Great Expectations. Searching for the Perfect Customer (Part 3 of a GENESIS® Blog series)
Pool Design article by Brian Van Bower, SWD Master, GENESIS® Ambassador & Co-Founder
An enormous part of bringing out the best in our clients has to do with managing their expectations. A client who knows what to expect when it comes to timelines, the scope of the work, communications during the process, technical support after the fact and a range of other substantial issues is a client who is less likely to have problems along the way.
In fact, the most common irritant for clients is expecting something to happen that doesn’t. Clarity of communications is the key here, and to a large extent it boils down to being upfront with clients as the process unfolds.
We all share a natural human tendency to make promises that we believe will make other people happy. When those promises aren’t based in reality, however, and are offered only to gain favor during the sales process, then you’re only setting yourself up for trouble down the line.
If, for example, your schedule is too extended to meet a client’s desired timeline, there is absolutely no upside in over-promising something you know you almost certainly won’t be able to deliver. Yet we see this happening everywhere with people in all walks of life making commitments they have no intention of backing up with performance.
The other side of expectations management is about understanding in realistic terms what you can or cannot provide. This principle of self-awareness reaches all the way from big things (such as whether or not you’re really skilled enough to execute a perimeter-overflow design) to small things (such as the speed with which you’ll be able to obtain permits or arrange inspections).
It’s also important to be aware that by your own demeanor, you set up an expectation for what you’ll be like to work with. If you’re abrupt or given to confrontation, you can expect those characteristics to come forward with some clients and that they’ll respond in kind. By contrast, if you respond to difficult situations with a good-natured, businesslike, non-prejudicial attitude, you’re far more likely to see those tendencies in your clients.
In my case, I am also ready and willing to establish personal relationships that go well beyond the task at hand with my clients. I know that many of you are uncomfortable with that possibility, but through the years I’ve found that when clients and I engage in personal friendships though shared interests, it aids the process and creates a natural expectation that we will work together well.
Even when that turns out not to be the case (which does happen from time to time), the fact that we have some degree of personal rapport that goes beyond business enables us to work through most any rough spots that emerge.
GENESIS® Ambassador & Co-Founder
Aquatic Consultants Inc.
13775 SW 145 CT. Suite A
Miami FL 33186
T (305) 383-7266
F (305) 383-7266
Skype: bvanbower and andy.kaner