Design-Build Marketing: How to Sell The Value of Your Service in 2 Simple Steps

Mackenzie | September 28, 2021 | Evenbound

We work with a lot of construction professionals. From custom home builders to design-build firms that specialize in commercial construction, we get what you do. And we get that you're probably struggling to convince people why your services cost more than Bob the Builder who's underbid you significantly.If you're struggling, know that you're not alone. Selling the price point of your service is a design-build marketing challenge that construction companies across the industry run into.

The good news? Your services are in demand. Your prices aren't too high. You've just got a marketing problem.And boy, do we know how to solve marketing problems. In fact, we can help you sell the value of your design-build service in two steps. Walk with me down the design-build marketing troubleshooting path:

Step 1: Make Sure You Know Who You're Selling To

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:

  • Have you outlined them properly?
  • Do you know who they are and what they want?
  • Is there anything off about your existing personas?

Have issues with your design-build firm's 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.


Or are your buyer personas spot on?

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:

  1. Don't have the budget you want, or
  2. Aren't willing to spend a reasonable cost for the services you offer

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.

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Step 2: Make Sure Your Prospects Know What They're Getting

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:

  1. Whether your service is right for them
  2. What they'll get when they work with you, whatever the cost

Help Clients Understand the Value of your Design-Build Firm's Service

Most of us who understand the design-build process understand the value you provide. You make your prospect's lives easier by offering them:

  • A hassle-free building process
  • Exceptional design that flows seamlessly into construction
  • A higher-quality product that requires less maintenance and service over time
  • And honest, upfront pricing that doesn't change as the project moves forward.

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:

Be Upfront About Your Design-Build Firm's Costs

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?

  • See above section "be upfront about your costs". Most consumers — whether they're buying a car or a commercial building — feel much more comfortable with the facts than they do with the unknown.
  • If visitors leave your website because you've listed your costs, then your website is doing its job. It's pulling in qualified leads, and turning away unqualified leads. Your sales team didn't want to talk to those leads anyway — they weren't a match for your design-build firm.

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.

Make Sure You're Tying Your Design-Build Firm's Costs Back to the Value You Provide

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:

  • Your proven, streamlined, hassle-free design-build process
  • A team of expert designers with decades of experience
  • A high-quality finished project that is delivered on time with minimal setbacks
  • An honest, upfront price that they can trust not to change

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.

A Real-Life Example: Selling the Value of Service with Vacuums

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.

Dyson Animal2 Pet Vac Value of Service

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.

Dyson PetVac Value of Service

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.

Benefits of Choosing Dyson Dyson Vacuum Whats in the Box Value of Service
  • Free tools
  • A price match guarantee
  • Free shipping
  • A money-back guarantee
  • Excellent customer service
  • And the list goes on!

Plus, that's all on top of the most powerful suction of any vacuum.

Dyson Product Value

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.

Bringing Dyson's Tactics to your Design-Build Marketing Strategy

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:

  • Know who you're selling to
  • Know your prices
  • Know the value that comes with that price

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.

Design-Build Marketing: Implementing Value-Focused Messaging

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.

That means:

  • Developing an ad campaign around the value your design-build firm provides
  • Updating your website to focus on and highlight the value your services provide to your ideal buyer
  • Creating content that highlights the value your customers enjoy when they opt for design-build services over bid-spec construction
  • Developing content offers, blogs, and emails that provide direct, honest information about your pricing, what your customers get for that price, and how it compares to what they'll get with a more traditional builder.

When you put all of the information out on the table, the right customers are going to come to you.

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Let's Talk About Your Design-Build Marketing Strategy!

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.

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