KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Oct 26 2010

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Make your client feel good

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”—Maya Angelou

People buy because it makes them feel good.

Obvious, right? We’re in the business of fulfilling the wants and needs our clients have about themselves and their home. These needs come from one source: emotion. Want. Need. Love. Ease.

“If I only had a window here to let in the sunshine and light, it would make me happy.”

“If I only had a place to store the juice boxes and the homework, then the kitchen wouldn’t feel as messy and I’d feel more in control.”

Even a new stove is about the feeling of satisfaction from something that works.

“The kids love the new stove, and are cooking 24/7. Score!” (Well, we’re also in the fantasy business too.)

Answer all questions matter-of-factly, no matter how surprised you may be.

As we’ve discussed before, we forget clients don’t know our field. We’ve answered these same questions countless times—hard not to get impatient when we’re mired and the electrician needs an answer now.

Nothing spoils a relationship faster than a buyer feeling like an idiot for asking a question.

I remember the first time I went in to buy a car. Now I’m certainly not comparing us to car salespeople, but I’ve always kept this in mind for my own clients. I was excited, right up to the point when I innocently asked if the hubcaps could be changed. The car salesman actually rolled his eyes. Talk about a killjoy.

If he’d been a good salesman, he could have:

• Explained why without the eye-roll. “This is a cheaper model, and only comes with this style. Let’s keep looking—we’ll find something, or let’s explore why this is a sticking point.”

• Paid attention to my needs. “No, it doesn’t, but let me think here. If I can get another set in the style you liked, would you buy the car?” Answer: probably.

• Shown me an alternative, even if it was higher. “This car has the exact hubcap you like. It’s more expensive, but comes with power steering.” (Benefits, benefits, benefits.) Would I have upgraded? Who knows? I did what every belittled buyer does: walked out and bought down the street.

Engage your clients in terms that they understand (but determine what their understanding is first.)

Aren’t you finding clients today are a fascinating blend of understanding complicated details, while missing the most basic knowledge?

Take my mother and her relationship with a computer. She can unlock locked Excel cells faster than a hacker, install complicated programs, understand ftp (file transfer protocol), but still has a challenge finding her downloads in her document folder. (Don’t tell her I told you.)

Asking “Do you know what a (fill in the blank) is?” can be useful. So can the follow-up: “Would you like to know?” While you may find a half-hour discussion on ceiling treatments and scissor trusses fun, not everyone does.

Me, I keep Maya’s quote pinned to my desk.

Until next time,


This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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