Networking Like a Pro
As an Interior Designer, networking locally is a vital part of growing your business. Proper networking will ensure you are known locally and will continue to gain new clients. Meaningful relationships with others in your community will establish you as a qualified designer in your industry. So, here are a few great ways to network and make yourself known in your area.
- Online networking is an easy and quick way to meet others in the industry. LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook are all great platforms to meet other designers, contractors, fabricators, real estate agents, etc. Being active on social media and engaging with others is essential here. So, comment on others’ photos, ask them questions when you are needing a little help, and be genuinely interested in others’ business.
- Get on Houzz! Show off your skills and connect with other designers in your area. Make sure to be active here as well and comment on others’ projects so that you get more exposure.
- Develop relationships with influencers. Offering a shout out to an influencer for one in return is a great way to get more exposure in your area. An Influencer in your area can recommend your services, refer to your blog, or re-post a project picture. This can lead to more traffic on your social media accounts and website.
- With online networking, it is imperative to be consistent. Regularly posting photos, articles, or links to your work will ensure that you are in front of your followers regularly. Make sure to engage with others as well and make things more personal, the more a prospective client feels that they can relate to you the more likely they are to book you for a project.
- Get out there in your community. Join your local chamber, join the business network international, go to CEO forums, participate in business lunch and learns and go to local events. The more contact you have with your community the more referrals you will get.
- Meet the competition. Get to know other designers in your area. This is a great way to get referrals. If you are a smaller firm, refer to a larger firm the projects that are too large for you, and in return, they can refer your business for projects that are too small for them. This can bring in a surprising amount of revenue so it is important to maintain these relationships.
- Work closely and get to know your local craftsman and contractors. When working with your clients you can recommend a countertop guy that you know or an exterior painter that you like to work with. These relationships are a great way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource in your community.
- Encourage clients to give referrals. You can offer a discount or a free decorative item for each referral. If the client gets something out of it then they are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
- Establish store partnerships. If there is a store that you work with regularly, ask them to put out your business cards or advertise your services. You can even ask for a discount and promise to bring them business in your future projects.
Nick May is the host of a widely acclaimed interior design podcast, The Chaise Lounge, dedicated to the business of interior design. Each week he interviews top designers from across the globe to find out how they got into interior design, why they started their firm, and what has made them so successful.