5 Ideas for Upleveling Your Installations

There are several points in your project that are SO important. They are the client touchpoints that can make or break the project for you - when you can seal the deal on referrals and future business, or not. And the installation is THE time to make a big impression! It's what the whole project has been about and it's time to really wow your client. Whether you do a multi-day installation or one big push, you want to really razzle dazzle your client! Try these 5 ideas for taking your install to the next level.

1. Stay Organized

OK, this may not seem like a magical idea, but it's incredible how many times an install goes off the rails because we forgot the rug pad or lightbulbs. Or we're sending assistants back and forth to get things we forgot, which slows down the WHOLE process. I keep a Go Bag ready for my installations, with tools, tape, lightbulbs, touch-up paint pens, cleaning supplies, and more. It's always ready and has everything we could possibly need. Then I have lists of every single thing that goes into the house, with layouts marking where furniture, accessories, and art should be placed. That way, you don't have to be in every room at every moment. Your team, including the movers, can unpack and place things as you're styling in another room. 

2. Dream Team 

Select your team(s) carefully! That includes the movers. If you really want to make an impression, have the movers wear your branded gear! Be sure they are dressed appropriately, with shoe protectors and gloves. You want people who will represent you and your company exactly the way you need them to! But you also want an efficient team that can follow your layouts and task lists without having to consult you nonstop. Split your teams so that you have a group unpacking, a person or group dealing with removing packaging, a group placing furniture, etc. You should be supervising and styling - that makes things move more quickly and efficiently. The key is to be ready - and picture perfect - when your clients arrive. And you can't do that if you're working slowly and inefficiently. Another uplevel idea is to have your workrooms available to hang drapery and an expert team to hang the art. It may cost more, but you know it will be done correctly. And if you don't think styling is your expertise, then hire a stylist, too! They'll definitely be faster at sorting the bookshelves or making the closets look fab.

3. Details Really Matter

You would not believe how many designers don't think about their clients' rooms holistically. It always surprises me! When you are installing a project, you want to have every detail already sorted, including where the clients' personal photos will go, what accessories you need, the candles that you want in each room, and more. The details really truly matter here! Everything needs to be polished and magazine-ready for your clients. You want them to gasp when they walk into their new home! There shouldn't be any gaps on the shelves or tabletops, or anyone running to Pottery Barn for something to go on the mantel. To take things up a notch, consider supplying luxe hangers in the closets, monogrammed hand towels in the guest bath, or a customized dog bowl with Fido's name on it. Those special details will make a BIG difference for your clients. And before you wonder if those things are coming out of your pocket - you should have design fees that cover this type of luxe service.

4. Make Magic

The big reveal is CRITICAL. This is when your client understands your expertise, and your worth. So it needs to be magical for them. You want to be sure your clients are not in the home during the install, even if you're doing it over a couple of days. Remind them that you want them to see it complete and ready for them to start enjoying it. This is the time to really WOW them. You want to have fresh flowers, a candle burning, lights strategically placed, soft music playing - whatever it takes to give them a full sensory experience. And this is also the time for YOU to shine! Point out the details that you created, how you listened to what they wanted and needed. And you want to show them a stunning home that also works for how they want to live! 

5. Gracious Gifting

Of course you want to leave a gift or two behind, to really show your clients how much you appreciate their business and their trust in you. But don't just do the usual candle and flowers. Think bigger and more out-of-the-box. What about having their first dinner in their new home ready for them? You can even bring it in from their favorite restaurant. If it's summer, have a basket of great outdoor games for their kids. Or in winter, offer up scented pine cones in a basket by the fireplace, and a cashmere throw that's monogrammed. Think about something personal for your clients, something that will WOW them. This is your last chance to make a positive impression that really lasts!

To help you make the very most of your installations, download my FREE Installation Day Timeline & Checklist. It will help you stay super-organized!

Check out more design business tips and tricks

Making the Most of Client Touchpoints

How Communication Can Solve Any Project Challenge

Navigating a Client Couple

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