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Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

In a CEDIA Expo TechTalk, a panel discusses creating a solid relationship with design professionals.

One big happy professional family is the best method in ensuring one big happy client.

That was the theme of the “Building a Solid Business Relationship with Design Professionals” panel at TechTalks on Friday, moderated by Houzz’s Paige Ferrante and featuring Shane Durkin of Flagg Coastal Homes, Barco Residential’s Tim Sinnaeve, and Vitrea Smart Home Technology’s Amir Seluk.

Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities commonly faced amongst all angles of the CEDIA community—whether integrators, builders, designers, or manufacturers. Everyone agreed that communication is key, feedback is critical and an early-established relationship is paramount in delivering a satisfactory client experience. As each member brings different expertise to the table, all benefit by making real efforts to listen to one another.

Durkin sad that some of his most valuable interactions with integrators have come from “off-the-cuff” learnings via informal lunch meetings. “Most good design builders are genuinely passionate about what they do, but it’s so hard to escape the drag of everyday work and life and find those learning opportunities.”

Taking the time to lock up these important elements is also the best way to tackle what’s typically the biggest hurdle faced by all parties: budget.

“It doesn’t make sense to talk about budget if [for example] you don’t know this customer is a really passionate art collector,” said Sinnaeve. “It doesn’t make sense to discuss budget if you haven’t discussed value.”

Also crucial—establishing correct expectations from the get-go. Noted Seluk: “It’s very important from the first point to build the right expectations, so at the end of the project, everyone is very happy with the total solution.”