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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In flooring and cabinetry (read kitchen and bath remodels) it is an axiom that the wife drives the purchase and husbands are often jerks who don't want to spend any money because it cuts into big screen TV and beer money. While I've had prospects like this, I'm not sure it is true.

A good percentage of sales are men coming in alone, or couples. Frequently the husband makes most of the decisions, and/or tells the wife "anything you want" or upgrades the selections himself. Women tend to be tighter with a buck, often blaming the husband with "my husband isn't going to like I spent even this much..." I think they often lie - husbands who appreciate their wives usually will be quicker to do it and spend more to get exactly what they want, or think the wife wants. (IMO!!)

Questions: Do you have similar experience? If we try to mine the husband-as-only or primary motivator, will it work, and how to get to them?
 

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Nest Home Improvement
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I think it is different for each and every sales situation.

I recall a few years ago taking my wife to look at a new car for her. The car sales guy totally ignored my wife and only wanted to talk to me. Big mistake on his part as no sooner than we arrived we left and bought elsewhere.

My point is to try to go into all sales calls with an open mind and try to listen to and interact with all parties involved. That way you can try to cater to both of their needs.
 

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With mine, neither really drive the purchase but both come to the decision together. I would say the wife is always more concerned about the color and if the garden will get any debris in it while the husband is concerned with quality.
 

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I've found you have to play to both the husband and wifes interests. With the husband sell your quality materials and installation techniques and with the wife get your wrist a little limp ;) and discuss the colors and other design aspects of the job. If you can do this I feel you have a better chance at scoring the job vs just selling one or the other.IMO
 

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In flooring and cabinetry (read kitchen and bath remodels) it is an axiom that the wife drives the purchase and husbands are often jerks who don't want to spend any money because it cuts into big screen TV and beer money. While I've had prospects like this, I'm not sure it is true.

A good percentage of sales are men coming in alone, or couples. Frequently the husband makes most of the decisions, and/or tells the wife "anything you want" or upgrades the selections himself. Women tend to be tighter with a buck, often blaming the husband with "my husband isn't going to like I spent even this much..." I think they often lie - husbands who appreciate their wives usually will be quicker to do it and spend more to get exactly what they want, or think the wife wants. (IMO!!)

Questions: Do you have similar experience? If we try to mine the husband-as-only or primary motivator, will it work, and how to get to them?
I can tell you with out a doubt you have this absolutely back wards.
 

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In flooring and cabinetry (read kitchen and bath remodels) it is an axiom that the wife drives the purchase and husbands are often jerks who don't want to spend any money because it cuts into big screen TV and beer money. While I've had prospects like this, I'm not sure it is true.

A good percentage of sales are men coming in alone, or couples. Frequently the husband makes most of the decisions, and/or tells the wife "anything you want" or upgrades the selections himself. Women tend to be tighter with a buck, often blaming the husband with "my husband isn't going to like I spent even this much..." I think they often lie - husbands who appreciate their wives usually will be quicker to do it and spend more to get exactly what they want, or think the wife wants. (IMO!!)

Questions: Do you have similar experience? If we try to mine the husband-as-only or primary motivator, will it work, and how to get to them?
It just looks that way because the wife has already made the decision;)
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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On the initial meeting both the husband and wife seem like they are equal partners in the decision. Often the term "Whatever makes her happy" comes up. After the initial meeting I rarely ever see the husband again. I mainly deal with the wives.

I often joke about it to my wife that all of my clients names are women.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Refining the question

Thanks for the replies so far.

I would estimate between 25% and 40% of our jobs are either men alone, or couples where the husband has upgraded the job or has essentially said "go ahead and do it" while the wife has been waffling. I've certainly seen my share of the other kind, where the husband has killed the sale, but I think men take a bad rap about a) not caring what the house looks like, and b) having their foot on the wife's neck about spending money.

Probably more prospects are women who get the ball rolling. But if 25% or more are men and I ignore them, especially when they tend to come to decisions while a lot of women want it but don't want to spend for it, that can be a huge market that is overlooked. (Like female car buyers were for years. Had a similar experience on a car purchase with my wife years ago.)

How do I test my hypothesis on a tight budget? How do we get to the men, and what will be the trigger that gets them to come in and say "let's talk about this project...?"

Direct mail addressed to HUSBAND ONLY - SECRET -WIVES DO NOT OPEN!? Wrap a message around a beer can and throw it through the window? Do a pictorial and send a complimentary issue of Big 'Uns where the model is using a shower we've done and suggest the wife would love to have her own shower to model in? (And I can't wait to hear the comments about maybe that would be disincentive.)

Seriously, there has got to be a way to get the conversation initiated, even if the wife takes it over after it is once started.
 

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If we try to mine the husband-as-only or primary motivator,
You market your product and forget if it's going in front of a man or woman. This is home improvements not porn, not a bra, not golf clubs, not whiskey, not a manicure service, (all of which have very defined male or female markets) this is home improvements. You simply market the product in a place that, both men and women look for home improvement solutions. Then when you get in front of a prospect that is a couple you listen and decide what type of dynamic exists between the couple and adjust your presentation of yourself, your company and your product to be in tune with the audience you are now in front of.

Marketing / sales they are separate.
 

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You're taking very broad strokes if you want to decide on the attributes between genders for consumers in our industry.


BUT...Most women have a different attitude about the house than the man does. Most men also like "nice things" in the house, but primarily attribute the house as a means to an end.

Whereas, most women see the house as the "it". They are less driven by functionality than by design/comfort/touch-look-feel dynamic. Most men prefer a better functioning home and would sacrifice a great deal of "look-touch-feel".

You can tell pretty fast during the first visit which wears the pants. Focus more attention on them, observe their attitude towards the other person (if they are dismissive of the other person's suggestions/likes/dislikes or whether they are more accomodating to the other person). Then gauge your approach to the other person accordingly. You err if for example, the person in charge between the two is dismissive of the other person and you focus too much attention on the other person/side with them.

If you can't gauge which one wears the pants, and if they seem like they make mutual decisions...figure out which one appears to be more the breadwinner and you have your head hancho :thumbsup:

I just finished a job for a couple where the guy is a well earning IT guy and the woman is a stay at home. But to throw a wrench into my belief...she seemed to be the one in charge. Couldn't figure it out because she wasn't even attractive at all while the guy was definitely making a compromise in that department...then I learned towards the end of the job that her father passed away and she got a big inheritance some years back...it seems like HE was the trophy and she had the bankroll :thumbsup::laughing:
 

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The last two jobs I've done, the woman wears the pants. Got a large project starting in March, and the wife wears the pants there too.

She makes the large money, is more aggresive, and is making all the major design decisions.

Who would have thought? :blink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Partly agree, partly disagree

I agree with Mike and Heritage this is broad strokes and you have to adjust when you are in front of the client. No questions. And a good percentage of all such jobs are going to be female head of household. What I'm talking about is what may be a significant, though maybe not overwhelming segment of the market.

2 of last 3 jobs of $6,600 to $21K were driven by the husband. Prospect I saw yesterday and this morning is going to be the husband making the decision - he came in alone, met me the first time at the house alone, and the wife deferred to him this morning. He has done all the painting in the house and probably has picked most of the furniture, etc. Thinking back over the larger jobs that pop to mind it has been about 50/50 as to gender regarding who has motivated the contact/sale.

Asked two reps who have come in the last couple of days. Both say WIVES, but then say "my wife doesn't know about anything like this, I make all the decisions and she prefers it that way."

Yes, we are going to market the features basically the same way. "This will be a beautiful roll-in shower, with high quality cabinetry ..." BUT men and women perceive things differently as a rule and WHERE and HOW we reach the genders differs. If you want women you go to Oprah. Men are action movies and sports. But I can't afford huge TV marketing budgets.

Is there a reasonable way to do a test that targets men? (I also think men upgrade more when making selections, DO care about how the house looks and the details, and tend to take more interest and be in charge more when spending relatively LARGE amounts of money. Maybe it's our psyche that we feel good when making a major purchase, and women are the opposite, liking to conserve money? Damned if I know.)

I appreciate all the input. I may be fooling myself, but in this market need to turn over every stone feasible.
 

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On the initial meeting both the husband and wife seem like they are equal partners in the decision. Often the term "Whatever makes her happy" comes up. After the initial meeting I rarely ever see the husband again. I mainly deal with the wives.

I often joke about it to my wife that all of my clients names are women.
That's my experience too. On a couple of occasions I have dealt mostly with the husbands because wife was busy with kids or business, but all decisions were still being made by the wife. When I had a question, it was always "Let me call my wife..."

When I show up for a porch estimate and the husband comes outside before the wife, I usually just nod and go along with what he's saying, knowing full well that it's all going to change when his wife comes out. Eventually, he goes back in the house and sort out all the details with his wife.

I have found that the younger the couple, the more likely it is that the woman is in charge.
 
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