When dealing with customers, at times rifts appear between the customer’s dream and your construction needs. Not to mention all other variables, such as the land, the weather, the construction size and the finances. The sales and subsequent negotiation process can get difficult.
That is why we at Eurodita would like to share our experience in dealing with clients. In 27 years, we have dealt with a great many clients of varying degrees of difficulty. In this post, we would like to share some aspects of dealing with clients. Most importantly, we would like to cover the process of sealing the rift between their wishes and the realities of construction.
First things first, when dealing with a client, you must understand that they are likely not on the same level of knowledge as you. That is, after all, part of the reason why they’re looking for your construction expertise rather than just ordering prefab cabin kits and assembling it themselves. It’s important to asses this knowledge gap first and proceed from there.
If the client has no knowledge of constructing any type of home, let alone a bespoke residential log cabin, you need to get down to their level. Explain important aspects in a way that is simple. The best way to do it is to present the financial comparison for different options. For example, if they want to get a large cabin kit, yet you can tell that it will be too large for their land choice. Show a price comparison with a smaller cabin option next to the size explanation. Finance is a great way to let people gauge the problem from a standpoint they can relate with.
If the client is versed in the area of construction, there are a few ways to approach this. If the client is absent, content with the instructions they’d given, don’t hesitate to approach them whenever there’s a question. Be bold and speak to this type of client like an equal. They will respect you more if you come to them with genuine questions about their bespoke log cabins and show results.
On the other hand, if the client is versed in construction, but changing their stance on various decisions, you might need a bit more patience. Though client can imagine they know all important aspects of building bespoke summer houses, your job here is to let them know the real situation without sounding condescending. In extreme cases, if the client is causing more conflict than resolution, you might even be right to consider dropping them altogether.
Important topics to cover
In different sale stages, there are basic topics you might want to cover with your client. First thing that you must do and that is very important is to listen to their plan first. Whether you’re selling a log home, a BBQ hut, a log cabin or even a small garden room, take time to listen to their full list of ideas.
Then proceed with a comprehensive list of your own questions, just take care to ask those that you only don’t have the answer to. Do they want a bespoke summer home? Or do they only want a standard log cabin? How big is the land they’re planning to build on? What type of timber would they want to use? Or to ask a simpler question, how dark or light would they like their log home to be?
Better yet, compile a list of standard questions that YOU need to know about your client’s dream glulam timber house. Fill in each answer you get from them on first interaction and then follow up with questions you don’t have answers to yet. This way, not only will you have a comprehensive picture of what your client is looking for, but also you will be prepared should any discrepancies arise.
Dealing with clients as a log home supplier has its challenges. However, if you’re well prepared and work with people smart, there is no reasons to worry about failure. Be prepared, be confident in your own knowledge of the field and always fall back on your experience. Good luck!