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Business Advisor

Position Yourself as an Expert Eco-Builder: Listen to Your Customers

7 steps to successfully setting yourself apart from the pack

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.

Part 3 of a 7-part series

3. Listen to your customers

Be proactive in answering commonly asked questions. Consider having a “Frequently Asked Questions” section on your website—and on printed material as well to hand out to walk-ins at your model homes. These questions should clarify inquiries on green building practices, green products, indoor environmental quality, construction processes, etc. Don’t eschew elementary questions; if the question were not important, it wouldn’t be asked.

Don’t assume that homebuyers already understand terms like “tankless water heater,” “radiant barrier,” “high-performance insulation,” “sustainable,” and for goodness’ sake, “green!” Define these and all other technical terms on your website, homeowner’s manual, and contract. Hire a copywriter to translate your words into consumer-friendly language if necessary. This small investment could be well worth it! Better yet, use a trusted third-party resource, such as, for these definitions and explanations.

For questions that fall outside the realm of FAQs, make your contact information clear and easy to find. Give customers the appropriate email address for construction questions and service requests after move-in; these are most likely two different addresses (project superintendent and service desk). Getting the email address right will get them answers more quickly. When is the best time to set the boundaries and expectations in any relationship, business or otherwise? You guessed it—at the beginning.

Next week: Get organized with a homeowner’s manual

Also in this series:

2: Deliver great value

1. Identify your ideal customer


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