That’s the question on the minds of your prospects, clients and everyone you seek to influence. And it’s an especially important question at a time when those you want to work with have more buying options than every before. It’s never been easier to get elsewhere the interior design, home staging and/or other services that you sell.
How well you answer the question will determine how successful you’ll be in your business and career.
Differentiating yourself is the key to making the most important sale you’ll ever make as a design professional: the Personal sale. The most financially successful individuals I’ve encountered in more than 30 years of writing promotional copy, coaching and speaking in the design industry are those who are most skilled at the personal sale.
They realize that first and foremost, they’re not selling furniture, fabrics or flooring. They realize that, first and foremost, they’re selling themselves.
How do they get heard above the noise, and stand out in a crowded marketplace? Step #1 is pinpointing and promoting their “Only” brand, identifying themselves as, say, “The area’s only home stager who offers a full range of interior design services,” or “The only local designer who works with national hotel and restaurant chains.”
I consider “Only” to be the million dollar marketing word for design professionals worldwide. How to recognize your “only” brand is a central theme of my book, “Sell Yourself! 501 Ways to Get Them to Buy from YOU!”
Your very best personal promotion tool is the bio on your website, on your social media sites and elsewhere. Crafting a Killer Bio is an good way to promote the Star that you are, and distributing that bio is a good way to gain visibility, credibility and business.
An effective bio distribution strategy is to attach it to a “letter of re-introduction” to all those you need to know — and who need to know you. I recommend that letter, informing others of all the new and exciting changes at your company, as a way to regain top-of-the-mind awareness with those in your database.
Personal promotion should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. But it can and should pertain to your hiring strategy as well. You should always be on the lookout for savvy self promoters. Too many design firms restrict their personnel search to finding the most talented interior designers. Not a wise idea. A better bet, in my view, is to be on the lookout for the best salespeople – the ones who are most proficient at “personal selling.”
That viewpoint may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s rooted in my experience of watching way too many design firms go belly up in recent years. Why? Because the designers in those firms did a lousy job of selling themselves and their services. It’s much easier to hire skilled salespeople and teach them basic design and administrative skills ,than it is to teach designers how to sell.
Self promotion is not a skill taught in design schools, but it should be.
There are a whole lot of multi-talented, highly skilled interior design professionals who are their own best kept secret. That’s a formula for failure, if there ever was one.
You simply can’t do the best job of selling your design services and products until you do the best job of selling yourself.
Fred Berns writes bios and other promotional copy for design professionals worldwide.