By Ron Antevy

As a designer or contractor, you want repeat customers, since multiple projects with the same facility owner will almost always result in higher profit.  Why is this the case?  For one, the sales costs go down with a repeat customer.  An element of trust is built between you and the owner so subsequent projects don’t have to be solely about cost, ensuring that you maintain your margins. Finally, as you gain experience with the same owner, the operational “unknowns” and risks are reduced. How do you go about increasing the odds that your customer will return for more? When the project is all said and done, the owner needs to look back and say that the scope, cost and schedule met their expectations. Try these three things during the project to standout with the owner and really "wow" them.

  1. Over-communicate: Provide regular status updates and report good news, as well as bad news. No job is perfect and owners know it better than most.  Are you sharing the whole story?  In the absence of information, people will naturally make assumptions, usually bad ones. Proactively communicate with clients, eliminating the chance of a bad assumption.
  2. Be Transparent:  The more information you are willing to share, the more vulnerable you become. That doesn’t sound like a good thing, but vulnerability builds trust. People do business with people they trust. For more on this, check out this book.
  3. Accept Accountability: If you build a reputation as someone who is willing to be held accountable, again you build trust. Even if that accountability results in a problem or two on the job, you will come out ahead in the long run.  On the other hand, if you spend your time and energy figuring out ways to cover your behind, you won’t have to worry about accountability – but don’t expect future work.

Ron Antevy is president and CEO of e-Builder, a cloud-based construction program management software provider.

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