Whether you work with commercial or residential clients, communication can mean the difference between a satisfied, repeat customer and a disgruntled former client who trashes your business on social media. They key to becoming a better (and busier) contractor lies in your ability to communicate both clearly and frequently.
Your Client’s Vision Matters
According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), 90 percent of a company’s success in business depends on its ability to communicate. This covers a wide range of territory, including your ability to communicate with vendors, employees, suppliers, and other professionals.
However, communicating with your customers is perhaps the most important link in the chain. When you’re planning a construction project, you automatically fill in the details with your own vision for the job. Your client, however, has his or her own vision – and it matters more than yours.
Through effective communication, you can gain a more well-rounded understanding of what your client wants. You can then deliver that vision or explain to your customer why it won’t work or why an alternative solution makes more sense.
Misunderstandings Breed Distrust
You know that your supplier had to special order a load of materials, but if you don’t communicate that fact to your client, he or she might assume that your business is poorly managed or that you don’t care about his or her project. When you fail to communicate with your clients, you leave them to draw their own conclusions. That’s dangerous.
Open and honest communication shows your clients that you care about their perception of your business. You’ll earn their loyalty and their gratitude when you keep them apprised of every step of a project and alert them to any delays in advance.
Communication Works Both Ways
Sometimes communication has nothing to do with your speech. Instead, it means listening to your clients and processing their words so you fully understand what they need. If you can hone your listening skills, you’ll gain far better rewards as a contractor.
In many cases, this will take extra work on your part. If your client isn’t a great communicator, you’ll have to put forth more effort to clarify their words and reiterate your own perspective. It’s worth it, though, when your clients call you time and again with repeat projects and referrals.
Miscommunication Can Prove Expensive
When you don’t communicate effectively, you might misunderstand a client’s request or demand, which could leave you with an expensive bill. Paying restocking fees on materials because you ordered the wrong ceramic tile, for example, offers just one example.
If you receive a confusing email from your client, pick up your phone and give him or her a call to clarify the purpose of the message. Use all of the tools at your disposal to fully understand your clients’ wishes before you act so you don’t lose money on your jobs.
It takes time to hone your skills as a contractor, but communication makes your job much easier. It’s also important to stay on top of your education, so browse courses by state to start your continuing education today.