How Kitchen Remodeling Contractors Scare Away Customers
Kitchen Solvers trains franchisees not to make a common, killer mistake
Sara Baumann stands with the “before” cabinet in her Kitchen Solvers showroom in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
You’d be hard pressed to find any method of scaring away customers as effective as what most kitchen remodeling contractors say within minutes of meeting a potential client. After entering a stranger’s home and eyeing the kitchen, one of the first things out of most contractors’ mouths isn’t, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “What do you wish was different about your kitchen?” No, the first thing they ask is: “How much you got to spend?” Whoa. Think about that question for a second. From the contractor’s perspective, it’s a simple question that helps calibrate the options available for the remodel. That’s not what a customer hears, though. A customer hears, “How much money can I make off of you?” A kitchen remodel is a major financial and emotional decision. Not only is a remodel expensive — it’s going to affect the most important room in the house, where people gather, cook and trade recipes and stories. Customers need to feel they can trust their contractor, and contractors have a bad habit of destroying that trust in the first five minutes. Kitchen Solvers coaches its franchisees to build trust by staying focused on the customer, not the sale. If a customer trusts you, the sale will eventually happen, but we consider ourselves consultants, not salespeople.
The “before” and “after” display at Sara Baumann’s Kitchen solvers showroom demonstrates the power of cabinet refacing to update the look of a kitchen.
“Kitchen remodeling is intimidating for buyers, because there are so many options and it’s a major investment,” says Kitchen Solvers President and CEO Gerry Henley. “People buy a new kitchen once, maybe twice in their lives, so it’s not fair to expect them to know how much everything should cost. We set out to educate them and explain their options so that they can make informed choices that deliver the best possible value — regardless of how much they’re prepared to spend.” Sara Baumann, who bought the Kitchen Solvers franchise in Eau Claire, Wisc., last summer, benefitted from Henley’s Platinum Sales Training, a process that helps our franchise owners gauge customers’ needs without diving immediately into expense. The approach varies depending on whether customers are just beginning to investigate a remodel, are exploring options, or are ready to sign a contract. Our owners’ message to the customer: We’re willing to walk you through the remodeling process. We’re not just out to score a quick contract. “You can learn everything else,” Sara says, “but if you don’t come across as caring, people won’t want to hire you.” Sara should know — she closes 70 percent of her sales calls! Kitchen Solvers, a nationwide expert in kitchen cabinet refacing, has remodeled more than 45,000 kitchens in the past 30 years. The La Crosse, Wisc.-based company has 68 franchisees who enjoy extensive training, business support and purchasing power. To learn more about Kitchen Solvers, visit www.kitchensolvers.com