If you’re a designer, this has DEFINITELY happened to you. You put an enormous amount of time in selecting the perfect pieces for a project, you may have even already ordered. And then your client tells you they’ve found “the exact same piece” for less money. Or they’ve found – and bought – something they like “even more.” UGH! Your client has “shopped” you.
The Internet has made this even worse. Clients can use Google search – and image search – to find anything. So what do you do when your client shops you?? I have some ideas to help you stop it in its tracks!!
1. Stop It Before It Happens
The key to really avoiding a client who shops you is to be sure to head it off from the beginning of the process. You have to do a great job in the discovery phase to find out what your client really wants and needs. If you do a great job of finding the right products in the first place, that can help. Otherwise, a dissatisfied client will be hitting Pinterest!
2. Put It in the Contract
If you read this blog regularly, you know how I feel about the importance of your contract!! You should have have language in the document that will keep your client from shopping when you aren’t around. For example, you can say something like: “We work extra hard to find the perfect items just for you – and we design your project holistically rather than one piece at a time. We also get great discounts from our vendors and suppliers. So no substitutions are permitted once you’re approved the overall design.”
Pretty straightforward, right?! If that doesn’t make it clear enough, you can even add: “If we do install an item that was not part of the original and approved design presentation, we will charge you a premium percentage to manage these items.” You can explain that you have to manage products outside of your approved vendor lists and that costs you time that could be better spent on their project!
3. Avoid TMI
Don’t give away too much information in your presentations. You don’t have to tell your client which manufacturer created the chair frame you’re proposing. And they don’t need to know that the fabric is from Fabricut! Remove the branding from everything that you’re showing them. And if you want to be super-fancy (AKA awesome!), it’s even better if you put your own brand/logo on the fabrics and samples!
The key to keeping a client off the online shopping cart is the same solution we hit a lot in our business: communication. Always err on the side of over-communication (is there such a thing?!), than no communication. Use it to set client communications at the start!
Need help with that? Download My Free Guide to Setting Client Expectations here!