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If you became an interior designer because you loved the creative side, you’re not alone! 🙋‍♀️ You wanted to design beautiful homes and help fabulous clients – it’s really what we all dream about in this business. But once you open your own company, you quickly realize that the creative part of the business is only about 10% of your job! Another 20% is business management. And the bulk of your job – that other 70% – that’s sales. Here are the key points in your business that are sales, and a few ideas for how to improve your skills in each one!

Selling to the World

Of course step one in selling your services is marketing. You have to be able to tell – or really SHOW – the world how skilled and talented you are. That means your website has to be enticing and informative, your portfolio has to show the very best of what you do, and there needs to be a call-to-action to make them get in touch. ALL of that is sales. I’m sure when you set up that photo shoot, you weren’t thinking that the photos would be a sales tool, but they ARE! Review how you’re presenting yourself to the world at large, and all of those prospective clients. Does your website really show your best work? Does it tell people how organized you are? Will it answer any questions a client might have? To help you make your website the best sales tool you have, download my FREE Managing Website Updates Guide here!

Selling to New Clients

There are 3 skills that a good salesperson needs to have. First, persuasion is key. We need to persuade prospective clients that we are the designer they should hire. Second, we have to build trust with them and convince them that we can bring their dream home to life! In addition to being persuasive and trustworthy, though, we have to have confidence. In fact, I think that’s the MOST important skill for each of us in sales! We need to project confidence, have the confidence to convince clients we are the right choice, and we need to have the inner confidence that we CAN pull it off. So when you’re sitting down with a possible new client, be sure you’re selling them on the idea that YOU are the best designer they’ll ever meet. Because you ARE!

Selling Your Ideas

Once you have that client hooked and under contract, the sales job is over, right? WRONG. It’s really just beginning! Now you need to sell your design ideas to the client, and there are two very important sales techniques that work at this point: storytelling and active listening. If you’ve REALLY been listening to what your client wants, you know how to “read” that back to them in your presentation. And you use storytelling to do that. For example, you might say, “You told me how much you loved your grandmother’s china, and that’s exactly why I selected this blue. It’s a perfect match for the background on that china. And the floral pattern in the wallpaper complements the pattern, too.” See? You’re giving them back their own words and your using a storytelling technique to sell it to them! That’s the right way to show them you know what you’re doing.

Selling Products

If selling products to clients is part of your business, then you know this is where you really need to pull out your sales ability, right?! We’re competing against everyone on the internet for price. And clients – even the super-wealthy ones – are really watching their wallets these days. Helping them understand WHY you are suggesting the selections you chose is so important. And you also need to educate them on the fact that your ability to take care of every detail in delivery and installation is a BIG part of what you bring to the table. Selling your customer service skills here is a critical part of getting them to buy into your product ideas.

Sales may not be what you signed up for, but it is CRITICAL to making your business successful! So use these ideas to polish up your skills. And don’t forget to download my FREE Managing Website Updates Guide here!

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