Making It Happen: The Middle of the Project

This month we're reviewing those critical client touchpoints and how you can make the most of them! We've gone through the first initial stages and today we're getting to the heart of a project, when you actually make it HAPPEN! But it's also a bit of an odd time for the client. You're working your fingers to the bone, but they may not see all of the action. So keeping them up to date is KEY. I have some tips for keeping things EXCITING at every stage - let's take a look!

1. Custom Design

The key to making your design stand out from all the others is definitely custom design. Those one-of-a-kind looks elevate your project, grab attention from press, AND make a huge impression on your clients. Having a great workroom (or two or three!) will give you freedom, too! You no longer have to search for the right product for days or weeks - you can create it. And as vendors tighten the rules on what discount you'll get, whether they will sell directly to consumers, AND if you can even open an account with them - going custom removes a lot of headaches. You can also mark the product to make a profit because custom cannot be shopped online. Most importantly, custom gives the clients EXACTLY what they want and need. It's a WOW factor that just cannot be beaten!

2. Procurement

The procurement process has become an even tougher part of interior design than it used to be. Supply chains are still a mess and your clients love to search out a better deal online for those inline furnishings, right?! But this is still one part of the process where you can make a HUGE impression on your clients. Because while buying products is the fun part, dealing with delivery, order mistakes, damages, and shipping issues is NO FUN. The key is to let your clients know that they will never have to deal with those headaches - that is part of YOUR fabulous service! So you have to make it look seamless to the client. If there is an issue, always produce the PERFECT solution. Also, be sure to have the client sign off on every purchase order and every detail. That way there won't be any confusion later.

3. Coordinating the Project Team

Keeping things smooth and calm is your super power - or at least it should be when you're in front of the client! So you want to keep things tight and on schedule, which means coordinating with the architect, contractor, subs, and your own team. Remember when I said that constant communication was important for your clients?! Well it is JUST as important to stay in touch with team members, too! Be sure that any project binders are up to date at all times. Send regular emails to everyone, especially when there are ANY changes. And when there are really important issues, pick up that phone or set an in-person meeting. This is the ultimate in customer service if you think about it - delivering a headache-free process for that client!

4. Keeping the Client Informed

I call this time period in a project "the black hole." WHY?! Because for the client it can see like NOTHING is happening. They had the excitement of you wooing them before they signed, they were blown away by the presentation, and now.... nothing. So it's key for you to keep them up to date and PUMPED UP! The only way to do that is to send them a lot of communication full of exciting details. Never let them wonder what's happening - tell them how things are going! Think they'll be bored with furniture updates? It's your job to make it fabulous. Tell them that the sofa came in and it's even BETTER than you thought it would be. Tell them you cannot wait to see it in place! Or you can point out how amazing the custom millwork looks. There's always something that will make them dream about that finished home!

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Check out more design business tips and tricks

4 Tips for Attracting (and Keeping!) Great Clients

Why Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever

Wrapping It Up: The Final Touches

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