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Earning Prospects’ Trust Through Transparent Selling

“Without a doubt, there’s a new endgame in today’s digital economy. Consumers don’t just buy products and services anymore; they buy experiences.”

—Ben Jackson

Customers remodeling kitchens and baths want to be part of the budgeting process. Gone are the days when kitchen and bath dealers sort out the details of a project price behind closed doors and deliver it to patient prospects two to four weeks later!

Being up to date in our industry means getting prospects retained faster and continuously improving your operations. Technology is constantly changing how we do business in little ways, and every so often – it revolutionizes it.

Deliver lightning-fast quotes, have happier clientele, and get jobs sold in half the time! If you’re not producing transparent, credible project budgets for your prospects during your first meeting – in a matter of minutes – you’re behind the times. Take five minutes to brush up on the value of transparent budgeting.

The earliest days of Good-Better-Best (GBB) selling

The thing I’m most proud of from my time as president of Signature Kitchens & Baths in Connecticut is the uniqueness of our developed sales process. By the mid-seventies, our three sales designers were pretty influential, although one of them began closing jobs the same day they met prospects in their homes.

In the spring of 1977, Pat Galvin, editor of Kitchen and Bath Business Magazine, was preparing to write an article on ‘how to work with a professional sales designer.’ He reached out to my firm to see if we would answer his questions about our unique customer experience.

Instead of giving a formal interview with our sales designer, we arranged for Pat to accompany this person to the home of Robert & Susan Woods of West Hartford, CT. These were relatively new clients of ours who had a year earlier retained Signature for their kitchen remodeling project. Galvin interviewed the Woods’ while the sales designer remained in the meeting as a silent participant.

Galvin learned that a close friend had advised the Woods’ that a kitchen should cost no more than $50,000 (2022 pricing). The Woods’ friend also told them that Signature Kitchens had the best design ideas, but they should take ideas conceived with Signature to a competitor for a lower price.

The Woods’ told Galvin they had requested quotes from three remodelers in the area. Besides Signature, they visited with Wood-Mode Cabinetry and West Hartford Stair Builders – two other leading firms in the Hartford area.

Galvin also discovered that the Woods’ had not retained Signature Kitchens and Baths the same day our sales designer conducted a home consultation with them. So he asked them why.

Bob responded by saying he had to check with their bank to ensure they could increase the loan size needed for this remodeling project. At $76,500 (in 2022 pricing), the Signature project budget developed interactively with the Woods was 50% higher than their friend advised them to pay. They weren’t expecting that a kitchen could cost that much!

West Hartford Stair Builders had quoted the couple at $26,000 (2022 pricing) for a design that didn’t meet their needs, and Wood-Mode had yet to provide a quote.

Ultimately, it made sense to the Woods to go with Signature Kitchens for their remodeling project. The couple revealed that they loved that Signature Kitchens’ design concept was sketched in their home and were pleased to be involved in creating a credible budget range for their project.

The Woods’ not only declined to obtain another quote, but they were also willing to pay 50% more for service, quality, and speed – and they were exuberant about their decision! The Woods’ believed their best option was to hire Signature Kitchens & Baths.

Winning trust through transparency and interactivity

With Signature Kitchens & Baths, the Woods’ were getting what they wanted and knew all the major category costs that factored into their project. The full transparent disclosure of the costs in their kitchen remodeling project, even before any formal plans were drawn up and presented, gave the Woods’ a sense of assurance and comfort that no other competitor had imparted.

In the end, it was worth the investment since the couple planned to own their house for decades – and their beautiful new kitchen would appreciate the value of their home.

That young Signature Kitchens & Bath sales designer learned a valuable lesson from the Woods’ interview. If a prospect hesitates to provide a same-day retainer, offer a conditional retainer pending bank loan approval.

By the way, that young sales designer was me. The interactive sales process I discovered in the 1970s enabled me to double my closing percentage, double my annual sales production, increase my firm’s gross profit to over 51%, and more than double my income. It also empowered me to launch three additional successful showrooms in Connecticut.

The mid-70s was the beginning of a new way of doing business in the kitchen and bath industry that paved the way for the rise of Good-Better-Best selling and the prosperity it has brought SEN members and dealers across the country.

Transparency is a crucial ingredient for today’s consumers. We discuss interactive budgeting, Good-Better-Best selling, and many other strategies at SEN University. Attend an upcoming SEN U event or in Tucson for the Fall Conference!

—Ken Peterson, CKD