Are you constantly waiting on clients to make selection decisions so that you can finalise a quote or sign a contract?
Couples rarely agree on every item that needs to be documented in order for a project to be priced…
Which leads to delays that affect your cash flow and also have a dramatic effect on your profitability.
The biggest problem builders face with trying to get a couple to make a decision isn't that they don’t agree, it is simply because men and women follow two very different decision making processes.
The builder that understands this can speed up the entire selections process and avoid getting involved in a marital dispute!
The effect of delays at any stage of the build process for residential builders should not be underestimated.
Analysts from the Association of Professional Builders have identified ‘client decision making delays’ as the single biggest contributor to margin erosion for residential home builders.
Think about it, how many times have you signed a contract at a reasonable margin only to see it eaten up by your monthly expenses?
In 67% of cases, construction lag time can be directly attributed to the client not making decisions on time, resulting in cascading delays that reduce monthly revenue which significantly erodes net profit.
Builders that understand this place a far greater emphasis on not only getting selection decisions prior to contract signing, but also capturing those decisions within a strict timeline to ensure that a consistent stream of new work is always flowing through the business.
Couples need to be able to make decisions together, especially when they are making one of the largest investments they are ever likely to make in their life.
The problem is, male plus female, plus a decision to be made invites a high potential for arguments...
That's often because each gender tends to short-change a different vital decision-making step.
The Difference Between Men and Women
Men rush for the finish line.
Women explore, communicating about various underlying concerns. And therein lies the key.
This observation goes beyond simple stereotyping and has been well documented in various research experiments.
Deborah Tannen first catalogued a study in her book You Just Don't Understand. In a later book which looked at male-female differences in the business world she repeated her conclusions, "that often women want to talk about problems and get annoyed with men who want to solve them."
By contrast, "men ... tend to take complaints as requests for solutions."
When it comes to shared decision-making, men tend to rush too quickly to the finish line.
Where as women tend to dwell too long on exploring all the various aspects of the problem, moving too slowly toward a plan of action.
Each is at risk for impatience with the other, something that was experienced first hand by a custom home builder in Melbourne, Australia.
Meet Joe & Amy
When Joe and Amy wanted to build their dream home, they were unknowingly setting themselves up for trouble.
That was simply because Joe is male, and Amy female.
"When do you want to go through this?" Amy asked Joe.
"Let's do it now." Joe said with enthusiasm.
Amy responded, "No...it's too complicated now while the kids are here with us downstairs. I'd rather wait until they're up in their rooms doing homework."
"Why did you ask me if you're not going to do what I suggest?" Joe said, clearly annoyed.
Here's the deal.
When women face a decision, they tend to begin by collecting data.
They do this by asking for others' thoughts on a question.
When men hear these questions, they think they are being asked for a plan of action.
This happens because when men address a problem, they tend to head straight for the finish line. (Which seems totally logical to me!)
They view success as finding a solution...ASAP!
When women address a problem they tend to lean towards excessive data collection.
They first explore the territory before being ready to choose an answer.
And therein lies the problem.
So you may be thinking, “that all sounds pretty straight forward, but no way am I getting in the middle of a domestic dispute!
And even if I wanted to, I’ve no idea how to get around this problem…”
Well, this is the easy part because instead of getting in the middle, you simply need to act as a guide for the couple.
By understanding why the conflict is occurring, you can gently nurture the conversation towards a positive outcome.
Start by encouraging the female to speak openly on all of her thoughts regarding each selection item.
Remember, the male will intuitively move towards the solution (i.e. decision) as soon as it becomes the obvious choice. However, the female will need to verbalise all of the options along with the cost implications before feeling comfortable enough to make a decision.
Underlying concerns don’t always surface right away and if the female is not allowed to fully express all of her thoughts, allowing the male to rush towards a decision, then this will typically result in a deadlock.
Invariably these concerns will ultimately involve financial considerations which either side may not be fully aware of.
However, once the female has talked about the options along with the pros and cons, then it’s important to steer the conversation towards a decision.
There is nothing worse for a male than spending a tonne of time talking about a topic without getting started on a plan of action. So ensure decisions are agreed and documented as you progress through the selections process.
To be sure the time is right to move towards a decision, try using a simple prompt, "Are there any other thoughts or ideas you have regarding the spa bath?"
This important step can coax out any last remaining concerns that could stop the female moving towards a decision, so it should not be underestimated.
Men love to generate solutions.
Women enjoy sharing the exploration of relevant concerns.
The good news though, is that men can also explore underlying concerns and women can also create solutions. It's just that each tends to be more comfortable, and does more of one than the other.
So when you remain in control and follow a process, everyone gets the outcome they want...including you the builder.
The beauty of this solution is that it’s so simple to implement, so long as you are in control of the sales process.
Which means if you use this tactic while following your own sales process with each client, you’ll be able to speed up your sales cycle and get clients to contract faster, which will not only improve cash flow, it will also increase profitability through the build process.
If you don’t already have a sales process, you can download the New Sales Sequence that is being used by Professional Builders around the world.
When you have the New Sales Sequence for Builders you will have the blueprint for taking every new lead from enquiry to contract in the least amount of time.
Everything you need to know is included in this free download so you can reduce your sales cycle and avoid the delays that are costing you money!