You wanna know how to sell yourself as an interior designer without feeling dirty, because when no one is buying, you’ve got a problem of epic proportions (and feeling dirty ain’t one of them).
There’s some really bad advice out there from “experts” on how you’re supposed to sell yourself as an interior designer. And if you’re following their lead on how to sell yourself as an interior designer, you’re probably not getting the results you’d like.
There are some people out there want you to believe that the reason you’re not getting closing the sale is because clients just don’t understand the cost of furniture, accessories, etc.
Clients aren’t dumbasses.
They are all too aware of how much things cost. They do go shopping. They do browse the internet. They don’t live in caves and think that a sofa costs $5 plus tax.
So the advice then goes on to say to educate them on what they don’t know about the cost. They don’t understand the cost of custom pieces.They don’t understand the cost of you allowing your wonderful contractors the opportunity to work for them. The cost of knowing where to find the good quality stuff.They don’t understand the cost of finding them the perfectly sized piece. They don’t understand the cost of time lost.
Why don’t we turn this around. Because more often than not I’m pretty sure clients get this part. They just don’t think you get them.
Too often designers don’t feel like they are valued or paid what they think they are worth. Do you think you’re really going to solve your client’s problem by sitting your clients down for an impromptu study hall sesh?
Forget the education, share the happy ending
You could spend all this time educating clients on every detail you must handle to try and show them why your rates are what they are. Sure, there are some clients who don’t understand everything a designer does or how a designer will be a big benefit to redoing their home. They usually just don’t care about the details which doesn’t mean they are clueless. They just want you to sell them on “the dream”.
Be more about your client’s needs and not your need to educate them
Clients would love nothing more than to find a designer who knows exactly what they are going through and has the perfect solution. This said solution, if presented correctly, is invaluable to the client. And it doesn’t involve teaching them about what 8-way hand-tied construction is. It’s about getting their weekends back or having a space that makes the neighbors jealous.
Lots of Designers Love To Be Know-It-Alls, Instead They Should Try To Be Friends
And I don’t mean you’re gonna be meeting up later at the bar to do some shots. No, no, no. I mean be the friendly designer that they would love to be friends with. Not the designer who wants to show them how much they don’t know and that’s why they aren’t buying from you.
I’d much rather buy from someone that I consider a friend than some person I can just tell wants the sale from me.
First Comes Caring, Then Comes Selling
You aren’t going to convince any client to buy from you if you educate them on the cost of everything. You will get a client to buy from you when you show them you know exactly where they are coming from and you are on their side.
For a client to buy from you, they need to trust you.
Example One: Oh Mrs. Jones I do know that the price of my design services seems really high, but let me tell you about the amount of time it will take me to find you just the ever so perfect blue sofa with the 8-way hand-tied construction made in Europe that will be hand made by little elves that wear purple booties. Plus, I can’t even begin to tell you that the craftsman I work with are the best of the best out there and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone else who could replicate their quality.
After saying this to Mrs. Jones she would have this squinty eye balled look and thinking you’re some type of sleazy designer. And that’s when you lost the sale and Mrs. Jones. She’s not going to listen to a damn thing now.
Example Two: So, Mrs Jones I know you’re concerned with the price and we will get to that. I cross my heart and kiss my elbow we will, but can I tell you this quick little story? I was working with this client over in Long Island. She was a gem! I mean she had worked with a designer before, but the previous designer really made a mess of things and she was gun-shy. She felt like she just was an open check book to her interior designer. The designer just left her out of the process which she thought was a blessing at first. After all she thought this chick was just going to handle it all and she didn’t have to watch her like a hawk. So, get this! She sent over these contractors at 7 in the morning on a Sunday to install this built-in. Well, let me tell you they weren’t happy. Besides the fact they couldn’t sleep in on their Sunday these contractors left a nice little mess, dust everywhere. The worst part? The built-in was designed completely wrong so they had to trash the entire thing, start over and you know who paid for that? She did. Have you ever worked with an interior designer like that, Mrs. Jones?
Mrs. Jones says she has and knows it sucks big ol’ donkey balls.
Totally! So, she and I really worked well putting together a room that she loved and actually her husband was really impressed with. And between you and me – you know how hard it is to impress the men folk, am I right? So we went at this entire process slowly at first because it was her first time working with me and I wanted to make sure she knew I was on her side. Every step of the way I let her know what I was working on and when I would need her input. After awhile she came to see that I was nothing like that other designer and our relationship just bloomed. Eventually she just let me run with the project and take care of it all so she didn’t have to worry about a thing. Now, she and her husband invite me over to their house for parties and I’m so happy to have worked with them and call them friends. I look at how she took a chance on me after having a bad experience before but when she saw how I worked with her she let go of the reigns, got her time back and enjoyed the design journey.