Stand your ground when you know you’re right

by WOHe

A builder told me last week about the $8 million custom home in Michigan he finished last year. The home was never occupied and is still up for sale for $14 million (plus $6 million for land). I asked if this was a spec home and he said no. The owners built the home on a cost-plus basis – a project that took three and a half years – but when the home was complete the owners decided to sell it because their business took a downturn and they needed the cash.

The builder assured me he didn’t lose money on the deal, and that his performance had nothing to do with the owners having to sell the place, so I asked, “Well, then, is there a lesson to learn here?†He said yes.

One lesson, he said, is to spend more time on planning, which could have saved the homeowners roughly $500,000 in tearouts and changes, as well as saving time spent waiting for special orders to arrive from around the country. He also said if he insisted the owners took a few months more to plan at the beginning, it would have improved the relationship with his clients and saved them time in the end.

Most importantly, the builder said he learned another lesson which is not to give in to client intimidation. These clients had stature at a national level and told the builder his opinion mattered when they said it mattered. So, out of respect, he bit his tongue when he shouldn’t have. Looking back, he knows he should have been the expert they needed, and vowed to do that in the future.

Have you ever been intimidated by a client? If so, how did you deal with the situation?

Share your example by sending me an e-mail. Or, scroll up to the first paragraph of this blog entry, look to the right and click where you see, “Leave a comment†or “Post or view comments.â€

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