Builders and remodelers seem to be in the same category as attorneys and auto mechanics: necessary, tolerated, but not especially embraced by society. That may be because in most places, the bar is set pretty low to become a builder or remodeler. Unfortunately a lot of under-qualified folks get into the trades. Many backed into it because they couldn’t think of anything else to do and the home-building market was booming. The bad news is that we’re often painted with the same broad brush as the worst of the worst are painted. The result is that we spend a lot of time battling dumb pricing and dumber workmanship while pursuing smart building practices.
The good news is that with such a low bar, it’s pretty easy to set yourself apart from the pack. But why be satisfied with positioning yourself away from the worst, and among the "good"? Why not position yourself as among the best? That’s what this series of posts is about. Green building is one way to deliver the next step in quality—because it comes with built-in advantages (like comfort and low utility bills) and quality assurances (in the form of green ratings). Most of these steps focus on what the best builders do anyway: communicate, differentiate, and manage projects in an organized manner. When you add best business practices to best building practices, you position yourself as the best.
—Daniel Morrison, Managing Editor
Part 1 of a 7-part series
Rapid changes in the residential construction industry are providing new profit and diversification opportunities for builders. Those who see and understand these opportunities can position themselves as experts in the field and provide exemplary service to gain an important edge in the marketplace. Knowing where you stand in relation to your competition is paramount. Educating and communicating that position to prospective customers is equally important.
1. Identify your ideal customer
Do you have your specific customer base identified? Do you have a particular label for your customers, such as “first-time homebuyers,” “baby boomers,” or “single moms”? If your marketing effort doesn’t speak directly to your ideal customer, it should, and it should stand apart from that of your competitors. Your message should leave customers hungry for more details, not be generic (and thus, boring). If your catchphrase is something like, “I’m a green quality builder,” you’re not alone—there are thousands of other builders saying the same thing. You are just one of the pack!
Clearly defining your ideal customer will help you stand out from the pack. Not everyone is your customer; and it is impossible for you to be everyone’s builder. The clearer your message, the easier you make it for your ideal customers to find you in a crowded market. Be specific, and you will attract prospects who identify with your message.
You want them to say, “Hey, that’s me!” or “That’s not me, but it sure sounds like my friend John!” This way, they may become your customer or refer you to others. The key is first to identify your market niche. Second, work up your message to express the essence of the value you offer to that ideal customer, such as “Helping first-time homebuyers build their dream home” or “Helping affluent professionals build their one-of-a-kind castle.” Use this message everywhere to capture the attention of ideal customers who are looking for their ideal builder—you!
Next Week: Deliver great value