Would you like a more steady stream of clients and projects? Would you like to keep new new business coming into your interior design business consistently?
Keep New Business Coming
Interior design is naturally cyclical. There are naturally slower times. And it may depend on your ideal client and the location of your business. For example, in the US, you’re likely to be slower right before Thanksgiving if you live in a place with a lot of second/vacation homes. However, this is usually a very busy time for a lot of other designers around the country.
So if you’re encountering a slow period, this is a great time to work on your business, and remember that it may have nothing to do with you or your services. Don’t take it personally.
Which leads me to my main point and the best thing you can do to keep new business coming: always be marketing.
Market Yourself When Your Busy
One of the main mistakes that you can make to hurt your client pipeline is to stop marketing when you have clients and are busy with client projects. When you stop marketing you halt the flow of new business.
This means that when you are deep in client projects you can’t let the time you spend building your business slide. It’s just as important as getting that client project done because it helps put new clients in your pipeline - meaning future work and more income.
It’s nice that you want to give your clients your full attention, but it can hurt you financially if you ignore your business while servicing clients. This is why I always say to treat your business like your favorite and best client - give it the attention it needs too.
Focus on Solutions Not Services
Clients don’t really care that you can choose a paint color - they want to know that you can choose the right paint color without them buying 10 cans of tester paint that stays half painted on the wall for a year.
Clients want to know that you can sort through hundreds of options to give them the best option.
Clients want to know that you’ll oversee the all the design details so that everything looks beautiful and works wonderfully together without being overwhelmed or making the wrong selections.
The three statements above focus on benefits to the client and solutions. With an emphasis on benefits to the client and solutions that they actually want and care about (not what you think they want or need).
Focus on why your services matter to your clients. What do they mean? What is the benefit to the client that you can perform that laundry list of services? This is what is going to set you apart from other designers and draw your ideal customer to you. Not everyone solves the same problems and not every client has the same problem - this is why there is plenty of work to go around.
Create Awesome Systems and Trust
Professionalism and authority are extremely important in interior design. You must appear and act as a professional. This means that you need to have consistent systems that your clients can rely on . This creates trust in your business. It’s also important to run your business like a business and not a hobby. This means that you need to have business things: business email, insurance, contract, business phone number, standard systems and process, and good accounting practices.
Show Up and Reach Out
Showing up and reaching out falls under marketing - which you must be doing regularly. Stay consistent in your past clients lives. This can be cards or an email newsletter. It could be a quarterly mailing. Whatever it is, you must be consistent and it must be valuable- to get people to actually read it. You can also reach out and let your clients know you’re having a special promotion, or you’re looking for testimonials, or you’d appreciate their referrals. Some clients may do this on their own, but many more will do if you ask.
You also have to be visible for the potential clients too. This could be an email newsletter, networking, working on your elevator speech, getting published - anything that gets you out there. You can’t keep new business coming if no one knows you exist.
Start a Waitlist
If you’re busy and get a new project inquiry - don’t turn the work down, ask the client if they want to be put on your waitlist. Scarcity is a psychological trigger that can help increase sales. This also means that you’re helping your pipeline, by not turning away work - just deferring for a period of time.
I know how much the idea of turning away work can cause panic in an industry when the work is not consistent. But I often see that this can empower designers. When you offer up a spot on your waitlist it also make your business seem desirable and in-demand. It also allows you to give your best work and attention to the current project without overwhelming yourself. Wins all around!
Scroll down and leave a comment if this has put some ideas in your head!