Developing honest and respectful relationships with clients is key for transforming visions into reality
Photo via Unsplash / Sean Patrick Murphy
Working in the construction and renovation industry is more than just a job – we're helping people build a dream. To succeed in this business, you need to set the right tone with clients from day one.
At our design-build firm, our goal is to inform, educate and aid clients through the process of realizing their vision. This means being intentional about our words and actions.
Here are five behaviors and habits that have helped us make a great impression and grow our business faster:
1. Stop "Selling"
It sounds counterintuitive, but leaving the hard sale mentality behind is better for business. We focus on making new prospects feel comfortable, and welcoming them to work with us. You can't rush the process or push a client into a decision if they are not actually ready to move forward. Be a partner, not just a vendor. When you approach every situation with this mindset, the projects will come.
2. Be Conscious of Your Client's Environment
When we're working on someone's home, we are responsible for minimizing the stress that our work can bring to someone's personal space. Whether it's a home, office, or retail space, tread lightly and disturb the environment as little as possible. We're guests, and we should always be grateful that our clients let us into their world.
3. Eliminate "Can't" and "Won't" From Your Vocabulary With Prospects and Customers
Not only are we guests, we want to build lasting relationships with customers. If you tell them right off the bat that you can't do this or won't do that, it tells a potential customer that they're just a transaction to you. These negative terms simply close the door for you, and open it for another pro who is willing to make it work.
If a prospect asks you about something you've never done, note that you have resources and team members with a broad range of experience. Then, tap into your network to find someone for those projects.
4. Have Regular, Transparent Communication With Your Customers
Construction projects have a lot of moving parts, and hiccups happen. If a client becomes angry mid-project over a miscommunication or lack of information, it only amplifies an already stressful situation.
If you're meeting with your clients regularly and keeping them up-to-date about what you're discovering and where you are in the anticipated schedule, there's no real room for surprises.
One tip for being transparent right off the bat: Be meticulous and upfront about your budget. Before starting any project, we let our clients know everything our budget includes as well as the things it does not. That way there are no major financial surprises after the project begins.
5. Never Assign Blame When Things Don't Go As Planned
When you find yourself in an unplanned situation, don't look for a scapegoat. Throwing someone you’ve hired under the bus, or blaming a supplier doesn't do any good. Instead, keep thinking "vision forward" and keep the project moving as smoothly as you can.
Following the above strategies will only result in happier customers and greater business growth.