Credit: Debra Thornton Photography
I like to eat out. There are no two ways about it! Why?
One of the main reasons is to experience how much one restaurant can differ from another. In fact, I am very curious about how restaurants decide what is most important to their success and how the management goes about institutionalizing the delivery of a consistent experience to its clients.
After all, no one has to eat out, and it costs more to eat out than if one ate at home. So what are restaurants selling? An experience, just like remodeling companies do.
What is one of the most important aspects of a consistent, positive experience? Excellent communication.
How to make that more likely to occur? Systematize it.
The Five R’s
While recently eating at a restaurant I couldn’t help but notice the ticket the server was using to record our order. On it was written the following:
Write (OK, it is not an “R” but close enough!)
How simple and how powerful those few words are. Let’s look at them a bit more closely from the point of view of a remodeling company.
Write: Whenever you or your employees are interacting with a client, write down what you hear the client say. Simply by making this a regular practice, your success will increase.
Repeat: While writing what you are hearing, stop every once in a while and repeat it back to the client. I find it amazing how poorly people routinely communicate. This step helps prevent that from occurring.
Review: Before ending the meeting, go through what was discussed and agreed to. Without doing so, you are leaving too much up to chance.
Romance: At the beginning and end of the meeting — and between meetings — establish an emotional connection with your client. The better you and your employees are at doing this, the less important price becomes.
Return: Before you leave, always agree on when you will return. Always set the date and time of the next meeting or call. Again, simple as this is, it is so infrequently done that your clients will start to tell stories to others about how positively different your company is.
It’s interesting what one can learn from eating at a restaurant.
What I am suggesting is not difficult to do. All that you, as a business owner or manager or employee need to do is just try what I am suggesting — and then watch your clients start to market you! —Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him at email@example.com.