Thinking like a client

A man, wearing a hard hat and holding a contractor license, is pointing at a brick building.

One of the most frustrating things for a potential client is to be talked down to or to have something described in a terminology that he or she doesn’t understand. Most often, the client will lose interest in the contractor or even the project itself. It’s tempting, after months to years of training, to want to show the client that you know what you are doing in as many ways as possible. However, there is a fine line that must be walked to gain the client’s trust without making them feel inadequate. To do that, you must remember to keep their understanding in mind. Here are the top 3 way to think like a client.A balance of confidence- Obviously, your client wants to know that you are knowledgeable in your field and a good way to instill that mindset is project a confident attitude. Unfortunately, where many sales professional in any industry tend to trip up is the tendency to want to show off their education and go overboard; turning confidence into arrogance. This gives off the “used car salesman” feeling and will turn away clients in a hurry. Find a balance between confidence and humility. Remember that your client wants to feel as though they are hiring a professional friend, not an overbearing college professor.

A balance of confidence– Obviously, your client wants to know that you are knowledgeable in your field and a good way to instill that mindset is project a confident attitude. Unfortunately, where many sales professional in any industry tend to trip up is the tendency to want to show off their education and go overboard; turning confidence into arrogance. This gives off the “used car salesman” feeling and will turn away clients in a hurry. Find a balance between confidence and humility. Remember that your client wants to feel as though they are hiring a professional friend, not an overbearing college professor

Tone down the terminology– This is a common trap that every industry professional falls into from time to time. They will use terms that, while common between those in the industry, are unfamiliar to anyone outside of it. When speaking to a client remember that they don’t know what a Bid Bond is or who a Clerk of the Works is. Your conversation needs to use layman’s terms so that your client doesn’t feel lost or out of their depth.

Time and Money– You, as a contractor, know that it takes “x” amount of dollars and time to complete a project. Your client doesn’t. They don’t know that there is a certain amount of time needed to let a concrete foundation cure before framing or that different types of sheetrock are needed for a bathroom. All they know is that their simple little project is going to take longer than they thought and cost more than they budgeted. It’s your job to understand that and educate them on cost and timeline budgets. When they understand these breakdowns, they are more likely to keep you as a contractor than the guy who simply told them, “That’s the way it is.”

Understanding your customer’s mindset is vital to gaining and retaining their business. If they feel as though they are being made to look like fools or as though you are trying to take advantage of their ignorance, they will go somewhere else in a hurry. Fortunately, it is easy to put yourself in their shoes and communicate with them on their terms.