By Karen Hamilton
Last fall we decided to replace the 20-year-old carpet in our house with hardwood. When our contractor cut open the first box of flooring and displayed its contents, my smile of anticipation immediately turned to a look of dismay; the colour of the wood in the box was nothing like how I remembered it from the samples he’d shown me. Sensing my concern, the contractor and his crew immediately did everything in their power to reassure me. I felt like God as they bent over backwards to find the original sample, phone the factory and make sure I was happy. My husband, who also had his doubts about the floor colour, was pretty much ignored in the rush to reassure. It was obvious these construction pros had their attention focused squarely on me, the woman of the house. Smart move.
You’ve probably heard the statistics: women make or influence 85% of the purchasing decisions and they purchase over 50% of traditionally ‘male’ products including home improvement products. So it makes good business sense to figure out what women want.
Women want to be listened to
Before you tell them what you can do for them, ask women what they want, what they need, what their budget is and what their lifestyle is like. Then shut up and listen. We like it when people are genuinely interested in what we have to say. Besides, you`ll get plenty of useful information.
Women want storage
You might be the hunters but we`re the gatherers and we need a place to put all the crap we, our children and our husbands lug home. Talk to us about storage and you`ll have our attention.
Women want a women-centric website
● ‘Lifestyle’ pictures of people enjoying their homes and not just static images of the work you`ve done
● Online tools like quizzes that can help us narrow down our choices of material or design elements
● ‘Before and after’ shots that help us imagine how our living space might be transformed
● Links to resources
● Customer stories that we can relate to
Women want convenience
Life is hectic and we appreciate the little things that make things run more smoothly. When I happened to mention that I often do work on my laptop from the family room couch, my contractor brought an electrician in to sink an electrical outlet under the new floor in the family room. Then he made me a removable panel from the same material as the rest of the floor. Ask yourself what little thing(s) you can do to make life more convenient for your customers. Whether it’s a custom drawer in bathroom cabinetry that holds hair dryers and curling irons or a pet washing station inside the garage, these custom touches will almost certainly wow your clients.
Want more ideas? Women-Centric Matters, a division of Design Basics, offers construction professionals webinars on how you can talk to a girl.
Karen Hamilton is part of the team at Hammerati. Hammerati is a professional network exclusively for the construction industry.