How to "Sell" Your Creativity to Clients
We often have to remind our clients that interior designers are not a furniture salespeople, and not an hourly employee. But, if that’s how you present your billing or your services, you’re definitely going to be undervalued – both by yourself and your client. Your clients should be paying for your creativity, your skill, your knowledge, AND your experience! Yes, it can be hard to put a price tag on that. So here are some ideas for using your creativity as a selling point!
Know Your Worth
First, YOU have to value your creativity. You have to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you bring skills to the table that are different from other designers. You have to work at the top of your game and keep those skills sharp. That means giving yourself permission to have "inspiration field trips" to museums, bookstores, the beach, or any other place that sparks your creativity. You have to set aside design time in your workspace - during which you CANNOT be interrupted. That time is critical to making sure you are giving each project your full creative attention. And you have to work on your confidence so you project that strong creative person when you meet with potential clients. And if you feel like you could use a little more training, then go get it! There's no shame in that game if it helps you uplevel your work.
Show Your Work
Your portfolio, and that means EVERY project and every photo, has to be great. Not just good enough. Those photos must show your work in the best way possible. That is the visual representation of your creativity. It's how you SHOW your clients that you are a superstar at what you do. So if any photos are dark or not styled well, then they need to be removed immediately. I've talked a lot on this blog about the importance of professional photography, but I really want you to think about this point again: Your photos are the ONLY way to show your creativity to your clients. They will definitely help you sell your work.
WOW Those Clients
I've often said that the presentation is "the show." It's your time to shine and to really bring your A game. So if you're still only using presentation boards on an easel, it's time to rethink your presentation skills. For just a bit more money, you could add 3D walkthroughs, virtual reality rooms, video, personal web pages that are password protected, and more. That's how you show that you are creative in more ways than one. Who wouldn't want to pay you a great fee when you've shown them their stunning rooms in real time before they're even created. They're going to be HUNGRY for their new home if you give them that type of presentation. Remember to showcase your creativity at EVERY step of the process!
Consider How You Charge
And then you should think about how you bill and how you present those fees. If you are hourly only, that already puts a "commodity" mindset in your client's brain. That lowers the respect for your creativity. I'm not saying you always have to go flat fee, but it is a great way to say "This is the fee for my creativity. Then we go to an hourly rate for job site visits and procurement." That puts things into perspective in a way your clients can understand.
All of these ideas should be set in place even BEFORE your clients hire you. It should be in the language and images on your website and marketing materials, and it should be presented in meetings with potential clients. To help with that, download my FREE Guide for Meeting with Potential Clients! And have them BEGGING for your creative skills!