Persuading potential clients is difficult for any professional service, and interior design is no different. It has unique problems and opportunities, however there are still proven strategies to convince your leads or contacts to become clients. Of course, finding commercial clients and starting out as an interior designer can present further challenges, but in general it's always best to make the most of any potential clients.
Here’s 6 strategies that any interior designer can use to turn leads into customers:
1. Maintain your portfolio
Interior design is a visual art form and your portfolio is crucial. Having an easily accessible website is essential to attracting clients, so make it accessible from your social media accounts, or any other first points of contact your leads may have. Keeping it up to date is equally important, so take every opportunity to properly document your work.
For more on this check out our complete guide to managing an interior design project.
2. Network with varied industries
Attending local industry associations and trade shows are excellent ways to meet other professionals and hear about upcoming opportunities. Design firms, builders, and developers are always looking for design firms to fill gaps or on a permanent basis.
3. Use social media
Social media is one of the first places clients will see your brand. When it comes to interior design and decorating, it can also be a deciding factor for potential clients. Your online presence can profoundly impact your image and instil potential clients with confidence in your abilities. Quality can go a lot farther than quantity, but what you have should be professional, relevant, and authentic.
4. Offer free consultations
Consultations are a great opportunity to make the case for your services as an interior designer, and a free consultation for a client is your free opportunity to build rapport, and make the case for your services. Offering something free is also a much smoother way to reach out to cold leads and individual clients. Keep consultations short, and remember to drive home what you can offer and how you can help, rather than offering specific advice or guidance.
5. Partner with businesses and commercial clients
Furniture stores and specialty boutiques love designers and decorators. But this love must go two ways. Drop your business card off at a random furniture store, and it’s going straight in the trash. But at the stores you do buy from, that card is much more valuable.
6. Referrals are gold
Referrals, just like those from business partners, are gold. A lead from someone’s friend, coworker, or business partner, is a trusted source and far more likely to turn into a client. Don’t hesitate to ask your clients to promote you to anyone they know who might be interested in your services. It’s expected, and it affirms your confidence in the work you completed. And don’t forget, it costs you absolutely nothing!
A snowball effect
Finding new clients is a continual process in interior design and decorating. Networking, building your portfolio, and using referrals are a great place to start. The key is to keep adding momentum by meeting more people and building your resources.