Wouldn’t it be cool if every prospect that walked through your door had a little round emoji that lights up above their head; green smiley for great prospect, yellow neutral for a so-so prospect and red frowny for the no-chance prospect? Life would be so much easier knowing exactly where to best invest your time.
Who knows – one day with technology we may all be more easily identifiable as green, yellow or red…but until then, we must search for our green happy-faced emojis using our own smarts with the help of carefully examined targeting methods.
Research is key in understanding who our prospect really is. But it’s easy to be both overwhelmed and quite frankly misdirected if we do not zoom in on a granular level and truly understand our prospects.
Be careful, though; the data out there can be overwhelming, and it is easy to get pulled into misdirection like a popular thought of the day or the colorful and fun infographic attached to support it. A senior living magazine may tout that baby boomers have more money than other generations while social media widely broadcasts that millennials spend more on remodeling than other generational buyers. Both are technically true but may also be very wrong for our business.
Based on balanced research, the answer for most of us is that our prime prospect target is based more on general time of life and less so on generation. What I mean is, we are looking for clients who don’t just have money, but rather have a higher share of disposable income and are actually seeking to spend it on our products and services. Who fits that profile today? Well, our prime target can be referred to as “50ish.”
Today, “50ish” is actually a GenXer, but a few years ago it was a boomer, and in a decade, it will be a millennial. Why does the “50ish” consumer have the green smiling emoji above their head today? Primarily because this group is typically made up of homeowners with fewer mortgage payments left. Their bills are going down, kids are exiting college and they have reached a time in life where they can focus more on their own lifestyle. Yes, boomers have more money, but they are in capital preservation mode, so they are reducing expenditures. Yes, millennials spend more on remodeling, but their expenditures are more focused on less expensive projects as their money is often dedicated to the many future years of increasing bills in raising a young family through to the college years.
Want some fun facts about today’s 50ish consumers?
- A 2016 Pew study shows GenXers now have the highest household incomes.
- They have higher demand for remodels than new home starts, and NKBA’s 2018 Cabinetry Survey shows 80% of cabinets today are sold for remodeling projects.
- A recent Deloite Touche survey shows they have the highest disposable income, by far.
All of this adds up to a target customer who provides us the highest sales opportunity married to the highest margin possibility. They are your “Future Forward” prospect as they maintain the 50ish status for the next decade.
But based on the Coca Cola/Mass Mutual Study, we should all be focused on more than just age. Their research shows that we should all be focused on consumers who are 50ish and female. The main take away from their study is that this incoming group:
- Includes 40 million women
- Has $15 trillion in spending power
- Is the “healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation in history”
- Will see the largest population growth over next 10 years
Sounds pretty good, right? Looks like their green emoji may shine brightest of all!
Now that you know who your green light prospect is, the next step for success is to strategically plan how to attract the 50ish demographic efficiently and effectively. Keep in mind how important those last two words are. Efficiencies and effectiveness are often what makes one business more successful than another.
So, how do we attract, present, close and get referrals from today’s 50ish clientele?
Attract – Understanding their communication preferences, shopping style, showroom expectations and product preferences is key. As an example, the 50ish consumer loves to research and shop online but they are just as comfortable in a store. They grew up in malls so they still like that showroom experience. Their comfort with both technology and brick and mortar is a great opportunity for kitchen and bath firms. Take a look at what Hubert Jolly did with Best Buy in integrating his customers’ desire to shop online with the comfort and expertise of a local showroom experience. Is there something we can all learn from it to make the local kitchen and bath showroom more valuable to the 50ish consumer?
Present – Again we can focus on technology and comfort. The green light customer today expects a relaxed, “coffee shop” atmosphere. Is your showroom inviting, someplace they would like to sit down and hang out at? Do you give them easy access to your products, design and presentation? Do you leverage their smart devices in your presentation? Do you use tools they expect, like VR? Understand that this customer desires comfort and respects technology.
Close – Take time and really understand what motivates these customers to make a buying decision and also understand what prevents them from saying ‘yes.’ Remember that, as their earning and buying power have increased over the last 20 years, products and programs have come along to make their decisions and buying journey easier and easier.
Referrals – It may seem strange, but 50ish is actually the most active user of Facebook. Though social media founders are a bit younger, the now-50ish generation took hold of social media and ran with it. Leverage these clients’ desire to share things online. Their friends are probably the same demographic as they are, meaning they are green light prospects for you, too. Just as you need to make the buying experience easy, make it easy for your happy clients to share their project with their friends. No one can influence them better to give you a shot at their business. ▪