Do you know how to tell the tire kickers, price shoppers, and other time-wasters from those who are actually serious about remodeling?
All you have to do is start asking the right questions. Pretty soon you’ll be able to figure out who is worth your time and who you’d be better off leaving behind.
Q: What’s your address?
A: Whether the house is located in an exclusive gated community, the dregs of the city, or 50 miles from your office, you can end the conversation here if it’s not in your preferred working area.
Q: How long have you lived in your home?
A: If they just moved into the house, you probably want to find out where the money is coming from to finance the project. There may not be any equity to back a loan. However, if they have been in the house for 30 years and they’ve had a remodel on the mind for half of that time, there is most likely going to be a lot of workable equity.
Q: Have you done a remodeling project before?
A: If yes, then why aren’t they using the same contractor from the previous job? Was it because they hired a bad contractor or because the contractor worked with an unreasonable customer? This could be the one-in-ten client that won’t let a contractor make a profit.
Q: How long do you plan on staying in your house?
A: If they are fixing up to sell, you can bet they are looking for the lowest price possible. But if they plan on dying in the house, they will be looking to get things done right.
Q: Do you know what year your home was built?
A: If the house was built 300 years ago, they are probably looking for a renovator, not a remodeler. I’ve run into many contractors who won’t work on a house built before 1980 because of all the code regulations and abatement hoops they have to jump through.
Q: Are you trying to stay within an investment amount?
A: This can be a tricky question. They may tell you a number, but more than likely, they will just say yes. If they say yes, then you know they have a fixed amount to work with. At this point, you may just let them know that once you learn more about the project, you’ll discuss how big of a project they can get for that amount. Then you’ll find out if they can afford it.
Q: Are you talking to other contractors about your project?
A: If they say they have already spoken with ten other contractors, you need to find out why they haven’t made a decision yet. They may be shopping price or are just looking for ideas. It also helps if you know who they are talking to so you’ll know if you’re competing against Pickup Truck Pete or a professional construction company.
Q: How will you decide which contractor you will partner with for your project?
A: If they say they are just looking for the lowest price, run for the hills. If they say they are looking for someone like you, and they seem to fit your ideal client model, then you should continue. Remember, it’s not just about who they will choose, but it’s about who you will choose. Are they right for you and your company?
Q: When are you thinking of starting your project?
A: If they tell you that they are working on their ten-year plan and are just trying to find out how much it will cost, you may want to bow out of the competition. Or you could help them by giving them some price ranges, add them to your mailing list, and turn them into a prospect. Just because they aren’t ready now doesn’t mean they couldn’t become a client in the future.
Q: Do you have plans for your project yet?
A: This is a great point to find out if they understand all the work that goes into creating the plans for a project. Find out if they’re the right client for you by bringing up the fees for your planning and estimating services. You will lose some prospects at this point because they are just tire kickers.
I’ve covered the most important questions here, but they're a lot more questions you can ask that will help you gauge a client’s intentions.
And sometimes it’s not a question, but an observation…
If you walk into a home that’s spotless, with white carpet and tons of perfectly dusted trinkets, you may conclude that this could be a tough customer to please.
You’ll learn a lot about your potential clients simply by asking the right questions. This will help you sell your projects by first selling your design and planning services.
To your success,
Chief Experts Academy