Mackenzie | September 28, 2021 | Evenbound
With any marketing problem, I always find it's best to go back to the foundation your efforts are built on, which should be your buyer personas. Take a look at your buyer personas:
If you're noticing some flaws in your buyer personas, it might be time to take another look. Really ask yourself, "Is this my client?". And don't stop there, either.Some of the best buyer personas are created using actual data. As a design-build firm, you've probably built great relationships with clients who've worked with your firm for decades.
Ask them about themselves!
Who are they, who is the decision-maker at their company, what are their pain points, and how have you solved them in the past? A simple survey of some of your best clients — done tastefully, and maybe with a gift card as a thank you — will help you ensure you're marketing to the right people.
If, on the other hand, you're looking at your buyer personas and they seem pretty spot on, then it's probably your messaging that could use the work. Do your marketing and sales teams keep running into leads who say your costs are too expensive? Sure, your competitors could be underselling you. But what's more likely is you have a messaging problem. If you keep running into leads who either:
Then you have a messaging problem. Now that you know who you're selling to, and what their pain points are, let's identify where your messaging might be going wrong.
There's a reason those long-term, repeat clients continue to choose your design-build firm over and over for their projects. You provide a value to them that matches the cost of your services.
If you're running into an issue where many of your sales prospects don't seem to understand that value, it's probably time to take a look at your sales process, your website, and your design-build firm's marketing messaging. Your goal now is to clarify the value of your service.
Site visitors should be able to see at a glance:
Most of us who understand the design-build process understand the value you provide. You make your prospect's lives easier by offering them:
For most design-build firms, the value you're offering to your clients is significant. But do your leads know that?My guess is that many of your ideal clients aren't as familiar with the design-build process as you think. It's your job to educate them, so they understand exactly what they're going to get when they work with your team, and how that's different from whatever Bob the Builder is offering.
Focus on education. What exactly can a prospect expect when they work with you? Why does that cost more than what Bob the Builder is offering? And how does working with you make their life easier? Once you start educating your prospects, I think you'll find that people are less concerned about how much things cost, and more concerned about what they're getting for what they're spending.
Which brings me to my next point:
It's universally known that a company that doesn't list their prices is expensive. Don't believe me? When's the last time you were casually strolling around town and stopped into a restaurant that had a menu without prices listed?
Yikes. That's too much of a risk for lunch, right? Whether it's true or not, the modern consumer has learned to equate no price with high prices. There's probably no greater sales killer than a prospect not knowing what to expect. So, how do you fix it?
List Your Design-Build Firm's Prices
But I can't! Every project is different! There's no way to list my prices on my site! I hear you. No two construction projects are the same. Instead of trying to give out a solid price, offer your site visitors and prospects a price range.
If you typically work on custom homes of a certain size, with a range of features, what, in general, is the price range? Even if you put a price range as large as $1M-$2M, that's enough context to assuage people's fears that you only build for the ultra-mega rich. But won't that turn customers away? What if we're too expensive?
Listing your costs and prices can go a long way to make sure your sales team is only talking to the most qualified leads. And it can also go a long way to draw in more of the qualified leads you want. As soon as qualified leads see you're in budget, you've removed any concern they might have about picking up the phone.
And finally, always make sure you're explaining your costs.
Don't just put a price up there. Put a price up there and tell your prospective customers exactly what they're getting for that price:
People aren't going to pay for something just because it's expensive. They will pay for something expensive if they know what they're getting for that expense.
Selling the value of your design-build firm isn't an easy thing to do. In fact, it goes against pretty much every traditional marketing concept most of us think we know. So, let's take a look at how selling the value of service works in real life with a quick case study on Dyson vacuums.
Vacuums these days have gotten a little nuts. There are robo vacs, cordless vacs, steam vacs, the list goes on. Consumers have so much to choose from. And amidst all the fancy features and robovacs who will do the job for you, Dyson, with their $600 vacuums, continues to crush the market.
Why? I can buy a vacuum that looks very similar to a Dyson upright vacuum at Target for $50. Why would I spend $600 on a vacuum I could get for 10% of that cost? Well, Dyson has made it very clear that they provide significant value for that $500 price tag. Let's take a look. When I navigate to one of Dyson's vacuum product pages, here's what I get.
Wow, what a beautiful vacuum. Not only is it lovely, but it's specifically designed to address my problem — a 100 lb Golden Retriever who never stops shedding! Not only does it offer THE BEST suction on the market, but look how happy this man looks vacuuming his home while his dog and child track mud throughout the living room.
Clearly, this vacuum can more than handle my one-dog, no-child dirt concerns. And there's more! In addition to telling me the benefits of this vacuum, Dyson also tells me all the value I get by buying directly from them.
Plus, that's all on top of the most powerful suction of any vacuum.
I don't even have to think about what value I'm getting for this $600 price tag. I'm getting a vacuum that specifically addresses my problem (pet hair), I'm getting about a million attachments, plus all of the customer service and value that comes with a DYSON vacuum. It doesn't hurt that Dyson has that brand notoriety either.
Voila — Dyson has sold their $600 vacuums on just the value of their service. And they didn't hide their prices, and they didn't compromise on prices either. Nope. They made it clear what they were charging, why they were charging that much, and who their vacuum was for. And in case you didn't hear me the first time — they're crushing it.
Yes, I understand that vacuums are vastly different than a full-scope, start-to-finish design-build contract.
But, the sentiment behind the marketing strategy is the same:
Market that and you're going to start eliminating some of those tough, "that's too expensive" conversations. The better you can educate prospects about what you're selling, and how that provides them a greater value than a less expensive service with fewer features, the better deals you're going to close.When people can buy into the value, most are likely to look past the cost. They want a long-term solution they know will work. That outweighs cost every time.
Now that you've identified who your ideal customers are, the value you're offering them, and how that value makes their lives easier, you need to implement that value-focused messaging. I'd suggest developing a value-based campaign in each segment of your design-build firm's marketing plan.
When you put all of the information out on the table, the right customers are going to come to you.
Developing solid messaging for your design-build firm is probably one of the most difficult parts of marketing. If you're having trouble with personas, messaging, or promoting that messaging, the Evenbound team is here to help. We've worked with design-build professionals in both residential and commercial construction and we'd be happy to answer your questions, too.