Best Practices, Operations, V10I3

Overcoming the Price Objection

(Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

The price of goods and services can, and often does, trump other variables when a customer is considering a purchase. That’s particularly true in the current economic environment. In the most recent data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index rose a whopping 3.5 percent over the previous 12 months, a trend that shows no sign of stopping.

That can make getting potential buyers “in the door” a challenging proposition for shed companies that focus more on quality work and superior customer service than low prices. 

When possible, Golden State Buildings in Sanger, California, convinces its customers that price shopping could potentially have dire consequences down the road. 

“If you buy something that’s cheap, you think about that every time you use it, especially when things start to break,” says Wesley Weaver, co-owner of the shed supplier/manufacturer, “but if it costs a little more, you only think about the cost at the time you buy it, then you never think about it again.”

Golden State Buildings differentiates itself by offering an exceptionally diverse product line, ranging from standard sheds to dog houses to playhouses and outdoor pavilions. 

They’ve been in business for some 22 years, and over time have adapted and changed to compete in an evolving market. 

Ken Miller, CEO of Classic Buildings LLC in Linn, Missouri, says his sheds are 20 to 40 percent higher in cost than the low-cost shed suppliers in his region. 

In return, customers “get a human being that genuinely cares about them,” he adds. “We won’t quit until they’re not only satisfied but thrilled with their experience.”

Classic Buildings covers an area from St. Louis to Kansas City to Springfield and offers a wide range of building sizes, from 8 by 8 feet to as large as 60 by 120 feet. 

They emphasize quality over quantity and spend significantly more time with each customer than do the low-cost providers. 

“I’ve found that if I start competing on price, I simply can’t afford to take care of my customers,” Miller says. “Our vision as a company is to build better buildings that last longer.” 

LIVING IN REALITY

Nevertheless, a recent dip in sales caused by rising inflation has prompted many owners to add low-cost alternatives to their lineup to bring customers back. 

Both Classic Buildings and Golden State Buildings have recently begun to offer less expensive alternatives in their inventory, while also maintaining their focus on customer service and quality.  

Weaver says Golden State Buildings will continue to take a genuine interest in its customers’ needs, regardless of the economic environment. 

“We foster a learning attitude in our workers,” he adds. “Our people doing the work have a desire to find solutions to difficult challenges.” 

In the process, they offer customized designs that meet the specific needs of their customers and use durable, distinctive materials that stand the test of time. 

“We don’t try to push a particular product,” he adds. “We focus on meeting their needs, and to design a building to meet that need.”  

Golden State uses other methods to attract customers, such as 5- and 10-year warranties to provide them with more price options. They also offer financing and rent-to-own programs to help alleviate cost concerns. 

“Just having that available makes it doable for some people,” says Weaver. “They get better interest and lower payment costs; that’s definitely attractive to them.”

Classic Buildings’ Miller feels his employees are his biggest differentiator. 

“I grew up Amish, so everything we do comes from the work ethic that I was taught,” he says. “We have an orientation for every new employee, and we explain to them who we are and what we do. 

“We set those expectations from the beginning … this is what we do and how we want it done. Then, they must decide if that’s what they want to do.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t have people who care about their work, you’re not going to be successful.”

GETTING NOTICED

Superior quality and customer service mean little if a shed company can’t get customers in the door. 

Unfortunately, that can be a difficult proposition in an age when face-to-face interactions are minimal, and many customers do much of their shopping online. 

Rich Grosskreutz, a salesman with Wisconsin Valley Sheds in Merrill, Wisconsin, says his shed supply business relies heavily upon product visibility to attract customers. 

He places a dozen or so sheds on his lot, which are all visible from the highway. They also advertise on Google and Facebook. 

“We’re in a pretty good location, as we’re off one of the major highways up here, so that gives us a lot of visibility,” Grosskreutz says. 

“Once we start the conversation, we point out the benefits of going with us rather than a low-cost supplier. For one thing, our builder includes delivery and placement in their cost. The price we quote them is the price that they’ll pay at the end, and there’s nothing they have to do. It’s all done by us.”

Wisconsin Valley Sheds also provides a 10-year warranty on the construction, as well as a 50-year warranty for siding and a 30- to 40-year warranty on roofing materials. 

“Pointing that stuff out to the customer is important, especially when they appear to be price shopping,” he adds. “Many times, they’re willing to spend a little more money for a higher quality building.”

For its part, Golden State Building has stepped up its marketing budget in the last year. 

They’ve also enhanced their website and incorporated the use of the IdeaRoom 3D platform so that customers can visualize their shed designs.

Additionally, they’re proactively boosting their web presence by offering gift cards for online reviews and hiring a professional photographer to take visually attractive pictures of completed projects.

Miller says Classic Buildings is also ramping up its online marketing. 

“In the past, our salespeople would communicate the quality and customer service message, but we’ve been forced to re-design our website and communicate with photos, design, branding and messaging,” he says. “Times have changed, and we’re changing with it.”

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