece of whatever it is they might want. I believe you can be this good and your team can be this good with dedication to the system.

You can have a positive outlook on these shows or a negative one. But we can’t argue with the want factor these shows create. This is emotional. We don’t have to take advantage of this—the customers will! The want outweighs the negatives that might come along with the popularity these shows.

I don’t, and you likely don’t, want to sell just keep selling the usual stuff. I want to sell the products I can get excited about: the lights I can dim from my iPhone, or the thermostat that’s a touch screen. When you get excited about what they’re excited about, that’s the best scenario. In this kind of situation, you have an opportunity to help realize a customer’s dreams and give them something they wish they had. Don’t miss it.

Dave is the owner of AJ Danboise Son, Inc. and has been a member of Nexstar since 2006.

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