The Race To Reach The Mass Affluent


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A $148 Sandwich. Wal-Mart’s $500 bottle of Wine.  The $5,000 Hamburger. And a font that cost $13,000.

Have we all gone insane?

Price knows no limits. In a race to attract the coveted affluent shoppers, retailers of all descriptions are in an ever-increasing, ever-upscale, ever-successful strategy to obtain notoriety and profits. Yes, the notoriety part is nearly as important, but most contractors skip over that part. And most contractors have some horrible inferiority complex that makes you price your incredible talent on the bargain rack. Please stop.

It’s time to think smarter, not harder.  If notoriety is the key to catching those affluent customers, then where’s your net?  Put simply, it’s time to generate some publicity.

Let’s take a lesson from our friends in the automaker industry.  Each year a line of halo cars is introduced showcasing the new design, engineering, and technology features that a company can offer.  Production is kept low to maintain exclusivity, so mass sales obviously is not the point.  So, what is?  Two things.  First, to draw ‘regular’ customers into the showroom.  They may not purchase the halo, but if it can offer enough promise, they’ll walk out the door with a more practical model from the same manufacturer. Second, and perhaps most important, is the buzz factor.

Tim Owens, marketing manager for the Ford Mustang, says “A good halo generates excitement among enthusiasts.  What we’re really after are those enthusiasts’ recommendations to other customers.  They’re stronger than any ad we can do.”

That’s because information from a third party – publicity – gives you credibility far beyond the scope of advertising. It puts your message of professionalism and quality service in the hands of an independent authority figure, in this case noted car experts and enthusiasts. It has been calculated that publicity is worth 3 times the cost of what the ad space would cost you in sheer credibility.

As a contractor, using this to build your image is vital.  You must assume that the vast majority of your market who is not your current customer only knows you by the ads you run. They have, or are forming an opinion with every ad.  They don’t know your integrity or professionalism; they only know your ads and the image they project.

And you’ll get an image whether you advertise for one or not.  Doesn’t that mean it’s better to control – at least as much as possible – your prospect’s perception of your company?

Another benefit you’ll appreciate is that when a prospect is faced with a decision on similar items from competitors, the one with the higher image wins.  So, higher image can help your closing ratio, too. Accordingly, higher image companies are able to sell at higher prices.

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Snag Affluent Customers

  1. Package Better.  That means putting your products and services together in such a way that high value, prestige, and class practically scream from each page or display.
  2. Price Higher.  The affluent are NOT looking to put bargain basement services with their Beverly Hills priced homes.  So, charge accordingly.
  3. Better Service.  A large percent of the population has moved from a “do it yourself” mentality to the “done for them” state of mind.  And you’re making money from that.  The catch: your service had better be up to par with your pricing.
  4. Get Publicity.  Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?  Even more important sometimes is who knows you.  Enter publicity.  Try a press release headlining something outrageous.
  5. Go over the top.  These are the perks mentioned in number 3.  Crazy guarantees and crazy prices to match.  Special scheduling?  Not a problem.  An extra service while I’m here?  Whatever you say.  Have no shame when offering the moon to these people – or when you charge them for it.
Adams Hudson
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings, Sales & Marketing

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