Your first dealings with a potential customer is likely to start with a phone call. Maybe even an email. But a telephone remains the primary business communication tool for most businesses.
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The first thing is to ensure that you are a reachable to take the call when it comes. Which makes it kind of a necessity that you use a mobile phone or at least an answering machine. A mobile phone for your business is a better idea as many people will not leave a message on your answering machine when they are calling for the first time especially if they have some one else they can call to do the job.
Your phone number and email will be a part of all advertising and networking you do including handing out business cards. Try to get a meeting with the client to discuss the work in more detail. You can go over to meet them or set an appointment for them to come and see you.
In your meetings, always be polite and patient. Your client may not know as much about woodworking as you do. Do not be rude, sarcastic or condescending. This is the most basic and obvious way to deal with your potential customer.
Listen attentively to what they need. If it is a small job you can provide an estimate then and there. If it is an extensive job it is a good idea to go back to your drawing board and draw out the project as you have understood it from the client.
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Always take notes when the client is describing his requirements of the woodworking project. Take the drawing back the next day or the day after that. If the client agrees you can even email this scan of the drawings to them. However, it is a better idea to go meet them in person because the second meeting helps you close the deal.
Go over the woodworking plan carefully with the client. Take down additions and changes that they suggest if any. If they like the woodworking plan you have made for them you can present them with the cost estimate and the timeframe for finishing the job.
Your entire dealing with the client is about making them your repeat customers and happy referrals. Many people you work with will give you multiple jobs over time. There will also be your best source of referral to many more jobs.
Your communication does not end at the time that you get the project approved and start working on it. Keep in touch when the client throughout. You can easily keep them in the loop of things and the progress that you are making. I assure you your clients will appreciate.
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