If you are in the building business in Pennsylvania, listen up (and if you aren’t in business in the lovely Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you can still apply this message to your business).
As I write the post, the Senate of Pennsylvania is in the midst of deciding whether or not they are going to address HB 377 which is the “Code Fix-It” legislation. Among the hot issues contained in this legislation is removing the provision of requiring residential sprinkler systems in single-family homes (In Pennsylvania, this requirement went into effect January 1, 2011).
If this legislation passes*, sprinkler systems will no longer be mandatory in new single-family construction; however, builders will still be required to give homeowners the option of choosing if they want a sprinkler system installed into their new home. This will involve walking each new buyer through the decision making process.
So how are you going to get your homeowner to make the RIGHT decision for them?
For some, the price tag will absolutely influence their decision, but for others, it won’t be about price. It will be about making sure that Rover or Fluffy don’t die in a fire while they are at work … or worse, an aging parent who has mobility issues that resides with them. Your customers are bound to have questions about system maintenance, failure (i.e. will it leak?), insurance premiums, and resale value – to name a few. And how are you going to answer those questions?
One way to be proactive in educating your buyers is to write an article (or a series of articles) about residential fire sprinklers and have this information available on your website and/or blog. This will accomplish a number of things:
- By writing an article, you will have spent the time up front researching the answers to 99% of your customers’ questions. This will allow for a smoother decision-making process.
- Your article can also serve as a guide – ensuring that everyone on your team presents a consistent message to your customers.
- The article can be part of the packet of information that you give customers once they’ve decided to build with you. Make sure you point out that although you don’t need their decision today, you will need their sprinkler system/no sprinkler system decision by [insert date]. This article will help them work through the emotional decision as well as trust you even more for having the foresight to point out the pros and cons of installing the system – long before the decision is needed.
- Make the article available for download from your website as a FREE guide (in exchange for their first name and email address, of course). This will inform potential buyers on at least one of the decisions they’ll need to make.
- BLOG BONUS! If you are savvy enough to post this information on your blog (in a series of blog posts), you can get further traction from consumers searching the Internet for information on this topic – driving traffic to your website and creating leads.
Whether or not residential sprinkler systems are required in your state really isn’t the issue. It is about educating your customers through articles. There are dozens of articles you, as a builder, could write, and each one is going to give the customer the peace-of-mind that you are their trusted builder. Pick any “hot topic” that will help build credibility, give customers insight into what differentiates you from the other guy, and also generates leads … and business!
*As of 4/13/2011, HB 377 is currently sitting on Governor Tom Corbett’s desk awaiting his signature.