Offering payment options every customer—yes, to every customer—can really boost your business.
Across the home improvement industry, including the window and door industry, research we conducted revealed companies that offer payment options to their customers can increase leads by 50 percent, nearly double their close rate (assuming a 25 percent baseline), and increase project sizes by as much as 44 percent.
You open the possibilities of what your customers can do with their window or door project by offering payment options. When a customer sees the potential provided by a choice of loans, suddenly the limits they previously felt were holding them back from their dreams disappear and that opens doors for you.
Tom Meersman of AHT Wisconsin Windows and Joey Obledo of Western Window Systems see financing as an engine to boost sales. In fact, both of them attribute payment options as a significant factor in their recent growth, which for both companies has been more than 100 percent.
Meersman uses payment options as a way to create affordability. For example, on a project that would cost $15,000, he informs the customer, “Instead of this $15,000, I can get you a payment of $130 a month. Then, they say, ‘Oh really, only $130? What can you do for $200 a month? Or, what can you do for $300 a month?’ Now, instead of looking at 35 or 40 percent of their house, you've got the option of a $30,000 or a $40,000 order, and the customer knows they can manage the payments.”
The key to providing financing to your customers is not to try to guess what the customer will do, but to give them an unbeatable choice of payment options and let them decide. That way, you’re not dependent on them paying cash, accepting a same-as-cash loan or even a low monthly payment loan. You win either way. The customer wins because they get what they want in the scope and quality of the project.
Obledo says financing makes up 50 to 60 percent of his jobs. “We don't tell anyone that they need to finance,” he says. “We just give them their options and let them decide.”
And, when they decide, the project size goes up. Obledo says the average financed job is about 60 percent bigger than a cash job. “Growth comes when you sell more deals. Another way is to offer more financing, because when the customer finances, we write bigger deals. My team understands that. I think that's why we do so well with financing,” he said.
When do you offer payment options to your customers? Here are three times to bring it up.
1. Generating Leads
Mention payment options in all your marketing and advertising materials to increase leads. Good lending partners will offer templates for any marketing program—showroom signs, web banners, ads, door hangers and more. Mentioning payment options in your advertising helps your customers start thinking about how to pay for their project.
2. Setting the Appointment
Next, discuss payment options when setting that first appointment. The scheduler plants payment option ideas, asking the customer to learn more about a financing promotion when the sales rep visits.
3. During the Sales Process
When the sales rep arrives at the appointment, they should continue discussing payment options as part of building the relationship with the customer. For example, they could say, “Don’t let me forget to tell you about our 12-month, same-as-cash financing before I go.”
With these short mentions, you’ve given the customer options to pay for the project, and in many ways, have preempted any objection about price. Then, when it’s time to go for the close, you can bring up the payment options once more, letting the customer choose the payment method to best suit their needs.
Obledo takes a neutral approach to the final decision, but you still need to present each option as a good one. “Give them the options; it's their choice if they use it or not,” he said. “You're proposing it in an attractive way. Why wouldn't you, if it doesn't cost you anything? But it has to be a strategy.”
Obledo and other contractors usually provide multiple payment options, utilizing a “good-better-best” sales approach. His team will offer, for example, a same-as-cash loan, and a low monthly payment loan, but with a tiered strategy: the higher the sales price, the lower the interest rate he can offer. So, when a customer doubles the price, the monthly payment doesn’t double because he offers a lower interest rate, which makes the “best” option more attractive.
While many factors contribute to your business's growth, make financing one of them, including presenting payment options as part of your lead generation processes, when you make the consultation appointment, and during the sales process when you present the estimate. If you offer financing—not even worrying about which choice the customer will make—you, too, could see an increase in sales.