“I need to check with the wife”

“I can’t pay your last invoice ’cause I am STILL not happy  with the skirting board in the hall cupboard” (or some other feeble excuse)

“I need to save some money. I will get my mate to do the electrical”

Are these examples of objections or problems that you have come up against when dealing with clients?  I get complaints often from clients along these lines and they tend to be a source of great frustration to a project.  This is especially so as the project nears the end and money starts to get tight.

So, if you are having these issues in your dealings with clients, what are you doing about it? There is a saying in the world of sales; “what you fear most, you will get” and that usually means objections, unrealistic price comparisons and unreasonable client requests. And despite hoping it won’t happen next time, it usually does.  Just hoping things will get better, and you will know how to handle the issue better next time, I don’t think is the best way to improve your outcome.

For a change try dealing with the potential issue at the START of your relationship, when everyone is more excited about the project and has plenty of budget and energy.  I call it “prelimination”.  Eliminating the problems before they happen.  So, how do you know if a problem will occur?  The answer is you don’t, so YOU raise it and then propose a solution that suits you and get buy-in from the client.

Take the “my electrician” issue.  If this has been an issue for you in the past, raise it as early as the quote presentation stage.  Your script when discussing price might go something like this….”Sometimes people think they can save some money by using their own sub-trades, but when some of my earlier clients did this they ended up with a significantly worse job AND ended up paying as much as I allowed, and sometimes more.  I have spent years developing a team of really reliable sub-trades who do great work and competitive prices. I will stand behind their work and make sure they do as well.  For these reasons I think the best value you will get is to use my team.” or something along those lines.

In summary, be proactive about the client issues you know are likely to come.  Don’t wait and hope they won’t happen this time. They probably will and will just suck the energy out of you when you have the least to spare. Fighting rear guard actions near the end of the battle will cost you dearly.

Andy Burrows.  The Trades Coach