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I was given a brown box as a gift by some very dear friends on my birthday years ago. They were all smiling and  those standing around seemed to know what was in the box; except me.  I do enjoy opening presents especially when I have no idea what they might contain. However, when I lifted the flap of the box out jumped this hissing and very unhappy black cat.

What’s Really In the Box?

Of course, I got the fright of my life and everyone else thought that this was very funny; except me again! Well, just in case you are starting to feel sorry for the cat and wondering what happened – we became the best of friends. The initial meeting wasn’t that great but with some kindness and patience we became very attached to each other.

What is really going on?

I find that the first contact with a new business may not feel all that good but with some kindness, perseverance and wisdom a genuine friendship can emerge. Opening up the box and discovering what is on the inside.

Have you heard people say on the phone or in a store,  “Bear with me!” or “Is there anything else I can help you with?” These sayings have become so common place that they have lost their power and we get back to our original question, “What is really in the box?”   This does take time to discover.

If business is all about relationships and genuine relationships build trust then the  result will be work opportunities. Good relationships take time to cultivate.

Where do we start?

How does a contractor build a relationship of trust on the phone?

1.  Research your new contact – Get their details including what they do and who they currently do it with. Ask yourself if your company is a good fit with theirs.

2.  Call the person – be friendly, open, honest. Listen to what they have to say about the type of builder they will do business with. They will often be caught off guard if you ask them what criteria they use to appoint a contractor for a tender opportunity. Say thank you often and without over doing it confirm you will get a letter or email to them within a couple of days.

Send your letter or email and underline the content of your conversation with a commitment to call back at the agreed time.

3.  Call back – Always try to move the relationship forward. Confirm that they received your details. Chat through projects that would be similar to the type they put out. If there is a synergy over the phone try and schedule a face to face meeting.

4.  What to do with your enquiry – price it of course! Return the tender enquiry on time and then follow up with a call a few days later to confirm receipt and ask how you got on. Even if you were unsuccessful with this one ask about others in the pipeline. It is very simple but too many contractors complain that they have heard nothing from the architect or main contractor. Building relationships, good ones that is will take time to develop but worth it in the longer term.

What is really in the box? Discovering what is in the box is really good for you  and your business. Ask yourself, am I really striving to ensure I build good working relationships with architects, surveyors and work providers or am I just going through the motions? Only you can answer that one.

See you soon…

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