Trust is What They Want
by David Lupberger
Question: Every homeowner has a remodeling horror story about a job gone bad. And they're terrified it could happen to them. How do I let homeowners know that I won't do that to them and they can trust me?
Answer: Before the project starts, homeowners are scared. And, they have good reason for it! They don't understand the process. It's expensive, it's disruptive, and during the time the work is actually being done, they will give up control of their home to a contractor who they don't know if they can trust. Not every contractor delivers what they promise. Homeowners just don't know whom to trust.
Let's explore one of the most powerful concepts a remodeler can employ in building trust - your clients want you to assume a parenting role. It should begin with your first sales call and continue through the completion of the job.
If you have children, what's important to them? Is it that you are always going to be there for them and be there to take care of them?
That's why being late to pick up a child from school can have such a negative impact on them. Being 20 minutes late can mean very little to you, but can be devastating to a child. They depend on you and have no one else to depend on. They hope and trust you are always going to be there for them when they need you.
It's the same thing with your remodeling clients. They desperately want to trust you!
Let me review four elements of trust, and suggest that if you practice these four elements honestly, you will never have any serious problems.
It starts with your first appointment. Be on time no matter what. Call to let them know you'll be there on time. That represents promise number one. Make little promises you know you can keep from then on. "Yes, I can have that estimate back to you in 10 days."
"Yes, I will get you the samples by Tuesday." Do what you said you would do. Keeping your promises will build a solid foundation that will reap benefits throughout the life of the project and well beyond.
You can't tell a homeowner often enough that it's all going to come out alright. It is music to their ears. It's what they want and need to hear. Say it over and over -"It's going to be okay. I'm going to handle everything." Every homeowner desperately wants to believe that all through the remodeling process you are going to be there for them; you're not going to let them down, and you're going to manage their job from the beginning all the way to the end.
Just as with children, you need to set consistent boundaries and stick to them. Here's an example: If you have an infant and he or she stays up too late or misses a meal, what happens? They're emotional. They cry. They fuss. They are irritable. What's the answer? A consistent routine!
As a parent you can create a routine your kids can get used to and depend on. Dinner at six. Bedtime at nine. Consistent routines make kids healthier and happier.
Your clients crave this same consistency. Their worst nightmare is a pack of disorganized workers dragging in at all hours on Monday morning. You need to create a consistent daily routine and make sure your employees and subs understand that consistency is a cornerstone of how you handle clients.
If you agree that no work will start before 8 a.m., you need to stick to that. If you agree the construction area will be cleaned up every day, make sure it happens. Be very specific about what your job procedures are and make sure the procedures are followed. Show them there is a consistency to what you do.
This is easy advice to give, but being honest rarely has much of a short-term downside and always has a long term upside. When there are problems, face them quickly and directly. For example, if you discover that you left a corner cabinet out of a custom kitchen order and it's going to affect the time of completion, let the homeowner know as soon as possible.
The homeowner will respect an honest admission of guilt and you can help them plan accordingly. Some remodelers will not be so straightforward and will try to work around the missing cabinet to avoid looking bad. Well, forget looking bad - your integrity is worth more than trying to appear as if you're always right. This kind of honesty is the basis of trust. It's what clients want and deserve.
Reprinted with the permission of Qualified Remodeler
To contact David Lupberger directly, call him at (301)570-9756. You may also send your comments and/or questions to David at his personal email..