If you want to improve construction client communication, make these five steps your own, and then own the job.
By Justin Hancher, marketing manager of HOVER
Many construction contractors find there is often a divide between their vision for a home construction or renovation project, and the homeowners’ understanding of the final outcome and cost.
Verbal descriptions, hand drawn sketches, and pictures unrelated to what the customer wants, just don’t go far enough in today’s visual world. Those dated approaches also create misunderstandings that lose sales. So, here are five tips to help you improve construction client communication, and ultimately close more business.
- Select one point of contact for both parties – There is nothing worse than too many cooks in the kitchen. More than one decision maker for each party can cause problems, which is why the first step toward better communication is to establish one point of contact for both parties – homeowners and contractors.
The client should know that if they have a question, comment or concern throughout the project, they have one person calling the shots who is available to answer their call at any time. Likewise, contractors should have one primary client contact to work with who is comfortable communicating final renovation and construction decisions.
- Avoid using construction buzz-words during conversations – You’re the expert on all things construction and home renovation. You eat, sleep and breathe construction terminology every day. To your client though, words like “flange” and “T-channel” sound like another language entirely. To reduce misunderstandings with the client, get into the habit of avoiding even the most basic construction terminology.
It may feel like you’re dumbing the conversation down, but your client will feel more confident with the project if they understand what you’re saying.
- Establish credibility with clients early in the process – Credibility is key. If a client doesn’t see you as a dependable resource, they will be much less willing to hire you. During your first conversation with the client, it’s important to establish credibility by explaining past experiences, and describing similar projects you’ve worked on.
Once the project has begun, continue building trust with your clients by showing them how you took certain measurements and explaining why they are accurate. Taking the client “behind the scenes” and showing them how you arrived at decisions can be very helpful to closing a sale.
- Use modern technology to help clients envision their renovation – In today’s technology-filled world, it probably comes as no surprise that there are tools you can use on the job site to help improve efficiency, streamline processes and ultimately grow your business.
Before and after pictures of similar projects help establish reference points so people understand the overall scale of the project. Consider using short videos you shot on other jobs to explain complex parts of the process. For example, if you plan on removing a wall, showing the client a time lapsed video of one coming down helps them visualize what’s involved.
Don’t overlook using apps that enhance your photo and video presentations. HOVER’s app lets anyone generate accurate, digital, 3D home reconstructions. Just by taking a few photos with a smartphone, contractors can show clients what new siding and windows will actually look like on the home, and can even determine how much material is needed.
- Do regular client updates to maintain trust throughout the project – Updating clients on their home’s progress is one of the most important ways to build and maintain trust throughout the project. Every client is different. While some prefer hour-by-hour updates, others would rather wait until the end of each day for an update. In initial conversations with your client, make sure to ask their preferred method of contact, along with the best times to connect. Then, stick to the schedule.
Effective communication with both clients and potential clients means the difference between securing the job, and being told that the client is “going in a different direction.” Provide clear explanations free of buzz words in your sales process, and use as many visuals as needed to get your point across and establish credibility.