The Home Performance Infographic: When in the Sales Cycle to Use the Concept

(Cross posted from the

As our burgeoning industry gradually defines itself, the continuing discussion about the importance of language rages on. Big name communications consultants have told us that terms like energy efficiency are "cold, heartless and unemotional." The smart folks at Lawrence Berkeley Labs who wrote the excellent Driving Demand study say that "retrofit" is a loser.

There seems to be a correlation between the terms we on the inside use most often and the frequency of their condemnation. And nothing is more controversial than the very term that most of us use to name our entire industry category: Home Performance. (I wrote previously about how the major firms in the industry were abandoning the conceptaltogether.)

We all use Home Performance regularly in our day to day language, our business communications and, in some cases, in how we name our companies. Yet we also acknowledge that homeowners--uh, the people writing the checks--don't have a clue what we're talking about.

One of these days I'm going to get around to writing about segmentation, and messaging by audience type, and why we need to stop these meat axe declarations about certain terminology. But, for now, here's my take on where the term "home performance" fits within the sales and customer consideration cycle. I hope the infographic speaks for itself.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Comment by Glen Gallo on November 5, 2010 at 8:51am

Great Job.

I have been toying with the CI as marketing tool or Comfort Improvement to play off the industry accepted commercial Real Estate TI or Tenant Improvement term.
Comment by Peter Troast on November 4, 2010 at 8:34am
Good comments. Thanks Carol and Tim.

Tim--obviously, every customer interaction needs to be tailored to that particular situation. The advantage of the home performance concept is that it's broader than just energy and may capture that customer whose trigger is comfort or health.

You've inspired me though--next infographic we'll tackle will be one that could be used across the kitchen table to get the HP explanation down from 3 minutes!
Comment by Carol A. Markell on November 4, 2010 at 7:23am
I've always felt that respect for the person who writes the check comes first. That is a hard concept to swallow when the business owner needs or wants a quick close. When a conversation starts, asking questions, listening to responses, willingness to educate, ask more questions, more education, this all takes time, but like good home performance, laying the foundation properly will help to get the job and create the loyalty.
Comment by Tim Jones on November 4, 2010 at 3:49am
Agreed! When we use the term "home performance" without a 3 minute explanation, expect a deer in the headlights look. We've begun using "home energy improvement" with a 30 second explanation and most folks get it... eventually.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve communications with our clients; we can already communicate with our colleagues.

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