During their career, most contractors will eventually run into indecisive customers who have no idea what they want—or worse, they keep changing their demands. If you haven’t had this pleasure so far, you can consider yourself lucky. Of course, dealing with such clients gets better as you become more experienced. Thankfully, you don’t have to do everything the hard way, and you can also learn from the experience of others. To save you some future headaches, here are seven tips for handling indecisive customers in the painting business.
- Stay Professional
The first piece of advice is to always stay calm and professional. Even if you are dealing with demanding customers, losing your cool won’t do you any favors. Overreacting or getting into arguments might even cost you the job.
If your clients are being indecisive, they will probably notice if you get frustrated and start rushing them. Even if you want to help speed up the process, you should do it in a roundabout way. Prepare for the meeting, know all your facts, and come armed with plenty of patience.
- Have Samples
Most contractors have a sample book and carry it around to client meetings. Unfortunately, when handling indecisive customers in the painting business, a simple color fan deck probably won’t suffice. Ideally, you can have a large showroom with multiple textures to showcase colors and paint samples. However, sometimes you’ll need to meet clients on-site and help them make decisions regarding the colors and types of paint. We suggest having a portable paint sample board. You can paint it the color of their choosing and bring it to your client’s property.
- Don’t Wait for Your Clients to Make Up Their Minds
If you want to speed up indecisive customers, you should help them determine what they want. Instead of waiting for their questions and ideas, you can take a proactive role. Come prepared and know which questions to ask your clients when starting a new project. Over time, you will learn to read your clients, and this introductory process will be much easier. When working with returning clients, you should already have established communication based on your previous projects.
- Show Them Some of Your Previous Work
An excellent way to inspire your customers is to show them some of your previous work. If you are working with local clients, you may even be able to visit some of the locations you worked on. However, in most cases – even a digital portfolio will suffice. Show them pictures of how the paint looks when the project is completed, and then compare those pictures with the color samples you have. This will give your clients a sense of how their choices might look on a completed project.
- Gain Your Client’s Trust
The process will move much faster if you can gain the trust of your customers. Once you are on the same page, clients will be more inclined to believe you and listen to your advice. Unfortunately, getting there is the hard part. The best way to establish a good relationship with your customers is to be transparent and explain everything in detail. Give your clients insight into what you are planning to do and how the process will work.
- Discuss Deadlines and Expectations
Some clients are indecisive because they think they have all the time in the world. They might lack the understanding of how contracting work is done and how long some projects take to complete. One of the most effective tips for handling indecisive customers in the painting business is to talk about deadlines. Tell them how much time you’ll need to prepare after they decide and how long the on-site work will take. Once they realize they are wasting more than just your time, they are bound to make up their minds. While you are at it, also mention potential issues and discuss contingency plans. That way, there will be no mid-project surprises.
- Ask for Pictures
Instead of having your customers describe what they want, you should ask them for pictures of their ideal finished project. Based on what they bring, you can discuss materials, texture, and paint type. However, you should realize that recognizing color from a photograph is a skill that is difficult to master. It also helps if you know some basic photography and how colors behave on camera at different times of the day.
The Bottom Line
We hope you learned something from our list of seven tips for handling indecisive customers in the painting business. Working as a contractor, you constantly interact with customers, so you’ll need to grow thick skin. Being prepared always helps, but some clients are inevitably going to be difficult. Thankfully, things will get better as you gain experience.
Author Bio: Jason Rodriguez started his career as an independent contractor before joining the team at getmovedtoday.com. Jason believes a home renovation project is never really done, and he frequently has to stop himself from adding “just a few more” finishing touches when he starts working.