Interior Redesign can be a very touchy subject. Why? Because a complete stranger is walking into a strangers home and telling them that what they have been living with is old, outdated, and dirty and they need to either get rid of it, move it or clean it.
So how do you speak to your client without upsetting them and make them look like a STAR? There are many ways to achieve this. Think of how you would receive this kind of information first. How would you want someone to approach you?
First and foremost, your client is king or queen. Their home is their palace. Be as professional as possible at all times. Speak to them about your business and what you do. Tell them about your expertise and what you have been able to achieve with other clients. If you have a portfolio, bring it with you. Pictures speak louder than words. Let them skim through your portfolio and answer any questions that they may have.
Respect their feelings as well as their home. They will have questions, so take the time to explain in a patient manner. Unless you have been referred, the client may have some history on you. If you have not been referred take the time to ask questions of your client. Try to understand why they are selling, what they would like to see happen. Take notes. Yes, notes. When you are reviewing what you would like to do, refer back to the notes that you took so the client knows that you were listening.
Listen. Let you client speak. Let them get everything out of their system and on the table. Do not interrupt. You will have a chance to speak soon enough. Listening enables you to adjust to your clients way of thinking and therefore, your presentation can be catered more so to them.
Compliment. If you are dealing with a difficult home or a beautiful home, compliments can go a long, long way. If you don't know what to say, be simple in your statements. No need to say too much. You can say things such as: "You have a fabulous home!" Or "You live in a great neighborhood" or "We can do so much to bring out the great bones that this house has." Tell your clients that you are there to help them.
Consistent. Be consistent with what you say and do. Do not over-promise. If you say that you are going to do something, then make sure that you do it. If you cannot do what you say you are going to do, then explain why you can't. Clients just need to understand, so take the time to explain. There is nothing worse than telling someone something and you never do it. People have long memories; it can affect your business. It is always easier to promise short term but bring long term results.
Promises. If you promise to provide your client with samples of colors or pictures or names of trades, make sure that you follow up quickly. This can be an aggravating experience for some people so do not make it more aggravating by not following up.
Follow up. You have met with your client. You have done a walk about in their home. You have provided them with your consultation/ideas/suggestions. The client has followed your instructions. Give your client a call to see where they are at, do they have questions, are they confused? If they do not have questions and have made it clear to you to that they can handle it from here, then ask them when the best time to follow up would be? Or mention to them that you will follow up with them with a timeframe, usually within a few days is best. Do not let it go too long.
Payment. Discuss your terms and payment format up front. Do not wait until you have completed your consultation to ask for the money. Your clients need to understand that you will need to be paid for the services that you render. Be specific, do not dilly dally or hum and haw. Be prepared with your rates. You are a professional providing professional services.
Thank your client. Payment has been made; house or home has been sold. Nothing is nicer than to receive a handwritten note. Get yourself some simple Thank You notes and use them. Email is too easy and not everyone has access to email or at least not everyone. Put pen to paper and include a business card. You never know where your next piece of business or project will come from.
Good luck in your Staging and Redesign project!