The Difference Between Talking AT Customers…And Talking WITH Them

September 15, 2021

We Understand This Subtle But CRITICAL Difference In Outlook And Attitude

When you’re talking, it’s difficult to gauge how tuned in you are to your listener. You’re too busy talking.

But your listener has NO trouble figuring out in a split second if you actually care about what they have to say.

Talking ‘at’ customers usually comes about because of a ‘Me vs. Them’ attitude. You’re the contractor, you know what you’re saying, you know what needs to be done, and the customer should shut up and nod while you tell THEM how this project will happen.

You might not verbalize this to yourself or acknowledge that you feel similarly – but this is the patronizing outlook that is a direct result of viewing yourself as superior in some way to the customer. And this can only lead to talking ‘at’ the customer, instead of viewing them as an equal.

So, how can you know if you fall into this trap?

This is our rule of thumb and what we tell our employees: If you’re thinking of the next thing you’re going to say, you’re NOT thinking about what the customer is saying right then.

It’s pretty simple. Human beings are really only capable of entertaining one train of thought in their minds at any given time. So, do the math – if we’re thinking of how and what to say next, how on earth are we supposed to be absorbing what the customer is telling us?

The ‘Talked At’ Test – You Finish A Conversation With Your Contractor. You Feel:

  • Confused: Your contractor just said a whole bunch of things very quickly and you’re not sure you get what’s going on here…
  • Anxious: There seems to be an overwhelming amount of things that need to be done, and you don’t feel confident that your contractor will successfully take care of everything.
  • Stupid: You have so many questions but your contractor brushes them off because they’re unimportant and a result of your total ignorance of the remodeling industry.
  • Unheard: You’ve had to repeat yourself many times, and it still feels like your contractor didn’t hear a single word you said.
  • Misunderstood: You’re mainly concerned about durability and product quality, and you’re prepared to spend as much as you need to in order to have what you want, but your remodeling contractor keeps going on about pricing details, cheapest materials, and how to cut down on cost.

If you checked off any of these boxes, you might be dealing with someone with a ‘Me vs. Them’ attitude who is more interested in the sound of their own voice than what YOU think or feel.

This Is OUR Checklist For Every Conversation We Have With Our Clients. Does The Client Feel:

  • Understood: We get them. We understand what’s important to them, what they want to do with their space, and what kind of aesthetic they’re going for.
  • Confident: They trust that we’ll do our best to make sure every part of their remodeling project runs smoothly.
  • Hopeful: They are looking forward to seeing what we can do for them and they are eager to enhance their surroundings.
  • Calm: There’s a lot to be done, but they know they are incapable hands and even if something unexpected comes up, we have all the tools and resources to deal with it.
  • Heard: They feel like we get that this remodeling project is all about THEM and we care about what THEY have to say and how THEY feel.
  • Clear: They have a clear understanding of every step of the remodeling process. They know how often we will be in touch with them, and they know exactly how the pricing works and how long the project will take.

The more boxes we can check off, the better we’re doing in the communication department. Our goal is to ALWAYS be able to check off every single box.

Experience This For Yourself

If a remodeling contractor who respects you enough to listen to you and talk to you like a person seems far-fetched to you, we invite you to see for yourself how we do things.