Design is a very intimate business. We climb inside the lives of our clients for weeks, months, or even years at a time to transform their interior environment which, in turn, often promotes their own interior self-transformation. In many cases, we are the catalyst for their personal growth and development–that’s a really big deal. The client always needs to be at the heart of the decisions that you are making for them, because these decisions are made to best serve them.
Even so, you’d be surprised how often I notice the client missing almost entirely from the focus of the design process. And, there may be a space where you, too, are forgetting or ignoring your clients inside your design business. We’re talking about that important space before you even begin to discuss the scope of work or dive into targeted expert design recommendations, when the focus needs to be all on the client.
The best approach is to always remember that the person you are meeting with is more than just a potential client. This is another human being who’s interested in working with you. The first thing you have to do is build trust and rapport. You need to learn about them and find out more about their lifestyle and their hobbies. Leverage the opportunity to truly get to know, like, and trust the client and allow them an opportunity to know, like, and trust you. At the end of the day, the best clients are going to be the ones that share similar values to yours. Prioritize finding those values out early on to avoid the unnecessary headaches of working with a client that does not share your insight.
Don’t Sleep on the Story
Many design portfolios that I come across showcase gorgeous interiors but make little to no mention of the clients themselves. Clients are such an integral part of the home you are designing. Including a personal touch or story element from your client when describing the room you are showcasing conveys that you are tuned into the very specific lifestyles of the clients you design for. You also want to consider the story you are telling to your potential client if you are not showing them your full process. Providing case studies of actual client design projects will help you to manage expectations from the start because they can see the entirety of the process. The story is what captures and pulls us in and providing those details just gives them a bigger picture.
When you’re ready to take your design practice to the next level, explore your expert coaching and training options with Melissa Galt. To catch the entire podcast episode LISTEN HERE.