What is your greatest tool for building relationships with interior design clients? Is it your talent and creativity? Is it your commitment to excellence? Is it your network of contacts, your great sub-contractors, your wonderful home furnishing suppliers?While all of these characteristics are important for establishing and maintaining client relationships, it can be argued that your most important tool is understanding… Fulfilling the need for your clients to understand and address the many ways in which their lives change during a remodel.There are many costs a homeowner will bear during even the most modest remodel of their living space, not least of which are the stress, chaos, and confusion that will affect their daily lives until the renovation project is complete.As an interior designer, you are the expert on the things that happen during a remodel and the best thing you can do for your clients is to prepare them as well as you can for the potential upheaval they will likely experience.Prepare Your Clients for Potential CommotionBuilding relationships with interior design clients rests, primarily, on your ability to assure them that you have their best interests in mind. If you hope to build relationships that last, let them know that they should be ready for:
- Changes to their daily schedule – Many homeowners have a routine they follow without fail: first morning coffee in the breakfast nook while planning their day or yoga/meditation in the den, perhaps. That quiet cup of coffee in the AM will need to be sipped elsewhere during a major kitchen renovation. And, their “me time” will have to be taken in a new location while the den is being remodeled.
To keep them “in the know” and happy despite the disruption, let them know, in advance, how the project may change their daily schedule.
- Dusty days are ahead – The transition from a spotless living space to a dusty environment created by a major remodel is tough to accept for many homeowners. If you warn them in advance that, despite the efforts of your contractors to limit dust with barriers and such, there will be days when those irritating specks will float and travel.
Here again, communication is the key to keeping expectations in line with reality, while helping your client understand that the end-goal should be their focus – a beautiful result – rather than temporary discomfort.
- Coping with homeowner stress – It almost goes without saying that some homeowners respond emotionally to the sight of their home being torn apart. The stress this can cause may sometimes get the best of them. Your understanding and calming influence will go a long way toward helping them cope with the stress of a major renovation.
Have a conversation early on and let them know that you are in control of the changes they are seeing take place and that, in the end, it will all be well worth it.Again, communication and managing expectations are the key to keeping your clients happy through the potential chaos of a remodeling project. Assure them that your goal is to make the renovation go as smoothly as possible, but there will be things that they will need to adapt to.Keep in mind that building relationships with interior design clients means long-term growth and success for your business.Are you looking for more tips on interior design success, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.