How to Use a Waitlist to Your Benefit
There are several dozen psychological triggers that can help increase your sales and one of my favorites is scarcity. For interior designers we have a limited amount of time and creativity to service clients, without wearing ourselves out or bringing in help. We naturally have a limited bandwidth. This is where you can use scarcity and a wait list to your benefit.
I have to mention, because I know that many people are going to feel a little resistance on this topic, that many designers I know have a scarcity mindset. It’s a bit of a natural state when you own your own business.
But Capella, I can’t turn away projects, I don’t know when the next one will come.
You may not know when the next one will come and it may be scary (at first) to shift your mindset away from scarcity and the unknown to having confidence that there is always work to go around. There are many things you can do to keep business coming and to deal with income ups and downs. We shouldn’t continue to allow the feast and famine to perpetuate in our business.
When You’re Busy & Overwhelmed
So during times of feast, when you feel too busy and overwhelmed with running the business as well as client work, I suggest you make use of a waitlist.
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, there are only so many spots available and they’re currently all filled - inciting scarcity trigger in potential clients (Wow! She is booked, she must be great, I better get my spot now.)
Creating a waitlist also allows you to give your best work and attention to the current project without overwhelming yourself. This means that your current clients won’t suffer because you take on too much. Wins all around!
Often, designers get super busy and then hire in a rush, but this isn’t always the best choice. Or they realize they don’t have time to adequately make that hire and just push through all the work, throwing themselves off balance. Consider utilizing a waiting list to better spread your projects out.
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.
How you create that system of putting clients on your waitlist will depend on your business and your workflow. What works for one business in this arena will likely not work for everyone. You have to know where all your current projects stand on their individual timelines and how that will affect the timing of your waitlist.
Ideally, you want to be able to say something like, thanks for your project inquiry, based on the size and scope of your project and our current schedule, we can begin your project on DATE. Please let us know before DATE to secure your spot on our waitlist.
Or I’ve also seen designers put this information on their website contact page - XYZ Interior Design is currently booked through June 2020, please fill out the contact page to receive information to be put on our waitlist.
Ideally, you’ll begin their onboarding process to a certain point so that you’re underway and have the client locked in. I recommend that you have them complete your client questionnaire, you have an initial meeting and the client signs your contract, and they’ve given you a retainer - a portion of which is non-refundable if they back out of the waitlist.