Selling home performance? Start with what they already know.

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“High-Performance HVAC”, “ACH50”, and the latest digital manometer are cool at a home performance conference. For most people, including most of our customers, though, these concepts are a bit too far removed from their experiences and understanding. Too many in the industry jump to the building science end without starting from something more familiar to the layperson whom we hope will buy it. And that is a huge mistake. How can we translate the great but unrecognized value of a science-based approach to buildings to an “optimal newness” that gets people excited?

At scale, to help people get comfortable enough to buy, we need to make a connection with something people recognize. If we can do that, we can move them to what was previously unimaginable.

Even my 70-something year old mom uses a smart phone now.  Last year, there were more than a billion Apple devices in use. But if we surveyed people 30 years ago if they would spend as much as we spend on these for what, I suspect not that many would give an enthusiastic yes. Of course, I don’t know the answer to that, because even the cognoscenti didn’t think to ask people that question.  But the Walkman paved the way for the iPod. We got familiar with the StarTac. And voilà, we’ve got the iPhone that some people pay several hundred dollars to upgrade every couple of years.

Your challenge: how can you connect home performance to what people care about so you can sell a lot more of it?

Raymond Loewry composite graphic from an Atlantic articleHat tip to the excellent article in The Atlantic, “The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything“, featuring the work of Raymond Leowy (you know a lot of his work, even if you don’t know you know it!). As the article highlights, “Loewy believed that consumers are torn between a curiosity about new things and a fear of anything too new.” Well worth the read.

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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