Price: Relevant, Not Critical

Last week, I and 740 energy and building performance geeks went to my favorite conference, the Duluth Energy Design Conference.


Minnesota Green Communities has participated in the session planning committee for six years, and I’ve presented many times.  This year, I hosted almost two full days of sessions on a newly prominent theme:  selling “value.” (The rest of the two days was filled with me presenting a session on the same topic.)  Keep reading for the message I took away.

Buying a home is a big, big investment for the vast majority of people.  Not surprisingly, people want to protect that investment.  Homeowners have varying degrees of sophistication understanding what makes a house function (and golly they are complex!).  Often, homeowners appreciate learning more about how to care for them.

Homeowners also value different things.  Some value durability, others lower utility costs, still others beauty, or good service.

If a contractor can build trust with a homeowner by

  1. asking good questions
  2. listening well enough to figure out what a homeowner values,
  3. listening closely enough and looking around critically enough to find the REAL problem the homeowner is trying to solve (and it may not be what they say they are trying to solve), and
  4. demonstrating why their services will solve the current problem, as well fit the needs and values of the possible customer,

then homeowners are willing to pay more for a service (when feasible).  Homeowners don’t always go for the lowest cost bid — that’s often a strategy for situations where contractors haven’t succeeded in conveying how their work is more valuable than the other guy’s.

The corollary lesson?  Don’t assume homeowners won’t pay what your work is worth.

Or that they’re stupid.