Continued from the nightmare renovation story:
So this is what I learned, and I am sharing it here as I think they are important pointers we should all take note of to make the whole process easier.
What Can You Learn
I don’t think either person in the stories is a bad or evil person. Rather, each one fell victim to poor business practices. Here are a few key lessons for your business:
•Be The Expert: Your clients engage you as a subject-matter expert. Once you agree to a scope, it is your job to manage the project and ensure you deliver results. Don’t let your problems become your client’s problems. If you have a labour issue, deal with it internally. Don’t air your dirty laundry.
•Don’t Whine: Business people earn their pay. Beggars get paid out of pity or compassion. There is no begging in business. If you are losing money or poorly estimated the project, don’t complain. I doubt that you call to gloat when a project was completed ahead of schedule with huge profits, right? Think long term. Learn your lesson, and serve your client. You just might earn repeat business or a referral.
•Think First: The electrician could have found a buddy to do the remaining tasks for 1/3 of what he was still owed. However, because he might have been embarrassed by his repeated no-shows, he opted to walk away. He could have said “I really messed up. I’ll have a guy there tomorrow at 8AM. If we don’t show or don’t complete the job tomorrow, you don’t have to pay me.” Think through your options before jumping off the cliff.
•Know Your Customer: I ended up finding some brilliant contractors who completed our project successfully. I’ve already referred each of them projects that exceed the value of our project. Your reputation is one of the most valuable things you have. Don’t wait to find out that the person you treated poorly has a large social reach. The easiest way to do this is to treat everyone with care and respect.
You might be a skilled professional with great technical prowess. But, if you are hired as a professional, you have to act like one. I’ve never seen a company communicate too much with their clients. The formula is simple: Sell Value. Manage Expectations. Own All Issues. Deliver Results. Rinse. Repeat.