Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DON'T LIE TO YOUR CUSTOMER

Sometimes we hesitate to tell our customers news they don't want to hear. We think they might not like us or they might not do business with us again. So we procrastinate and slide into avoidance mode. It's a mistake.



When you talk modular housing, there are two main customers.  The first is the new home buyer that is working with a modular home retailer (builder) and the other is the builder who buys from a modular home factory.  Let's take a quick look at who has an opportunity to lie during this process and maybe you'll see just how often it really does happen.

Going beyond the home buyer are two very large institutions that are likely to stretch the truth or maybe tell the home buyer a white lie.  Both of these institutions are motivated by money.  The first group is the real estate agent.  Sometimes the agent knows something about the land they are selling or its location that might not be quite what the buyer desired but they tell that little white lie and hope the buyer will overlook it once they own the land.  Mortgage bankers and brokers also are among the white lie people.  They really do want to help the buyer close on their mortgage but instead of being honest and upfront with the applicant, they try to sugarcoat things when the process slows down or stops completely.

Next is the home buyers themselves.  They tell the real estate agent, mortgage lender and their builder what they want and desire knowing they probably can't get everything but acting like the whole deal will fall apart if they don't.  All the builder wants is an honest answer to the questions that arise during the sales and construction process.  

Onto the builder that also wants to do the best they can for the home buyer.  But sometimes instead of just being honest about a delay or a cost adjustment, they tell white lies that tend to make the buyer sympathetic to the builder.  Too many of these little lies and the home buyer starts to question everything the builder does including the original costs.  If the builder gets bad news from a supplier, their factory or one of their subs, they should immediately try to work out a solution and then call the buyer with options and suggestions.  Home buyers are happy to hear the truth, knowing that the builder has worked on a solution before contacting them.

Modular Home factory owners, management and the sales people involved with completing the home and sending it to a builder really do try their best to deliver a perfect home.  Unfortunately there has never been a perfectly built home and problems always arise.  It's how the factory handles these problems that will set them apart from the crowd.  There is a lot of finger pointing at the factory level when something unforeseen happens and everyone wants to pass that buck.  But there should be none of that, instead when a problem arises that the sales rep can't or shouldn't correct, they must call their sales manager or factory owner and a decision must be made quickly.  The builder will appreciate it and hopefully the home buyer will never know that the train jumped the track.

In all of these instances, it is never right to lie to anyone in the chain to deliver a great house at a fair price.  You can take your time to frame the way to tell someone that there is a problem, but don't lie or stretch the truth.  It has a way of coming back to bite you in the butt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liar, liar, pants on fire. That's what I find when I work with most new home buyers. They lie about how much they have to spend, if they've been to a bank, when they can start and so much more that even thinking about it makes my head hurt.
I know they want to build a new home but if they aren't truthful with me, I would rather not even know they existed.