Those interior design professionals who focus and follow through on the most ambitious goals often reap the biggest rewards. Designers can convert their goals into reality and achieve outstanding outcomes by following these guidelines for the year ahead:
1. Aim high
The greatest success often comes to those who think the biggest.
That means pursuing higher-end residential prospects in more affluent neighborhoods and communities, and bidding on larger-scale commercial projects. It means pursuing bigger and better projects, and proposing larger scale deals.
It means seeking more referrals and promoting your design firm through more social media channels, and in more high-profile publications. It means networking with and speaking to more prestigious groups, and aligning yourself with more established allied professionals.
2. Make a big splash for little cash
You can make a maximum marketing impact for a minimal investment of time and money. How? By taking advantage of free publicity, the best advertising that design professionals can’t buy.
Offering yourself as a resource to design industry bloggers, local home and garden editors, publishers of shelter publications and others will enable you to get quoted and promoted in the media. Presenting programs at conferences of building managers or at home and garden shows can generate substantial business. So can strategic networking.
When it comes to social media marketing, little steps can have a big impact. Starting a LinkedIn conversation, writing a Facebook post about a new client, posting a YouTube video, updating and promoting your new Houzz profile can create “buzz” and business.
3. Sell consistently and persistently
Make 10 business-building contacts every weekday, every week.
That involves smiling and dialing, contacting your contacts, working your network, talking to and texting and touching ten people. And reaching out to old clients with information about your new design services or product lines.
It involves reaching out to everyone and anyone who somehow, in some way, can help you build your business today. And it involves getting in front of — and selling to — customers wherever and whenever you can. The average salesperson spends only 20 percent of his or her time selling.
You’ll send lots of emails and texts, and leave lots of phone messages, and, on some days, receive few replies. And get ready for rejection: You’ll get plenty of that. You’ll get to know “No.”
Making 10 daily contacts can be wearing, but it works. This single strategy will absolutely, positively, inevitably increase your sales in 2016.
4. View price objections as opportunities
Prospects have to be at least somewhat interested in your furniture, fabrics, and accessories to even ask about their price. That’s why price objections are buying signals, and your chances of closing a deal are at least 30 percent higher when some price resistance is raised.
Then, too, objections provide opportunities to differentiate yourself from less expensive competitors. Remind prospects that they get you as well as your design services, and you’re special because of your experience, the wide variety of clients you serve, the awards and acclaim you’ve earned, etc.
Finally, treat objections as a helpful pricing gauge. One theory is that you are charging too little if you don’t face price objections at least once every five times.
5. Focus on the future
Interior design professionals, like billiards players, should always set up their next shot. It’s not enough to simply advise prospects on what to do now — like call me, check out my portfolio, download this, buy that, etc.
You should also advise them about what to do next: remodel the kitchen, perhaps, or add furniture for the vacation home, or redesign the regional offices. It’s a good idea to discuss Phase II before you’ve started Phase I.
Look to the future in your prospecting as well. Convert contacts into contracts by asking questions, pinpointing pain, and offering your design services as the remedy. Maximize each relationship through up-selling, cross-selling, and add-on selling.
Success happens on purpose, not by accident. Be purposeful about your interior design business and career by following these guidelines, and those outstanding outcomes will be easier to come by than you might expect.
About the Author
Fred Berns speaks to, coaches and writes promotional copy for interior design professionals worldwide. For information about his services and products, visit InteriorDesignBusiness.net or contact him at Fred@FredBerns.com or 303-589-3013.