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Matt Doyle, Vice President and Co-Founder Excel builderis a truly one-of-a-kind custom home builder that creates homes that make every day comfortable.
It can take a lot of practice to be able to handle long projects well. You can train your team to manage well, but what about the other client? If it’s your first time working with a team on a long-term project, how do you learn what to expect? Is not it?
This is something you often face in the business of building custom homes. Clients don’t always experience the stress associated with seeing long projects through to completion. Part of your job is to help manage them, and there are ways to do it better.
understand what they are going through
To make a long-term project more manageable for a client, start by thinking about where the client’s stress comes from in the long-term project.
Is it part of a larger plan that needs to be put in place? Are they investing a lot of resources? Many things will be on their minds. Based on what you know about your client, you should be able to anticipate what causes stress and proactively look for ways to manage it.
Solutions may include breaking the project into more manageable pieces and discussing insurance options for peace of mind or other options that are appropriate for the situation.
Stressors vary from project to project, but one that seems to affect everyone is the stress of waiting. I think it’s easier to manage if you start at the planning stage and incorporate helpful checkpoints.
Start at the planning stage and incorporate checkpoints
From the very beginning of project planning, incorporate checkpoints to help your team report back on results on a regular basis. Every week (or every month), create and send a short report to the client informing them of the checkpoints that have been achieved.
This allows clients to experience long projects as a series of weekly wins, rather than long wait times punctuated by lengthy (perhaps horribly long) descriptions of work completed.
While it’s important to focus on your weekly or monthly checkpoints, you also need to make time to highlight major progress occurring within your project.I call these milestones and I think that’s why we celebrate
Highlight and celebrate major milestones
One way to make a long project manageable is to highlight and celebrate big milestones. You can punctuate an occasion like this with a small gift (depending on your budget), but sometimes just showing off what you have ready can excite and reassure your client.
For example, in my industry, it’s great to invite clients to a construction site when major pieces such as building foundations, frames and exteriors are completed. Many questions can be answered simply by helping clients understand that their vision is beginning to take shape.
Needless to say, not all clients need or want this level of support. Some have more experience with long-running projects and explain what expectations they have for communication.
Making long-term projects more manageable for clients
By following some helpful practices, you can make your project more manageable for clients with no project experience. Take a moment to consider possible sources of stress during a project and develop a plan to provide checkpoints that reassure clients and allow them to celebrate big milestones.
Use what you know to facilitate your next project with your next big client.