I’ve noticed an interesting trend, even as the economy improves and more interior design professionals report sightings of new clients and projects. There is an entire group who continues to commiserate about the lack of clients and projects, citing various reasons such as a recession, the housing slump and a rapidly changing marketplace full of do-it-yourself consumers and internet shoppers.
Unfortunately, design professionals in this group aren’t likely to change their story unless they perceive a huge shift in external factors and conditions … or until they grow so weary of their business that they decide either to quit or to take inspired action.
If you’re ready to take inspired action, this article is for you. If you’re not ready, read on. This is the external sign you’ve been waiting for to change your story and try something new.
So why aren’t ideal design clients hiring you? You’re a talented interior designer or decorator, you certainly know a lot more about design than your target market, and you’ve even had your fair share of success in the past. What’s going on?
- Your ideal clients can’t find you. You don’t have a website or a blog. You think social media is a waste of time or you’re not sure how to use it to grow your business. You aren’t sharing your knowledge and giving potential clients a way to get to know more about you and your area of expertise. You aren’t hanging out with your ideal clients or networking with those who already know them. You aren’t developing relationships and asking for referrals. Does any of this sound familiar? Make it easy for clients to find you.
- Your ideal clients don’t know they are ideal clients. Are you clear about your target market and ideal client? If you aren’t, how can your potential clients possibly be? Will you work with just about anyone or is there a particular type of project you gravitate to or a certain type of client you love working with? Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Get clear on your target market and ideal client. It makes it an easy “yes” for both of you to decide to work together.
- You’re making it difficult for ideal clients to do business with you. You don’t have a business card handy when someone asks for it. Your business card is missing information, such as your phone number, mailing address, email or web address. Potential clients aren’t sure they’ve reached you or your business when they get your voice mail. You don’t have a website or blog. You have a site but it is missing contact information, such as your phone number, address or email. The services and products you offer remain a mystery … clients are unable to locate the information or can locate it but don’t understand our industry-specific jargon. Make it easy to do business with you.
- You’re not demonstrating the value of your services. Why should clients work with you? What’s in it for them? What’s really important to your ideal clients? What problems are you solving? What pains are you eliminating? Rather than provide a laundry list of services you offer, describe the problems you solve and the pains you erase, sharing tips, ideas, stories, and testimonials.
- You’re making it difficult for ideal clients to invest in your design services. You aren’t offering no-risk and low-risk options to try you out (e.g., special reports, checklists, e-books, teleclasses, webinars, live workshops). You’re trading design hours for dollars rather than offering design packages at different price points. You aren’t offering different payment methods, options or incentives. Make it an easy choice for clients to invest in your design services, then make it easy for them to do so.
Your ideal clients are out there. Make it easy for them to find you, identify themselves as an ideal client, do business with you, see and feel the value of working with you, and ultimately invest in your design services. Keep it simple, make it simple and you’re hired!