A few days ago, I posted about the 2 hour consultation I had with a couple who were a new referral to me. I did not have a good feeling about what the outcome of this consultation would be. I sensed a lot of conflict between the husband and wife over what work, if any, should be done in their home. The husband had actually contacted me by phone 3 different times before we met, very excited to set up a consult. The wife works full time, while the husband is retired, so he was the one spearheading a makeover for their home.
Yesterday, the husband called me and apologized for not getting back to me sooner. He explained that he had no idea what was involved in doing the various finishes they had selected for their rooms until he read through my proposal. Now, because this couple was a referral from a neighbor and their condo is located in a development where I have done several units, I made the assumption that they had actually seen my work in their friend’s unit and discussed the process and cost. Maybe that was an incorrect assumption, but that is what has been the norm when I’ve done other units here. The homeowners in this 55+ community, have seen their friends units and know a ballpark price. This was not the case here. This couple had only spoke on the phone to their neighbor who just told them what I had done in her unit and gave them my contact information.
When the husband called me, I was happy that he was acknowledging and thanking me for the time and effort I had already expended. As I said, a "thank you for your time" goes a long way with me. I had priced out their quote, room by room, as I always do. This way, there is the option to pick and choose which areas will be done and not the feeling that it all needs to be done at once. I do, however, offer a discount if multiple rooms are done at the same time. It is just more cost effective. On the phone, I pointed this out, and suggested they come up with a budget, a priority list of rooms, and contact me again if they would like to further discuss possibilities that would fit into their budget. Here is where I had a choice. I could easily file their folder away as an uninterested client or I could see if another approach would win them over. I decided to go with the latter, and expend just a little more time on this couple. My thinking is, here is a client who is interested in doing something to their home, since they were the ones who initially contacted me, but obviously have a budget they want to work within. Since they are not divulging this number to me, and I am not a mind reader, I will just assume the high end finishes they originally selected are out of line with their budget.
The bulk of the work was already done for me in the first proposal, so all I had to do was plug in some less costly versions of the finishes originally proposed. In the new cover letter, I explained the difference in labor and material costs.
In my earlier post I wrote:
"I first either email or phone in the quote, put a hard copy in the mail, and then follow up with a phone call a week later. If I get no response, or a negative response, then after I enter their contact info into my data base, they are filed away. " Now I feel I have given this my best shot. Btw… this is not an inexpensive housing development. It is on the higher end of luxury 55+ townhouse/condo developments. I, myself, could not afford to buy into this development.