Designers Top Challenges

Industry indicators show a definite upswing in interior design business activity this year.  But the word on the street gives a picture that is more mixed.  Some designers are very busy, while others still struggle to land more than minor projects and consultations.  Earlier this year, in our Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey, we asked designers what their most urgent challenges were, and this is what we found.

The number one challenge was finding suitable clients. Two-thirds of the designers who responded to our survey said they needed to identify more QUALIFIED leads or prospective clients, and to know where they could find more affluent clients.  Nearly two-thirds want to convert more prospects into clients.  

More than half the respondents said clients have difficulty understanding the value of their services.  Nearly as many (45 %) said clients are more demanding and are taking longer to make decisions.  

To their credit, many of these designers recognized that they needed to get better control of their businesses by developing business and marketing plans (60%) and taking the time to understand their firm’s finances better (53%).  Still, a surprising number do little or no marketing and spend little time promoting their firms on social media.  

There are lots of designers out there competing for the best clients.  You have to make the effort to promote your firm, your services and your projects, and give prospective clients a compelling reason why they should choose yours over another firm.  Remember, success breeds success.  If you’re not happy with the clients you have now, you need to tap into a new pool of prospects by moving out of your comfort zone and reaching out to a different clientele. Where will you find them? Charitable activities, shared hobbies, community involvement and referrals from influencers that work with high-end clients.


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Gail, with her team at Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.
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