Over Budget? No Problem

by bkrigbaum@solagroup.com

For the past few weeks my design team has been planning a project in my home town. The homeowners discovered our website and services and called to schedule an interview meeting. During the interview process the homeowners were determined to have multiple bidders price the project because that is the way they have worked in the past. After listening to their wishes, I asked them if they would be open to a different approach that would accomplish the same results but more efficiently. Their curiosity was piqued and they wanted to learn more.

I left the homeowners’ house with a long list of need-to-haves, would-like-to-haves and would-love-to-haves. After discussing their wish list, we moved to everyone’s favorite topic: Money! Their financial investment range was about half of what their program could handle. I knew I had to set clear expectations upfront to ensure that I would not be facing the firing squad when I returned with a project that was twice the size of their pocketbook.

Our 3-D design team created the existing 3-D model, untangled the circulation flow of the house and designed a home that would work for the homeowners and their growing family. Our design/builder reviewed the plans and came back with a price that was twice the homeowners’ established financial range.

This is common, but the key to selling the project is to remain calm. Most salespeople at this point would be ready to jump to another deal because this one has gone south. There is no reason to panic if you have set clear expectations with the homeowners.

The day arrived for our presentation and the homeowners were excited to see their project come to life in 3-D. As we toured the virtual house, the homeowners were happy to see that we had listened to their ideas and designed their home to the lifestyle they desired.

The husband asked, “Are we within budget?” to which I replied, “No, you are over your budget.” He asked, “How much over?” I said, “Way over.” I added in a relaxed tone of voice, “We redesigned your home based on your needs and goals, and the project affects almost 3,000 sq. ft.” The husband reacted in the same tone of voice and said, “I can live with less and maybe we can do the project in phases?”

STAYING relaxed and in control is critical during any sales call, and it makes a big difference to the outcome of the sales process.

The homeowners scaled the project down and felt good about moving to the next step.

Drawing your customers toward your business methods and procedures enables your sales team to keep control of the project and process. Allow the homeowner to choose a proven project delivery system that will deliver and meet expectations. People will listen to how you can help them if your story is compelling and it creates a win for all parties.

Staying relaxed and in control is critical during any sales call, and it makes a big difference to the outcome of the sales process. If you are nervous, your client will be nervous. If you are calm and relaxed, your client will be calm and relaxed. Go with the flow and remember that you are there to facilitate the design/build process which allows the homeowner to discover qualified options provided by a professional design/build team.

Our design/build system works when we work with qualified clients. The problem in today’s economic climate is simply the level of qualified customers has fallen below the line of services we can provide. If you find yourself reaching below this line, you run the risk of being a nonprofit company. This affects your entire team, you and the entire company. Selling just to sell will delay the inevitable, so why do it? Stay strong in your core business belief systems.

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