I am not fond of receiving cold calls. Any business owner can tell you how time consuming and sometimes frustrating they can be. No, we don’t need another health insurance quote. Or magazine subscription. Or electricity provider. However, a recent call from a contractor has warmed me up to the idea.
He called our office looking for an architect to draw a set of plans for a small residential remodeling project so he could obtain a permit. Without offering any detail, he asked, “Is this something that you do?”
“Well, I don’t know,” I replied. “Tell me more.”
That simple reply caught the contractor off guard. He explained that he had called several other architects prior to reaching out to us and within 30 seconds, each one had told him they were not interested. So he was actually surprised when I invited him to tell me more about he needed. I didn’t know if we’d be able to help him, but I did know we could always refer him to someone we knew who could.
If I have learned anything during the last few years, it’s that the first question is never really the one the client or the contractor wants answered. It’s purely an icebreaker to start a conversation.
“Tell me more.”
Had the other architects asked, they would have heard the part of the story that would have caught their attention. The contractor had not just one remodeling project within the house. He had several more he would be doing after this project was complete. Then the contractor asked if we also did commercial projects as he had a project for which he might be able to use our services.
As an architect, one of my jobs is to ask for more information and explore the problem that really needs to be solved. That first question is often not the only question. Only by going beneath the surface to find out what challenges the client (or contractor) is facing do we really understand what is needed and how we may help.
Why not give it a try? Bring your remodel, addition, or new build challenge to HPD Architecture, and chances are you will hear those three magic words: “Tell me more.”