Have you ever heard the saying that you should start something the way you mean to finish it? (Thanks, Mom!) That has never been more true than when you’re talking about an interior design project! If you want to have a dream interior design project, then be sure that you start off on the right foot the minute the ink is dry on the contract. But how? I have 3 things I do that always give me a great start!
1. Wow Them Right Away!
So you’ve signed the contract and you’re ready to get started on their project. This is the time to make a BIG impression! Set an agenda for the project kickoff meeting and be sure your client knows that this meeting will take some time. And when they show up for that meeting, put on a bit of a show! They’re feeling nervous about the money they’re about to invest, and they’re also excited because their dreams for their home are about to come true! So be sure you have set the mood – nice candles, great flowers, a folder full of info (see below), maybe even a small gift. You want them to feel super-confident that you have got this 100%!
2. Set Expectations
The first thing you want to do is be sure you’re communicating well with the new client, especially by giving them all the info they’re going to need! You want them to understand how you work, what you’ll need from them, what an HONEST budget might be, and what an HONEST timeline might look like. This is not the time to tell them what you think they want to hear – you have to give them a realistic look at how things are going to go. Because if you sugarcoat it, or give them the wrong info, you’re going to really regret it later!
3. Ask a LOT of Questions
The best way to understand what your client wants and how to deliver it is to ask questions and LISTEN! I have a client questionnaire (which is part of my Return on Interiors system, just FYI!) that is VERY thorough. I want to know exactly how my client and every member of the family will use the home. I want to understand what they each like, what they don’t like, and what they think has to be part of their dream home. The more information you can get out of them, the better. That way you can deliver a design presentation that will knock their socks off!! AND you can also give them a better experience through every step of the project. Knowledge is power!
Those are the 3 best ways to start your projects, but remember that consistency and communication are going to be what keep your projects on track! You have to DELIVER on every promise you made, and that includes staying on time and on budget. And we all know how hard that can be – mainly because we can’t control everything, right?! To help with that, download my FREE 10 Tips to Help You Stay on Budget!
Good luck on all of your new beginnings!
PS – If you need ANY help keeping your projects running smoothly, be sure to check out my ROI system! Return on Interiors shows you exactly how to design and work with your clients and your team, with your vendors and manufacturers, and with your architects and builders, tradespeople and artisans. With the right project management, intake forms, questionnaires, and systems in place, you get to show up feeling like the confident pro that you are (or always hoped you’d be!). Click here to get started!!