We ask a lot of our clients. We want them to let us handle all of the decisions in their interior design business. We want them to trust us with their money (and a lot of it!). And we want them to let us into every corner of their homes. That means our clients have to have confidence in us!
Every single person has days where they don’t feel super-confident. But you can’t ever let your clients know that! Confidence is key to selling your clients, to setting higher fees, and to getting the client moving in the right direction. If your client doesn’t trust that you have it all under control, I can guarantee the project isn’t going to go well.
Even if you’re having a low-confidence day, there are ways to project authority and to make your clients feel like you’re the expert. Try these 5 tips for showcasing your super-awesome abilities!
1. Don’t Use Wishy-Washy Language
The last thing a prospective client wants to hear is “um” or “maybe” or “I think” constantly. Those are words that say: “I’m not really sure about this.” You want your clients (and contractors) to always believe that you have the right answers and ideas for them. Be sure you use confident terms like: “I believe” and “definitely” and “absolutely.” There’s even been a lot of research on how much harm you can do yourself in a business situation by using the word “just!”
[alert type=”warning” icon-size=”hide-icon”]Ready to set your design project up for success? Click Here to Download the Client Touchpoint Worksheet!![/alert]
2. Research the Client
Before you meet a prospective client, do a little research! Ask around or do a Google search to see what you can learn about them. They’ll appreciate it if you show that you know what their business is, or what stage of life they’re in. It helps to show that you care enough to find out a few things about them. And once they have answered their questionnaires (you are using those, right?!), be sure you show that you listened when you present the design! Say things to them like: “You told me that you like marine blue, so I wanted to use that here in this drapery.” Everyone appreciates it when someone is truly invested in who they are and what they want – and it shows that you’re confident when you let them know it.
3. Be Ready for Tough Questions
Nothing is worse than fumbling for an answer or looking nervous when you’re asked a tough question, so be ready! Practice defending your fees and contract with a friend. Think about all the challenges that could come up and create a list of answers. Having responses ready will help you confidently handle any fears and concerns! If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up. Be sure to say that you will research it and get back to them ASAP.
4. Deliver the Goods
Do you know what Forbes says is the number-one characteristic of someone with a lot of confidence? A confident person takes responsibility for errors and handles them quickly! Not only do you want to deliver a great project, on time and on budget, but you want to take care of any issues and challenges quickly. Don’t let the client find out about something on their own – call them and let them know what’s happening and exactly how you’re taking care of it. That will definitely give them confidence in YOU!
5. Have a Process
How much confidence do you have in a person who seems to be fumbling through a job you’ve asked them to do? Exactly. You want to have a process in place for every single part of your design projects. And that especially includes when you’re talking to the client, either in person or through phone and email. Those “client touchpoints” are CRITICAL because that’s when you’re going to be able to really project that confidence and calm. Luckily for you, I’ve created a Client Touchpoint Worksheet to help you get that process set in stone.
Use these ideas to really put your fully confident self in the best light! You can do it!