Tip 2. Cultivate trust with clear communication.
Trust is a common currency in successful business relationships, which is why Hofmann not only collaborates with other designers but also gains clients through repeat customers. “This is impactful, they’re typically returning with even larger or more complicated projects and they're also introducing us to their friends,” she says. One way she builds trust with clients and keeps them coming back is through open communication and honesty. “I try to be a good listener, and I try to help their project go smoothly, but I can never promise that a project is going to be 100% perfect,” she explains. “If we have all the lines of communication open, and yes, things will go wrong, we talk about them immediately with solutions and avoid pointing fingers or passing blame. As long as we're proactive and handle situations well as a team, we can expect repeat work in the future.” When you establish this level of trust with your clients, they come back to you for future projects, and they’re more likely to send referrals your way.
Hofmann also goes above and beyond for her clients by serving as a liaison for them through the construction part of a project. “When you're working with contractors, they're great at building, but they speak contractor. A good designer is there during weekly meetings to interpret construction terminology,” she explains. “The contractor says, ‘Oh, we need a GFCI.’ and starts throwing about other terminology and asks, ‘where do you want it?’. Homeowners need someone to say, ‘Okay, here's what this person is really asking, and here are our options with pros and cons for their decision.’” This kind of communication helps you, the construction team and your clients – everyone benefits. When your communication skills inspire trust, both contractors and clients want to work with you again as well as contact you with new leads.