Trust Takes Time – Don’t Rush the Sale

August 29, 2022

I get it. You are excited to get the sale closed. Demand is making most designers crazy busy, and the projects are beginning to pile up and get overwhelming. The last thing you need is a client who decides to go elsewhere because things are just taking too long.

It can be very easy right now to try to move through your appointments and walk-ins quickly so you can squeeze in all the work you have. Don’t let this atmosphere take over so that you end up skipping some all-important steps.

When airline flights get delayed, everyone – including the airline – is anxious to get to the next destination. Do you think for one minute that the pilot and co-pilot are going to skip a step in the pre-flight checklist? I certainly hope not. There are certain very important checks that need to be confirmed prior to take-off.

Now, I realize that when you are designing a kitchen or bath project for a client that lives are not at stake, nor is there a federal agency that regulates your industry. However, you still need to be sure to cover all the necessary steps. You usually only need to answer to yourself, but in the end, you will have to answer to your client when something happens that you did not discuss with them or that you failed to mention.

Yes, it is impossible to prepare your client for every scenario, but it would be really horrible if, for example, you neglected to review the expectations for the veining in the granite your client selected or what to expect from a certain wood species or stain for their cabinetry.

There is another important reason not to rush through the steps to the sale, especially in the earlier stages. Your prospect or client needs to feel that they trust you before they are comfortable purchasing the project and signing a contract. Nurturing this kind of trust takes time.

For your client to feel that you are trustworthy, they need to experience this. Trust is developed by what you do, not just by what you say. Your trustworthiness can only be proven over time by doing things such as:
– Following up with your client routinely
– Confirming appointments 48 hours in advance
– Doing what you said you would do
– Providing them project insights via email or phone

You will not be able to foster a trustworthy relationship overnight. Think about the last time you shopped for anything relatively expensive and what the salesperson did to earn your trust or, for that matter, destroy your trust. I am willing to bet that whatever this was, it compelled you to either continue with this person or to find another source to buy from. This did however probably take time after your first experience with them.

Without your client’s trust, your proposal will frequently be distilled down to dollars and cents in your client’s mind. If that is the case, you have just reduced yourself to a simple commodity, and you have shown your client that your insight and experience are of little to no value.

It is your experience and insight that only comes with experience that you are charging for, and that is a non-commodifiable benefit that is worth something. With your client’s trust, combined with your insights, you can charge the appropriate amount for your design services without your client questioning the cost. Therefore it is so great to work with referrals and repeat clients. These clients either already trust you from a previous experience or have been told by a friend that you are trustworthy.

This year, nearly everyone is at their limits of being busy, but there is a process for a kitchen or bath remodel that takes time and patience. Regardless of how busy you are, you may need to occasionally pump the brakes a little on the process to ensure your client is getting the best of what you provide.

—By Duane Becker, founder of SaPré Training, which provides sales and presentation training for kitchen and bath professionals. A frequent speaker at KBIS’  Voices From the Industry, he is a veteran cabinet maker, kitchen designer and factory representative for a major cabinet company.