In only 3 months, you can lose as many customers as you can, guaranteed…
Generally, in our activity, architecture and construction, there are several highly creative ways to lose a client, or many, a business or even credibility.
We always walk on a thin tightrope like a juggler, I have personally always preferred to dance to the rhythm of Swan Lake, with tutu and all set!
You will never know if you lose the business first or the customer first, I think Both happen at the same time, and in the best Tchaikovsky style, right on the main scene!
Clients are lost for obvious issues, such as an amusement park level execution, a tasteless or very bitter project, or simply never-ending intellectual disagreements.
But they are also lost in not so obvious aspects, such as trust, faith and interest, and just Like a love story, it ends, and we are left empty, just waiting for the final scene, so that the movie ends quickly.
Life has taken me to many places in this country and allowed to meet many people, to understand that sales are not just about money and projects, but it is an exchange of value and a service, and, although this has gone out of style – construction engineering – I still have the conviction that we can all do it not only better, but systematically.
Saying YES when we really want to say NO commits us to do things we do not want or cannot do, and this generates an atomic deformity in the business relationship. I am here, but I am absent, ( I am here but I am not ! ) and it is easy to discover it when we do not answer the phone, messages or e-mails; yes, I am the owner of my time and agenda, but also of a running business (company or organization) and, therefore, I must allow an efficient communication with customers. Therefore, let us be honest with ourselves, as honesty saves a lot of time.
Wanting many projects and not being capable of receiving them, not only in matters of education and knowledge, but in the simple practice of watching, recognizing and adjusting the sails; ambition without a vision is not enough. The ship does not sink because of storms or big waves, but because of the small holes inside the hull.
Ahorita: in Costa Rica that word means many things, and at the same time it means nothing. I believe that working with an agenda and a plan is much better; working by inspiration and senses is entertaining, but not so much at the end, when you have to unnecessarily work more than needed, as this is reflected in budget or costs. Hence, does Ahorita = costs ?
Quoting numbers in the air can be extremely comfortable, and appropriate for making a sale; only the experts of experts do it. But this is like cross yourself before entering a soccer game, God is not paying attention to winners or losers. Therefore, mathematics, science and statistics, gentlemen, is a profession, a commercial activity; let us use a little abacuses and calculators (old school) and know that we are not gladiators in an arena, we must not enter to kill, It is what it is.
Those little details, which normally are not written down nor scheduled or executed, are like the details that we have failed to give to our partner on Valentine’s Day, on their birthday or on the famous anniversary. They gradually degrade the relationship and everything becomes colder and meaningless. In my case, I keep an agenda, which seems more like a poetry book than something to work with, because in the end, it is those emotions that manage us, guide us and inspire us to keep moving.
Friendship and Relationship. Although not all of us are psychologists, we must discern between a sincere friendship and a business relationship. For both scenarios can fall victims to misguided trust. In this case, defining the limits and defining what is most convenient is especially important for the destiny of an organization. For example, I would not build my friend´s house nor would
I design my partner’s home, in order to avoid problems, and I am happier.
Negociaciones de polaco, In Costa Rica, Pagos de polaco, means to chop the numbers to infinity (break the budget), or to have a payable account active (risk money control). If we fall into this practice, we will spend more time in senseless matters rather than focusing on the objective, which is the project. It would be like going to a dentist and telling him he will be paid for each tooth that he pulls out on the spot. Believe me, if so, he will not use enough anesthesia and will not be very gentle with the pliers. I trust that both, professionals or commercial organizations are as equal professional as the customers who contact us, and thus, all at the same level. We can firmly shake hands.
Pasarse la bola, In Costa Rica, this is the name given to organizations that are remarkably busy and usually pass the case of a client between departments, until it disappears, gets lost into oblivion or remains in limbo. In the end, the information that reaches the person doing the work is corrupted, distorted and we usually do not notice it until the client looks at us attentively with a subtle smile on their face. Customer service is fundamental in any business we undertake, and to avoid falling into the famous «chatbots», that is only for millennials.
Creating products or services just to feed my portfolio, in the case of architecture, is a big Ahhhh…! Our designs are not to figure in a portfolio and to win a Pritzker Prize, nor are we interested in using them as golden idols with horns against the competition. In reality, our service should be directed to the client and their needs. Environmental issues, why not? Without overdoing an eco-friendly cult, with an ideal economic responsibility, big YES, without sacrificing beauty, and comfort, absolutely, balance is enough. No more. No less.
Finally I believe that the projects, products and services that we offer to our clients must go through 3 filters daily: devotion, focus, and planning, because all those minutes gone by will not come back, and time is our best judgement. Our character is more important than our career. That is the great secret that I have learned from grand master builders and masons, as well as from my honorable competition, whom I admire very much. Thank you very much