“That’s not the problem,” I responded. “That’s the point.” Master simple selling skills, I told her, and you can rapidly rise above 99% of your competitors.
I made that same point during my presentation at the recent Interior Design Society conference, noting that the most financially successful design professionals simply do little selling things, better.
You can, too, if you:
Do the Daily Dose. That means reaching out every work day, every week to 10 prospects, former clients, bloggers and other industry influencers, vendors, suppliers, and others you need to know – and who need to know you.
Sell Yourself. Google “interior designers” in your area and you’ll come up with hundreds –maybe thousands – of listings. Differentiate yourself by sharing your “Only” (“I’m the region’s only designer who…”), crafting a Killer Bio, speaking at industry events, etc.
Probe for “Pain.” Find out the biggest challenges, most daunting dilemmas and greatest stress points your prospects face when it comes to the design of their interiors, and present yourself as the one most able to help them overcome them.
Save the Best for First. Present your top-of-the-line design services and product lines first, as a way to enlighten your clients about the possibilities. Once educated, they can then decide what’s in their “budget,” and what they can – and want to—afford.
View Price Objections as Opportunities. …and as buying signals, since prospects have to be at least somewhat interested to even ask about price. Turn price bellyachers into believers by differentiating yourself from cheaper competitors.
Focus on Your Fans. Current clients are your best ones. They know and trust you. The lifelong value of a client is 1000 times greater than a single transaction. You have a 1/14 chance of selling something to a prospects, but a 1/2 chance of making another sale to a client.
Play Billiards. Always set up the next shot, and you’ll avoid the “one and done” relationships that too many designers have too often. Talk about Phase II before you start Phase I. Upsell and cross sell. Increase repeat business by 40%, and you’ll double your income in a year.
Hang in There. Never, ever give up. Get to know “No,” and understand that it may only mean “not now,” or “not yet.” As IBM’s Thomas Watson pointed out, the way to become much more successful is to double your “failure” rate.
Got all that? Then, get this:
You may think you’re in the interior design business but, first and foremost, you’re in the sales business.
Your business, your career and your future depend on how well you:
Sell your services.
Sell your products.
And, most importantly…
Fred Berns is a the author of the Superstar Selling System for Design Professionals.