Worried you won't be able to explain to a client why they should choose a custom-made sofa over the look-alike catalog version?
How about if they should choose vinyl plank flooring or wood-look tile? What type of carpet is appropriate for their house?
Ever wonder if you're going to be able to "convince" a client to buy the pricey antique over the new made-in-china version? Or even why there are luxury made-in-china pieces that are just as pricey as that antique?
Or why that mid-century modern desk they just bought doesn't go with your Paris circa 1930 design scheme?
What about explaining the differences between a cheap knock-off and the real deal and why if they're not going to buy the real deal they shouldn't own it at all?
I could write pages and pages of these types of questions, but the answers all boil down to your greatest asset. You may not possess this asset yet, but it is attainable to everyone. You don't have to go to design school, you don't need a degree, you don't need to spend any money.
Your greatest asset for answering these questions (and the pages and pages that could follow) for clients and therefore becoming an asset to them, is educating yourself.
Educating yourself is the greatest asset to you selling your design, your products, your manufacturers, your vendors. We often get wrapped up in the action of running our businesses and moving clients along that we don't make it a priority to expand our knowledge and educate ourselves.
I hear often that designers don't feel like clients understand the value of hiring an interior designer anymore. And you know what? (Beware- tough talk ahead!) There isn't value in paying someone a lot of money when all they are doing is picking out retail furniture and accessories. Sure you may have a great "eye". Sorry, but you're not going to command the big bucks for that. There are e-design companies that you can pay something like $79 per room for that service.
The longer you are a designer the more knowledge, experience, and wisdom you gain, therefore, the more you can charge. If you're a new designer, don't feel overwhelmed by all you don't yet know, figure out how you can begin getting there.
The greatest asset to selling yourself and your services is knowing product, design styles, design eras, design icons, prices, materials, and material/product construction. This is how you answer all those questions above. This is how you surprise and delight your clients and make them think, "Wow, she really knows her stuff! This is much more than pillow-fluffing."
Gaining this asset is simple, but does take time. Read books, research, talk to your vendors, talk to your contractors and subcontractors, observe work-in-progress, ask questions, talk to your reps, travel, visit trade shows and markets. You may not be in school anymore but never stop absorbing information.
While I don't teach design in The Golden Blueprint, I can help you design and build your interior design business. Learn more here.