by Stacy Nelson
When selling a luxury backyard to a customer the most important point to remember is to sell the lifestyle and not the products. Non-luxury brands are marketed to solve problems, while luxury brands are marketed to invoke a desired emotion. For example, an economy automobile may advertise low fuel efficiency, while a luxury automobile brand will draw awareness to how prestigious the owner will feel while driving it. Selling backyard products is the same way.The consumer needs to experience an emotional connection to the idea of how they will feel when they are in their own backyard. They need to visualize their dreams coming true and see how incorporating a luxury backyard will improve their quality of life. A luxury backyard offers years of family memories, backyard birthday parties, holiday gatherings, a tangible place tied to things a buyer is looking forward to and will remember forever.
Here are some of my best tips for emphasizing the luxury of your sale that should help you close the deal!
• Ask questions – If you want to exceed someone’s expectations, which is what luxury is all about, you need to know exactly what those expectations are. How do they plan to use their backyard? Do they envision a quiet, restful getaway or a family-filled playground? What styles and designs do they find most appealing? How does the rest of their home look? All this information allows you to tailor the information you show them and to offer them a vision of a space that is a seamless extension of their home.• Ask more questions – You also need to know the details of how they plan to enjoy their new space. Someone who plans basic occasional grilling for family dinners has different kitchen needs and expectations from someone who plans to entertain large and/or formal groups. A young family with small children who plans to use their pool for kids’ parties will want a different pool layout than a retiree who is looking for convenient water exercise. Don’t let them guess at what they want and risk them making an uninformed decision they’ll be unhappy with. Show them options that coincide with their needs and wants.
• Remember the basics – Superior design and impeccable construction add up to quality and quality is key. Customers need to believe that what you’re offering is fundamentally worth the cost because it’s better built than the competition. Product quality and product experience are equally important. This includes the quality of the products you use and your workmanship respectively. Show them pictures of other luxury backyards you have built to gain their trust and reinforce the quality of your work.
• Buying into the brand – Celebrity and professional associations can emphasize a brand, because again, what you’re offering is a vision driven by emotion. If a homeowner feels excited by comparison to a brand-associated personality, it can motivate them to cement the connection with a purchase. This can include an endorsement from a celebrity, industry professional, or other VIP. If any of the products that you use to transform backyards are affiliated with influential people, you should communicate that to your customer.
• Select premium brands – Availability can devalue a brand by making it too common and too accessible. Be aware of how many dealers in an area are offering a brand, and when you are selecting the products you want to represent. Carefully selecting one or two dealers with a reputation for exquisite work and quality customer relations can yield better results over time for a high-end brand and their local dealers than mass availability. Steer clear of manufacturers that over-saturate a market with unqualified dealers to avoid their negative reputation affecting your company.• The height of technology is the height of luxury – To compete in a luxury market, a product has to be on the cutting edge of technology. Not only does the novelty have an appeal of its own, but technology can also automate away messy, inconvenient chores like scrubbing a greasy grill or controlling a pool. Homeowners expect their luxury backyard to function properly and easily in addition to being visually stimulating.
• Precision pricing – Luxury goods need to be priced accordingly. Homeowners expect to pay for name and quality, as well as superior workmanship, but beware of letting price exceed product. This is where quality, both in construction and in customer service, can give a builder the edge, as those areas are where value is most evident.
• Image is everything – Have great marketing, exemplary public relations and a great reputation that is carefully attended and defended. One never knows how much research customers will do before a purchase and unaddressed negative reviews online should never be ignored. Just one or two critical comments could be enough to change a customer’s mind. It doesn’t mean that you need to delete everything that isn’t 100% positive. Consumers understand that situations arise, like weather delays and equipment failure. They are more concerned with how you handled those situations so they feel that you are capable and willing to handle anything that impacts their project. This is true for the brands you carry as well. The manufacturers you work with need to be held to the same standards.
• The pool just holds water – People often think a luxury backyard means a custom gunite (concrete) pool, but a luxury backyard can also be created with a fiberglass pool. Surround a fiberglass pool with luxury elements and you can still offer a jaw-dropping space. All the things above ground – water and fire features, structures, furniture, outdoor kitchens – and all the finishing work – glass tile and decking – are what make a backyard space truly luxurious, not the hole that holds the water. Fiberglass pools have come a long way over the years and come in various shapes and sizes that can be outfitted with the same colors and tile work that you would typically find in a gunite pool. Just make sure when you are selecting a fiberglass manufacturer that you choose a company that has a reputation of building a premium product and they need to have a history of honoring any warranty issues that may arise.
• Go the extra mile – offer something the competition doesn’t, be it a Home Pool Essentials course from the National Swimming Pool Association (homeowners learn safety and emergency procedures along with tips for troubleshooting) or a gift bag with pool-related accessories (monogrammed towels, waterproof cell phone cases, waterproof floating speakers, quality pool floats, etc.). Saying thank you in a tangible way ensures you leave the best impression.
Never forget to ask your customer before the job starts if you can document the process with photos and/or video to highlight and market your work. Be sure to send a courtesy link whenever you post any images on social media, so they can leave their comments. Nothing beats photos of a great job with a glowing referral from someone in love with their new backyard!
Luxury comes in every shape, size, style and color, so to learn how you can transform your customer’s backyards from ordinary to extraordinary and to locate products, contact Stacy Nelson from @BackyardMamma at 844-368-4769 or email stacy@BackyardMamma.com. Nelson has more than a decade of experience in the outdoor living and swimming pool industry and sources luxury products to builders and educates consumers about backyard living design and products.
View Stacy Nelson’s (@BackyardMamma) 2015 Luxury Backyard Trends to see if you are on point for current luxury backyard spaces.
Stacy Nelson e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org