It's better to overdress than to underdress. Why do so many builders and remodelers feel like they should dress like the workers who build their homes? I guess if I spent the day framing houses and came straight from the job site, then blue jeans and a flannel shirt would be fine. But I spend my time in and out of the office, sometimes on a work site, but always ready to meet a client (or prospective client) in the supermarket, our office or any of the countless places we happen to run into each other.
Naturally, I have another embarrassing example to prove my point: Many years ago my partner and I went to a conference in Washington, D.C. where we were to receive our first national award. We arrived the evening before the conference began so we could enjoy the casual cocktail hour that served as the kick-off.
My partner’s years in the business world prepared him to dress appropriately. My years in college didn’t. As we got off the elevator, which opened up to directly to the event, I remember hearing someone in the crowd of suits, ties and sport coats exclaim, “Looks like another one from Texas” as I quickly jabbed the down button to escape in my blue jeans as fast as I could.
ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). You don’t allow them on your job site, so don’t bring them with you on a sales call. Now, while I’ve never seen a contractor packing a pistol or drinking a beer on a sales call, I have seen way too many of them toss their cigarette butts on the curb, sidewalk or driveway when getting out of their trucks (and I have seen my share of empty beer cans in truck beds).
We can do better than this! Have you heard of the modified “New York Times Rule?” Don’t do something during a sales call you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The New York Times.
At the end of the day, imagine having a daughter and what it’s like just before her first date. She’s nervously waiting with you in the kitchen for her date to arrive and the doorbell to ring.
You, on the other hand, are ready to pounce on the prospective beau, to question him mercilessly, threaten him if necessary and inspect his car and clothing. You’ll warn him about drinking while trying to smell if he’s been smoking. In other words, you’re ready to turn this chap inside out in order to make sure your daughter comes home safe.
Well, when selling your building services, consider yourself that chap walking up to the front door. You had better be prepared to pass the same type of scrutiny. After all, people are about to trust you with their homes and money.
Michael Strong, CGR, is vice president of Brothers Strong, Inc. in Houston. The company was voted as the 2003 Houston and Texas Remodeler of the Year. For more information, contact Strong via e-mail.
Nominate the Best of the Best for Remodelor™ of the Year
Applications for the Remodelors™ Council’s most prestigious awards program, the Remodelor™ of the Year Award, are now available online at www.nahb.org/remodelors under the Awards section.
The Remodelor™ of the Year Award recognizes exemplary NAHB involvement at any level, superior business management and an outstanding contribution to the remodeling industry. Councils should nominate individual remodelers, but the nominee must write his or her own entry essay.
The winner will be announced at the Remodelors™ Council Gala during the 2004 Remodeling Show in Chicago (Oct. 8).
Local Councils Honored With CADRE Awards
The Council Awards for Demonstrating Remodeling Excellence (CADRE) is awarded to local Remodelors™ Councils for superior member service in the categories of:
- Membership Recruitment & Retention
- Community Service Project
- Public Relations & Promotion
- Outstanding Associate Member
- Member Service/Education
- Government Affairs/Legislation
- Outstanding Council Chair
- Outstanding Executive Officer/Council Coordinator
For information, e-mail the Remodelors™ Council or call 800-368-5242 x8216.
Who Will Be Inducted to National Remodeling Hall of Fame?
The Remodelors™ Council is searching for the best of the best for induction into America’s Best National Remodeling Hall of Fame. This award honors those individuals who have made a significant and lasting impact on the remodeling industry on a state or national basis.
Induction into America’s Best National Remodeling Hall of Fame is open to individuals in any public or private sector entity or institution. Areas of contribution may include industry image, governmental affairs, education, business management or any other effort that has helped advance the remodeling profession. Please nominate individuals who have made a positive impact on the remodeling industry. Self nominations are not permitted.
Completed applications must be received by Monday, July 12. The induction ceremony will take place at the Remodelors™ Council Gala during the 2004 Remodeling Show in Chicago (Oct. 8).
Click here to download an application or contact Barbara Drobins at 800-368-5242 x8217 for more information.
University of Housing Offers Courses on Customer Service and Business Management
The NAHB University of Housing offers a “Sales & Marketing for Remodelers” course. To search for current offerings of this course, click here. The NAHB University of Housing also offers courses on business management and customer service designed to help builders and remodelers improve their business and profitability. To search for current offerings, click here.