How to make upgrades look like a bargain

Hot Deals Look Like Bargains!

Price is probably this single most common objection your clients and prospects have.

But you’re not selling bricks and sticks. You’re providing and creating value. And, you make every effort to move them away from price as their primary focus.

As a seasoned salesperson, you expertly navigate the conversation back to benefits and value.


But, inevitably, price will bubble back up to the surface. Especially when it’s time to make selections. Of course, the selection process varies greatly from remodeler to remodeler. A design-build firm is going to have a completely different dynamic than a specialty exterior company.

But still, one thing remains. Selections are a great opportunity to upsell. Even if you’ve set an allowance, there may be certain products you’ll want to steer them to because of higher margins. For example, perhaps your crews can install “Product X” faster than Products Y and Z. This would lower labor and increase profit.

Whatever the reason, there may be certain products you would prefer the client choose, and you can use behavioral economic principles to increase the likelihood that your preferences are their choices as well.

Here are four you may not have considered using in your pricing strategy.


“Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions.” –

In other words, the first price sets the expectation for what is coming up. And, therefore, if the second price is significantly less, it could actually be perceived as a bargain.

So, how do you sell $2,000 kitchen faucet? Show them an $8,000 faucet first. Suddenly, $2k is a deal!


Okay, so this past fall I had to go to the DMV to renew my license. As I walked in I immediately came to a line of people leading to a reception-type desk. So I stood in line. 15 minutes later, as I got to the 2nd position, I finally saw the small sign on the counter that read, “title transfers.”

Normalization is, at its core, the belief that if everyone does it, it must be the right choice. “A thousand people can’t be wrong.”

Identifying a selection as “our most popular choice” is an example of normalizing. A stronger way is to include social proof, such as client ratings and testimonials.

Normalizing works because, “a thousand people can’t be wrong.”

Talk ROI

Nobody likes to spend money frivolously. So showing a selection as an investment is a good way to convince clients that it’s the sensible choice.

So, for example, let’s say you find a real estate study that suggests homes with granite countertops sold an average of 87 days faster than those without. That’s a strong argument for the added expense.

Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report is an example of a good resource for this technique.

Contextual Pricing

When people buy things, they make their decisions based on relative information, not absolute.

Put another way, let’s say someone wants to find the best value choice for their money. Typically, they have no idea what is a good value unless you put it into context for them.

You need to give them a selection of choices that they can compare to one another. You’ve seen this many times before: it’s the Good, Better, Best price table.

But here’s the thing about contextual pricing: You must place the selection you prefer to sell in the middle, or “better” position.


Because that’s the choice most people will make.

You see, clients will typically avoid the “Good” like the plague because no one wants to choose the lowest quality item (the perception of this “lowest-tier” item).

However, “Best” is generally avoided because it is perceived as the “luxury-top-tier.” They will feel they are being extravagant and overspending.

And so this leaves the comfortable, sensible, middle-tier. The “Better” option. It’s like Baby Bear’s porridge. It’s juuuuust right.

Please note that you must use three tiers for this to work right. Two options will land everyone in the lower level-one tier, and 4+ tiers lack the “sensible middle.”

What about you?

Do you use any of these techniques? There are a number of other behavioral economic principles that can influence your clients selections. Do you use any of the ones I didn’t mention here? Please share your stories in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The Secret to Understanding Local Web Traffic and Why It Is So Important

Few remodelers pay much attention to their web traffic statistics, and fewer still know how to use that data effectively. Ignoring your web traffic statistics is bad enough, but misinterpreting them could be even worse. One of the more potentially misleading statistics for remodelers is a website’s total traffic.

Looking at the total traffic without considering the local and non-local traffic separately gives a misleading and incomplete picture of a website’s performance, which could lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities.

For most remodelers, local traffic contains potential clients while non-local web traffic almost never includes potential clients. A website visitor from California is not likely to use the services of a remodeler in Maine. Understanding the behavior of these two groups (local visitors and non-local visitors) individually is the best way to look at and understand your web traffic so you can make the right decisions.

Here is one of the methods we use:

Using Google Analytics’ Advanced Segments feature, we set up 3 “segments”. One segment shows only visitors from the Washington DC metro area (the local traffic for this example), the second segment shows only visitors from OUTSIDE that defined metro area (the non-local traffic). The third segment, “All Sessions”, is the combined total of local and non-local visitors. This total traffic segment is what most people look at. It is the default way Google Analytics and most web traffic programs display traffic.

Let’s break down the dashboard view

Sample Google Analytics Dashboard

Column 1 (landing page)

The first three rows show the site traffic to all pages on the site. The next three shows the traffic to only the “home” page as indicated by “/” in that column’s yellow box.

Column 2 (user sessions)

You can see that more of the traffic to this site for the period measured is “local”. More sessions being local may or may not be the case for you. For most remodelers, the behavior and number of local visitors are much more important than non-local.

Column 3 (new users)

This shows the number of individual new visitors and does not include repeat visits (which is why this will be less than total visits or sessions.)
Multiple visits show interest. Notice a greater difference between new visitors and visits for the local traffic than non-local. This is good.

Column 4 (bounce rate)

Bounce rate is important because it shows people that enter the site and leave without looking at any other page. Notice that in this illustration the bounce rate for the local traffic (those who can potentially buy from you) is lower than non-local and the total combined traffic numbers. If you don’t see a lower local bounce rate on your website than non-local, it likely indicates a problem with the website.

Columns 5 and 6 (pages per session and average duration)

These columns represent the average number of pages visited and time spent per visit. Again the local traffic should show more pages and more time than non-local.

Column 7 (goal conversion)

This dashboard shows the conversion of a goal. For this website, that goal is that a visitor submit the Contact Us form. As you can see the local traffic was more likely to go to this page.

As you can see, if you didn’t set up the analytics to look at local and non-local traffic individually, you would think your Contact Us page was converting 15.65% instead of 21.38%.


Here are three ways local/non-local segmentation helps you:

Is your conversion rate OK? If you have 1000 visitors a month to your website and 20 leads, you could logically conclude that the website is not doing a good job of converting visitors to leads. However, if you find that only 200 of the 1000 visitors a month are local, the website’s conversion ratio (20:200 and not 20:1000) looks MUCH better.

Is your marketing generating local or non-local traffic? By looking at the growth of local vs. non-local traffic to your website, you can see if your marketing efforts have been increasing local traffic or just non-local. If just non-local traffic, you likely have a problem. While the above site has a balanced amount of local/non-local traffic, some sites can have a 1:5 local to non-local ratio (or more or less).

Is your site of interest to important visitors? Generally speaking, non-local visitors are looking for general information about a subject while local visitors are looking for specific information about your business and services. So a very high local bounce rate and a very low non-local bounce rate, for example, might be a sign that there isn’t enough pertinent information for prospective clients.

5 Facebook Posts that Drive Engagement

Inside FacebookIs your Facebook page under performing? Many remodelers make the mistake of thinking “as long as I post once a day, I’m doing social media marketing.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The whole point is to be recognizable. You want people to know your brand. You want to be top of mind when someone is ready to do a project. And you certainly want your brand to get in front of as many eyes as possible.

Your goal should be for people to engage with your posts–because it’s through engagement that their friends–and their friend’s friends–will see you.

Now, for the purpose of this issue, we’re defining engagement as a likes, shares, and comments. (Clicks are also an engagement, but they serve a different purpose).

These posts don’t contain links. Their sole purpose is to get people to interact with you and spread your post (and your brand) throughout the Facebook universe.

So what’s the secret?

All posts are not created equal. Here are five types that regularly over perform.


Quotes are one of the most shared posts on Facebook. Everyone loves quotes. Whether inspirational or comical, it’s hard to resist giving a quote a thumbs-up.


2. Questions

These are one of the easiest ways to get people to comment. The post itself demands it. Many remodelers make this mistake, especially when posting pictures of projects. Many will post a kitchen remodel and say something like, “Another quality project by Acme Remodeling!”

You dramatically increase the likelihood of comments by instead saying, “Just Finished! What do think has the most impact, the custom backsplash or the island bar?”

3. Challenges

A variation of questions, challenges get people thinking. And everyone wants to be the one to get it right. Here’s an example of a challenge we did.


4. Tagging Photos

You may be familiar with tagging people in a photo, but have you ever considered tagging a photo without people in it? This is a unique way to get friends to tag themselves on your photo posts. Here’s an example of something we did a few months back.


Here’s another example of something you could try; post a split image of two different decorating styles and and ask people to tag themselves on the side they like or agree with.

5. Caption This!

Here’s a fun and easy post. Put up a picture and ask people to give it a caption. This can really get the comment train rolling as people try to “out-do” one another with the funniest or wittiest caption.

caption this

Did I miss anything?

Please share post types that have given you above average results in the comments below! I look forward to hearing your stories!

How to Close the Deal Without Rushing the Prospect

Here’s a  question that was recently asked on an online business forum I frequent, and it really resonated with me:

Q: (From a business owner) Okay, here’s a quick question: After discussing details of a project with a client who is a prospect, how do we smoothly go to closing the deal without making our client feel rushed?

My answer: Just assume the sale

I’ve talked to so many professionals that feel uncomfortable at this pivotal step in their work with prospects.  Contractors that can take on any building challenge, attorneys who are fearless tigers in court, inventors whose innovations could change the world – and they are scared to death of asking people to become their clients!

Most of us have been exposed to so many “clever” sales closing techniques that we cringe at the thought of actually trying any of them on an actual person.  And with good reason. Most feel sleazy and actually go against human nature.

Really, there is no trick, no fancy turn of phrase, no uncomfortable moment needed at all.  You just need to move forward as if it is natural and inevitable for the prospect to become your customer.

No need to wait.  No need to feel uncomfortable (if you do, it’s a signal – more on that below).

If you:

  • Provide an awesome product or service (if you don’t then reinvent or close up shop) …
  • Have thoroughly qualified the prospects and interviewed them to make sure that what you have is what they want and need …
  • Have made sure they understand the product or service and how it benefits them …
  • Feel that you are a good fit for them and they are good clients for you …

… Then, why wouldn’t your prospective client want to begin now? Unless there is a special circumstance, why wait? To delay is doing them a disservice. You cannot do great things for people if they don’t buy from you first!

The facts are clear

The prospective clients know why they are with you.  They know what you do.  They accepted the appointment and have given the time and attention to listen to you.  They want to purchase services like yours.  They are hoping that you will deliver everything you’ve just described.  And, if you’re reading this column, I am sure you do great work so you know they will love what you can do for them.

Note: If you feel uncomfortable asking them to buy you have to stop the process.  Something is wrong.  You either have doubts yourself about the product and its suitability for the client or you are hurting everyone by being too shy about moving forward.

If there is a doubt about the product tell the client you’ll get back to them and why (trust me, they’d rather you honestly pause a few times rather than moving forward when things are not settled). It’s OK to politely decline and withdraw yourself from consideration.

If it’s you that’s slowing things down then it’s time to just stop worrying and go to the next step: Assume you’ve made the sale.

Assuming the sale means telling (not asking). 

Simply state: “OK, here’s what we need to get started …” Nothing pushy, just moving forward. They’ll let you know you if there are issues to address.

So, from now on, just assume a successful outcome every time you present.  You’ll be amazed at how often things move smoothly from then on.

Happy Selling!

What About You?

Have you tried this technique? How has it worked out? Any tips or advice I missed? I look forward to hearing your comments below!

Image courtesy of Naypong /

How to Plant and Grow Your Very Own Customers

Imagine having a list of thousands of people who know you, trust you and will one day need your services (or will know someone that does). This should be the goal of every successful remodeler.

We can talk about your website’s Testimonials page, Portfolio page or even your About Us page until you’re blue in the face. The fact of the matter is they are all a last ditch effort at establishing trust. And trust, my friend is what it’s all about.

The single most important factor in getting a prospect to sign a contract is trust. Price, quality and all the rest of it doesn’t make a lick of difference if they don’t trust you. This is the reason why a referral is so incredibly powerful: they are coming to you on the word of a trusted advisor – be it a relative, friend or colleague.

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