Thursday, March 31, 2011

Setting Expectations !

I was sitting one day a few years back and preparing for my new soccer season coaching my first travel team (this was 7 years ago!).  I had all the drills ready, watched all the coaching videos, called on others and asked for advise, had my whole plan ready, I was ready to go!  Since I was a newbie to coaching, I wanted to make sure everyone was prepared for my style of coaching, so I wrote up a one page contract for the players and parents.  It explained my expectations of the parents and players and also showed what they should expect from me, we would both sign and everyone knew they needed to uphold the contact or there would be consequences.  It worked like a charm, I didn't have parents yelling instruction from the sidelines, everyone was on time for practices and games, the kids were respectful, and I made sure it was fun and fair!  So every year from there on my parents and players would expect to see this from me and enjoyed the relief of not having to assume anything but know exactly how things would work!

In our industry we all have good intentions of following through and doing what we set out to do from the initial contract signing, but some where because things happen in construction the expectation we set up from the beginning gets lost and we forget that the homeowner is still expecting this and we don't communicate and set new expectations up to keep them feeling good about the process.

Some things I like to do:
  • At the beginning of the project above the contract, send a one page "what to expect now" sheet, pointing out what they should be expecting from us and what we expect of them
  • Have a daily log for your Project Manager to leave with the homeowner telling what they have done and what can be expected the following day. We sign and they sign ! 
  • Call through out the conversation and keep "taking their temperature" to be sure they are feeling all "warm and fuzzy" still about the project!

Once I learned this and applied it to all aspects of my life it changed everything, from my personal life to my professional career. 

The more communication we have whether big or small is so valuable during the process and will set us apart from everyone else, you will be remembered and homeowners will be talking about you !

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


As a mother of three children I see every day how different they are.  Frustrating (is an understatement) as it may be to understand them, I have learned through studying the Enneagram how to deal with them a little bit better! 

How does this relate to Remodeling? 

After studying the Enneagram for several years I have applied it to my first initial call to the homeowner in my 30 to 40 minute interview.  When you understand to ask the right questions you can begin to understand what personality type you will be encountering on your first sales call.  This is invaluable information for your sales staff when they come to the home, knowing your sales personality and the homeowner’s personality will help to understand how the sales process is going to go with the homeowner.

See What Personality you are....its a great way to get started.  You have to understand who you are first in order to understand anyone else!

When I began this process I baffled trainer asked me what my birth order was, I replied "well I'm the first born and the middle child!"  Once you take the test and study the Enneagram you'll understand why I was a hard case to study!!

Learn who you are talking to so you can set yourself apart from the rest and make your clients feel comfortable because you understand them!

If you want more information please contact me at ...its always fun to meet new personalities!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Personal Attention!

I was remembering recently and talking to my teenager about when I started driving, as she will be soon, and the old service center where I would go to get gas came to mind.

I would pull up to the station and the attendant (Mr. Cooper) would come out and say hello, know me by name, asked about my family and then while filling my tank for me ( because I live in the great state of NJ where we don't pump our own gas!) he would have me pop the hood and check my oil.   Its been over 25 years since I started driving and I still remember this customer service!

So I was wondering if any of my clients remember the service given to them with a smile as I do now thinking about just filling up my gas tank!

In our industry of remodeling it is so important to put this kind of personal attention out there so that you are remembered over all the others out there.  Taking the time to really understand the needs of the client and to get to the core issues of why they want and need in this project will set you apart from everyone else.

There were many years I spent just going into a potential clients home and only talking about the project, bringing my "tool belt" in and never connecting with the client, only to not close many sales and it left me wondering why.  The day I decided to leave everything in the car and go out on my first appointment with a different kind of "tool belt" was the day I began closing more deals. I would go into the home and not even ask about the project first, I was relaxed, sat at the kitchen table with them and asked open ended questions to allow them to tell me all the reasons why this project was to be done.  Many laughs and good conversations later we would then head to the project area and begin applying what they had told me to the area needing to be done.  It was all very relaxed and when I left my clients felt like they had made a new friend as well as found the right fit for them, all because I gave them the personal attention they needed.

In the end I'm sure you all can remember one person who gave you this personal attention as I do from 25 years ago, take that and make sure all your clients feel the same way, not only will they remember you but they will be sure to tell everyone else about you!

“….Coleen, It has been a delight to this point dealing with you. You have been polite, professional and a pleasure to speak with……You have renewed my enthusiasm in this project.  You captured our conversation quite thoroughly!.....”   Sincerely, Theresa
Performance Review Excerpt, Homeowner

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Greatest Business Influence

I was asked a question once on an interview, “Who was your greatest business influence, Coleen?”  keep in and I've been working in the Design/Build business for several years and have met many wonderful, influential people, but I paused for only a second and my answer was “My Mom and Dad!” 

In all my time as an adult (a good 23 years) working, I have jumped from job to job to further my career, never having any one company value a good employee just worried about themselves or when you made too much  how could they get the same for less. (And they always do!) I thought through all of this how my Father has been with the same company for at least 40 years and my Mother was a dedicated Mother, coach, wife, aunt, daughter, cook, I could go on and on for 20 years (I’m pretty sure she hasn't stopped being any of them with any of us!) and after and through all of that worked for 25 years in our school system. Both my parents went back to college through all of this and earned their degrees.  They never missed a day of work, never complained, were dedicated and loyal and stuck it out though even the very hard scary times they encountered while working at these places.  I don’t know any person in my age group that can say that, or be even remotely close to that.  

My Mother will be retiring this year from my high school after 25 years, and my Father (we joke will never retire) is planning his exit soon too.  They have taught me more in just what they did then they ever could have told me.  I bring my Father’s dedication and drive to every job and my Mother’s wit and charm!  

So back to my interview….”who was your greatest business influence, Coleen?”  I simply replied “my Mom & Dad, there is no greater influence on a child than a parent and I have two very amazing parents!”

Thanks Mom and Dad

Your loving daughter, Coleen

p.s. they loved my answer, offered me the job but I turned it down….just in case you were wondering!