Prevent Clients From Shopping You

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting

Have you ever been in the midst of a project and suddenly the client mentions that they saw something that looked exactly like what you had specified but it was less expensive? If so you’re probably not alone but rather than get upset, ask yourself what you might have done to avoid it happening.

First of all, ask yourself if that client honestly fits your ideal client profile? If not, then look at this as a reminder of why it’s so important to focus on marketing to and working with your ideal clients.

Second, and even more importantly, they might actually be your ideal clients but you did not do an effective job of “onboarding” them. It’s well worth spending the time upfront to avoid challenges that might come up later. Put the time and effort into develop an effective onboarding process for every client and you will find that it will go a long way to avoid snags later.

For instance, remember that when you are marketing your firm, the “product” that you are selling is the service and experience. So when you are interviewing a client as to why they are planning this design process be sure to ask questions that will give you a better idea of their emotional reason or reasons for investing in the process.

People will invest not in “things” but rather in the feelings that your interior design process will create – the emotions connected to what that finished product represents. So be sure to find out what the final result will mean to them – memories made with family, time spent with close friends, starting a family together, creating new memories for a blended family — whatever their reasons, it’s up to you to delve deeply enough so that you will be able to effectively paint the picture for them so that they will be able to visualize themselves in that “picture”.

When presenting items you are specifying for a client, treat the selections as objects of value by sharing the reasons you chose those pieces. Explain that though items may look identical there can be major differences in construction, finish, etc. Incorporate any history or stories about pieces you have selected. Treat them as items to be valued and appreciated and you will build a perceived value that goes beyond the items themselves and extends to your firm. Always remember that you are not “selling” items to a client, but rather creating an experience for them that will last long after you walk out the door.

Finally, whenever you are presenting anything to them – whether the design drawings, proposals, invoices, contracts – present them as a special gift. Create a presentation unique to your firm and something that reminds them why they are so pleased to pay you for the services you provide and the wonderful experience you are creating.

If you create great amazing value in the experience and service you deliver, “shopping” you will not enter their minds.

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Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting

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1 Comment

  1. Debbie Talianko on April 12, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Nicely written and always a great reminder Drue!

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