Trust is one of the major considerations for a good architectural company. Building trust with client is a hallmark of a good business and it comes with enormous benefits. Some of the benefits that attend a good business relationship are continuous patronage, business referrals, and patience when there is a challenge. Lack of trust is detrimental to a business. The absence of trust can affect a business reputation as well as erode future businesses. Owing to the intricacies involved in architectural projects, a lot can go wrong with a client-architect relationship. However, when there is trust, a lot of the challenges can be managed without breaking the relationship.
To help you grow and maintain trust with your clients, here are some great tips that you can apply.
Build an efficient Online Presence:
In today’s business world, the first point of contact between business and client is online. Every business must have an updated and active online presence. A sparse online presence is usually a red flag for potential customers. You need to have every of your online contacts points updated. Your LinkedIn profile and your website must have all the important details of your business. When there is a change in your business, ensure the same is reflected on your online presence.
Be consistent with your communication:
Excellent communication is an important factor when it comes to building trust. In the architectural world, we sometimes focus on the job more than the job owner. There is a need to continually and effectively communicate with client to give updates on the progress of project. When you communicate regularly, many of the potential challenges will be detected on time. With this, necessary measures will be put in place to work out the challenges.
Make your client understand the project:
There is no better way to do this than in pictures. With 3D design software, you can communicate the design and concept to the client. With virtual description and visualizations, it is very unlikely that your client will misconstrue your designs. Going this route will help you to anticipate likely conflicts early enough and be able to accurately solve them without much glitch.
Never Over-promise your client:
This is very critical. This is one of the major culprits for mistrust in architectural company-client relationship. When a client makes a demand that is not possible, never be afraid to say no. Be sure that you can deliver what you have committed to deliver. It is tempting to say yes to a client sometimes just to get the job. However, when you cannot deliver on the promise, you erode the trust of your client.
Be an expert indeed:
A client trusts only architects that know what they are doing. Crafting a building requires a lot. You therefore need to do your homework well. Factors such as material properties, applicable codes, and cost of things must be clear to you. And in the same vein, it must be clearly and correctly communicated to client. When you properly carry out research about the project you are handling, you are less likely to make many mistakes.
Be clear and honest when setting expectations:
There is the tendency to want to satisfy the client at all cost, sometimes at your own expense. This can however be detrimental to your architectural company. For instance, if you discover that a project will cost much more than your client can afford, communicate same. Do not embark on a project you are not fully convinced you can handle within the available budget.
Clients will definitely want you to perform your magic but hey, you have to be financially responsible for your business. Whatever expectation you are not sure of meeting never set it for your project. Clients sometimes place impracticable demands on architectural company to wring the budget and schedule. As the professional, you have to be honest and firm about what is possible and what is not. Honesty can be hard. As a matter of fact, it can cost you the business. But at the end of the day, the truth always prevails. The client sees you are being truthful and will respect you for it. Another important reason why you have to be very honest about expectations, cost and feasibility is that it can stop you from bearing costs outside the original scope of project.
Provide novel and creative architectural solutions:
Clients are always looking for professionals who can create new things. How creative you are will determine how well you retain clients. When you clients know they can always get new architectural solutions from your company, they trust you with their projects.
Having said all, being responsible is very critical in building trust. When you are wrong about your projections, acknowledge, apologize and provide new solutions to solve the problem.
Written by: Estefan Eitan