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How Should Remodelers Be Prequalifying and Selling To Gen Y?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 26,2013 @ 07:41 AM

How Should Remodelers Be Prequalifying and Selling To Generation Y?

Gen Y Sales Process


A recent guest blog posted here at the Design Builders Blog was written by a Generation Y member.   The author, Mark Brown, offered some advice for contractors on how to work with Gen Y employees.   His blog created quite a discussion with over 38 thoughtful comments as of posting this blog from contractors and employees from all generations.   One contractor praised the blog and the discussion but also brought up another very valid consideration for contractors and remodelers: How to sell to Gen Y clients?  The answer to that question is probably a very big conversation and a very involved one as well. 

One thing is for sure.  Trying to force Gen Y to buy remodeling (or anything) the way you have always sold to other generations isn’t going to work.  That said how about bringing the answer down to a few simple but big picture considerations to help get the conversation started and offer some direction.  With a new direction in mind, you can then seek out and get the remodeling sales training you will need to sell to this new customer type.

If you can’t beat Generation Y, why not join them

The members of Gen Y are used to getting information instantly and for free.   Almost every one of them has a smart phone and can Google any subject or topic to find instant answers or information, all at no cost to them.   And they can get that information at any time of the day or night they want it.  That desire and internet content available about anything you can think of has definitely defined how Gen Y does their research and makes their remodeling or home improvement buying decisions. 

For contractors who have always sold to the generations born prior to Gen Y, the idea of providing instant and free information about a remodeling project for some young kid who isn’t ready to buy or make a decision without first checking you and your suggestions out online using social media throws a monkey wrench into any veteran contractor’s long standing selling process.  Those changes probably also all but kill a contractor’s sales closes rates when it comes to Gen Y remodeling and home improvement prospects.

“The reality to recognize is that Gen Y isn’t going to change.   So, contractors need to change how they both market to and sell to Generation Y if they want to do business with them.”


Save yourself a lot of time, give them what they want

How Gen Y makes Remodeling DecisionsIf your construction or remodeling business doesn’t have a web site, stop reading right now or recognize and commit to the fact that you better get one up right away if you want to sell to Gen Y.  Done right, and it must be done right, a contractor’s web site  offers a place to give Generation Y, and any other generation for that matter,  the information they need to work through their decision making process and prequalify your business as a good option for them to consider.  If you’re strategic and you put the right information on your site, you won’t need to waste your time doing live sales calls with someone who would never have bought from you anyway and or who isn't far enough along yet in their decision making process to make any commitments that will include money.


What Information Should a Contractor’s website have on it?

Good question.  It has a lot to do with how Generation Y makes remodeling decisions.  I’ll offer some advice and suggestions on that topic in a follow up blog to be titled “If you don’t or won’t offer Generation Y Prospects what they want they will go away”


Topics: Sales, Success Strategies, Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Social Media for Contractors, Building Relationships, Generation Y, Shawn's Predictions

Contractors Working With Home Buyers Considering Renovations

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 19,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Diane Menke and Tamara Myers


Guest Blogger: Diane Menke, VP/Operations Manager of Myers Constructs, Inc.  Diane Menke (left) and Tamara Myers (right) are the co-owners and principals of Myers Constructs, Inc., an award-winning design to build firm serving the greater Philadelphia region. A certified Women Business Enterprise, Myers Constructs is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, NARI, and NKBA.


Advice For Contractors When Working With Home Buyers Considering Renovations

The Construction Pro: A Key Player in the Home-Buying Process

Contractor working with home buyers



Most people who are in the market for buying a home that is in need of renovation are not home-construction experts — and they don't know what the various necessary upgrades will cost them. That's why it makes sense for them to reach out to a reputable local construction expert for information before they make a property purchase. We get calls from people in this position often.

This is the advice we give them:

  • Working With Home Buyers Considering RenovationsTheir real estate agent should provide them with comparable values for the property they are considering. The agent should also tell them where that prospective property may be lacking, in terms of value and sale-ability. For example, does it have enough bathrooms? Does it have updated systems, finishes, and appliances? What other features should it have to compete with the highest priced comps in the area?
  • Once they find a property they want to put a serious offer on, they should reach out to a building professional for some assistance in developing their renovation budget. That budget should be weighed against what the comps and the offer will be. If they do not yet have a relationship with that construction pro, they should expect to compensate them for their time. A good carpenter might bill them $70/hour; a design-build pro might run $120/hour or more. Small structural repairs and a bathroom refit with no design might be perfect for the carpenter, while a complicated project like a kitchen or addition require a design/build professional who has experience in those types of projects.
  • buying a home in need of renovation Most property buyers do not need to have full plans and exact budgets to formulate their offer. If they come away from the discussions with a ballpark range of expected costs — with a 10-15% cushion added for contingencies that might be found once walls are opened up — they should be in good shape to make an offer.
  • Once they close on a property purchase, we encourage them to reach out to those same construction pros and offer them the work on their new home. In this way, they will develop mutual trust with a valuable ally on their wealth-building team.


Topics: Success Strategies, Sales Considerations, Marketing Ideas, Guest Blogs, Building Relationships, Customer Relations

Lumberyard Ambassadors - Partnering With A Lumber Dealer’s Yard Staff

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Jan 18,2013 @ 10:54 AM

Lumberyard Ambassadors - Partnering With A Lumber Dealer’s Yard Staff

Lumberyard Staff Training



Several recent surveys and polls indicate that contractors, when they have more than one option to consider, put a lot of weight on relationships when they share why they choose one lumber yard or supply house over another. Let’s face it, whether shopping at a lumber yard or at your local grocery store, when you enjoy some type of positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the employees representing that business you become much more motivated to stick with that business and even refer others to that business.   Good lumber dealers know this and make it a priority to offer training and mentoring for their employees.

Seminar for Yard StaffEarlier this week I presented a webinar hosted by The Northeast Retail Lumber Association (NRLA) and sponsored by The Lumber and Building Material Dealers Foundation (LBMDF).  LBMDF supports and advances the educational and charitable programs of the NRLA.  The webinar was for lumber dealers’ yard staff.  The purpose of the webinar was to help yard staff see and take advantage of how their efforts can help the lumber dealer they work for, the contractors they serve, as well as the yard staff employees themselves. I like to refer to them and hope they see themselves as “Lumberyard Ambassadors”

During the webinar I asked the attendees to share their suggestions for how contractors could help them do their jobs better and make their jobs more enjoyable when doing so. 


Here are some of the suggestions they had to offer and some of my thoughts as well

Yard Employee TrainingAs a contractor please don't come in with a bad attitude.

This one can go both ways.  Actually, it was also on my list of pet peeves to share with the attendees!  Contractors and yard staff can both have legitimate reasons to be in a bad mood.  However, it doesn’t mean that bad moods need to be shared or demonstrated by either party.  As professionals we all need to control our emotions.   Plus, if you let your bad mood effect how you interact with lumber yard staff, they might just be inclined to return the “favor” the next time you’re in the yard.


Better planning by contractors. When we have to go out multiple times to one jobsite it costs us time, when we could just go there once.

Lumber Yard employee trainingI shared with the attendees that this was one of those things I have been working on for years; trying to help contractors and their employees improve their processes and even use checklists to help make sure everything is on the job site before it is needed.  Here’s the thing; making multiple trips cost both the contractor and the lumber dealer money that could be better invested elsewhere.  Plus, if as a contractor your employees aren’t smart enough or don’t care enough to plan ahead, it might be time to find new employees who can and will plan ahead.  If you or your employees need training to help curb this problem, consider attending this production workshop.


My drivers need good directions from the contractors; many times the contractor isn't very helpful.

Yard staff webinarAgain, I think this is one that both the lumber dealer and the contractor can share responsibility in.  Whoever takes the order at the yard needs to ask for directions and should also probably make a point of always asking if there is anything they should know that would help the driver find the right location for the delivery.  At the same time I think contractors should also be proactive by speaking up and offering advice if they know their job site is difficult to find or access.   Posting a job sign in a visible location could be helpful.  Also, if there’s no room to turn around to strategically drop a load where you want it, why not suggest that the driver back in from the street when you’re placing your order.

Bottom Line

By fostering a good working relationship, contractors and lumber dealers’ yard staff employees can both make their jobs and their day much more enjoyable.   And keep in mind; each has an opportunity to set the example for their peers.  Many thanks to the webinar attendees for sharing their thoughts!


Have a suggestion to add to the discussion?  Please share it by leaving a comment below.



Topics: Working with Vendors, LBM Related Topics, Production Considerations, Building Relationships