A commonly accepted truth in any business is that word of mouth publicity is the most effective type of advertisement. This is especially true of any business in the creative field. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a fancy office and impressive embellishments to impress a client. Often, it is the smaller things, such as communication skills and emotional quotient (EQ), that count.
An established name in the field of interior design will probably have a list of loyal clients to work with. However, the field is competitive and can be very trying on a newbie. If you are a beginner in the field of interior design, here are some easy tips you can employ to establish a good working relationship with your clients.
1. Cost-effective Interior Design
Often people hire new interior designers as they expect lower rates. While lower doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cheap’, do your best to offer cost-effective interior design work. You can even go a step further and show your client a presentation of how you have managed to reduce his, or her, overall costs with your skills and contacts. You client is guaranteed to be impressed that you have taken the effort and will recommend you to others.
2. Attention to Details
Remember that you have to set the correct impression right from the first meeting. Keep your phone on silent, maintain positive body language, and note down what your client says in a diary. Writing down what your client says always sets the right note as he, or she, will feel that you are truly paying attention to each detail. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your best to incorporate the client’s personal touch to the final design.
3. Adherence to Deadlines
In any line of business, adherence to deadlines is almost the only factor that determines whether a client chooses to work with you again or not. Time is money and this is the most powerful tool that you as an interior designer can use to turn a single project into a lifelong working relationship with the client. Do be honest and upfront about your own capability to stick to the deadline. If a client sets an unrealistic deadline, do uphold your right to object to it.
4. Create a Specific Timeline
Creating a timeline is not the same as adhering to a deadline. In this regard, you as the designer need to take control and set a final timeline within which the entire project is completed. Setting a timeline helps establish to the client that you are serious and professional at what you do and that you have other commitments. Moreover, it will prevent the client from adding many changes to the project and dragging it for a long time. Above all, creating a timeline makes the client respect you as a professional.
5. Discuss Any Possible Hiccups
Like with any business relationship, problems can arise along the course of the project. Do make sure to discuss possible issues that can arise, before you sign the contract or accept any advance payment. Possible issues include delay in payments, a problem with a product provided by you, a change in the client’s design ideas, or if the client adds to the scope of work which warrants more payment than initially agreed upon. Discussing these in advance will make the client appreciate your frankness.
6. Find Out Your Client’s Preferences
Ask and you shall receive. Most clients expect the result to reflect their own tastes and choices. The only way that you can find out these choices is by asking a lot of questions. Additionally, don’t forget to find out if your client would like you to make all the purchases or if he, or she, would like to buy certain items on their own. Even though you are the expert, involving the client at different stages of the project will make them feel truly connected with you.
7. Explain Your Method of Working
Finally, it is important to set the right expectations. As important as it is to take note of your client’s preferences, it is also necessary to let him, or her, know your working methods. Working methods cover a broad range of aspects including your advance payments, week-offs, methods of purchase, and so on. All these terms must be cleared at the start to prevent any ambiguity and misunderstandings once the project has started. This is to clear the air on important issues like timeline and finance and help establish a good working relationship between you and the client.
Do you know of other ways of creating an amicable relationship with clients? Yes! Then do write in the comment section below.