The Pre-Recorded Courses are Finally Here!
So before we get started with this week’s post, a few exciting things to share!
First, the pre-recorded courses that I’ve been promising are now available just in time for the year end! They’re two different courses, “Designing the Design Process”, adapted from a portion of the live course “The Exceptional Experience” and a brand spankin new course, called “The Art of Pampering.”
Designing the Design Process
Now in “Designing the Design Process” you’ll be able to find out all the foundational systems and processes, strategies, and tips to give your firm the real structure it needs to be able to run consistently well & have your clients say, “Wow, now that’s a well-run business!”
There’ll be tons of useful info in each video module on how to lead your clients through your design process confidently, how to set and manage expectations, how to deliver a killer design presentation and so much more! And then there’s the downloads – the Welcome Packet template, email templates, a list of questions you need to be asking for the screening call, client journey mapping templates, and so much more! It really is chock full of fantastic info and is for those who know their designs are great, and their clients love them, but when it comes to the business side, well … maybe there’s some work to do – some foundational structure and groundwork that needs to be laid.
And since it’s an expanded version of 2 classes from The Exceptional Experience” here’s a review from interior designer Wendy Woloshchuk from Details Full Service Interiors, an attendee in the Winter Session of The Exceptional Experience,
“Not only does Ashley teach you how to provide an exceptional experience for your client, she also provides that experience to her clients. The process that she teaches is thorough and well thought out with tons of examples to explain how the process works. Providing an exceptional experience to my clients allows me to feel proud of my company and to also charge more money for my services.”
So if you’re looking to take that first step and make 2020 the year you really focus on the nitty gritty behind the scenes work to get things straight in your design firm, this is your guide!
The Art of Pampering
Now for “The Art of Pampering,” in this course you’ll be able to find out what to do after you’ve completed all that foundational work in “Designing the Design Process.” It’s step 2. You’ve laid the groundwork, you’re confident in your systems and processes, but you’re ready to move even farther – by laying on a bit of luxury. You just want to know how.
So in this course you’ll be learning how to lavish your clients both in small momentary ways, and in larger surprising ways. We’ll cover what gifts to give to clients in the design process and when, how much to spend, how to gift to clients who aren’t actively working with you (but you think they may again), how to incorporate events, even how to gift to employees, vendors, & trades!
And if you’re wondering, why in the world is this being released when there’s less than two weeks left before Christmas? That’s because it’s not a gift guide, it’s a course on how to strategically plan, and save up for, pampering your clients throughout the entire year. So going through this course at the end of this year or the beginning of the next will allow you do to just that.
My Best Year! Bundle
Now to celebrate their release, I’m also offering a “My Best Year!” bundle – which not only includes both courses, but also the downloadable guide, “Have Every Client Love You.” The bundle pricing is a savings of $65 at $424.95 and is only being offered until January 2. So if you’re interested, I encourage you to snatch it up here as a gift to yourself and your firm to truly make 2020 your best year! And if you’re just interested in one of the courses, of course you can do that as well here!
Kate the Socialite Podcast Feature
Now quickly onto the last piece of news, I’m so excited to share that I was recently the featured guest on “The Kate Show” from Kate the Socialite. Kate & I had an absolutely wonderful time talking about all things client experience and marketing when it comes to interior design. We even talked about Kate’s real life scenario with hiring an interior designer which well, scared her a bit – which she was embarrassed to admit because she interacts with interior designers on a daily basis. But she’s not alone! This is a very common occurrence for anyone whose not a designer.
It’s an insightful episode where we talk about how to help clients overcome their fears of contacting you, and how to comfortably lead them through those first steps of the design process that are often so delicate. Give it a listen here! And if you’re joining us as a result of hearing the podcast already, a very warm welcome to you!
How to Calmly Handle Mistakes & Criticism, Part II
Phew that was a lot of announcements! Now onto this week’s post, and thank you for sticking with me! How to calmly handle mistakes and criticism, part II. So last week we talked about just focusing on the now of mistakes, criticism, etc. Which sounds simple, but is no easy feat.
When you’re knee deep in a tough situation and negativity is swirling around your head, it’s EXTREMELY difficult to focus on, well, anything. Your mind is racing ahead, behind, and everywhere in between. But in order to get yourself out of these situations, it’s paramount that you do focus – on what you can do right now to fix your situation. Nothing else.
What’s Next After the “Now?”
But after the now, then what? What’s the second part to this equation? How do we answer that question from last week with the name of a popular 90’s candy? With Later. First we focus on the now. Then we focus on the later. That’s the simple fix – it formula for calmly handling mistakes and criticism, Now & Later.
So once you’ve fully handled the now, the worst is over, the problem has been resolved, and the client is satisfied, you may be thinking, “Yes! I’m done! Finally I get a break and can relax…” Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… not quite. In order to keep something like this from happening again you have a bit more work to do – the “later” work.
Moving on to the “Later”
Now what does that mean exactly? Well it means its time to look for the root. It means its time for you to start focusing on just how this problem or criticism occurred in the first place. Was it a lack of communication? Was it because the client had unrealistic expectations? Or because a tradesmen’s work wasn’t up to par? Really take time to think long and hard, what was the root of this problem.
And sometimes it’s not clear cut. Sometimes it take a bit of detective work. Sometimes it’s a bit of a winding road that led you to the problem. Keep tracing back farther and farther and farther until you can find that problem’s root. Even write it down if it helps to make more sense of it all. Put the problem at the top and draw your roots from there for all of the possible reasons that this issue occurred.
What’s the Real Root of It All?
Let’s take an example to make this easier to understand. Let’s say the client is upset because the punch list seems to be taking a long time to complete. Ok, so, to fix the “now” you apologized to the client, finished up the punch list, and sent a bouquet of flowers once everything was completed to further your apologies. But what was the real root? How did this happen?
Well, it could be a few things. First, maybe it wasn’t clear to the client when the punch list items would be done. Maybe a time frame was never given. So, left to their own devices, they assumed it wouldn’t take any more than 1-2 weeks.
Second, maybe during the main part of the project, communication on progress was always clear – they always knew when work would be done and when they would hear about it. But now, there’s a lack of clear communication. They’re never quite sure when they’ll hear about the progress and don’t know if they should be reaching out to you or should wait for you to reach out to them.
Third, during the main part of the project your firm was faster at tackling issues. You heard about something, you fixed it, you heard about something else, you fixed that. But after the project, with all these small little issues, well…. maybe you eased up a little bit. Maybe your focus went to the other projects that you have going on that need your full dedicated attention. And understandably so. Those projects should take more of your time.
But, as you can see, the root of this problem, well, isn’t one root. Its a multi-veined root. There were numerous factors in play here that lead to this outcome. So, … what does that mean?
Focus on Problem Expansion & Prevention
Well it means that now that you’ve traced the possible reasons and roots of this problem, it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to make sure that this doesn’t happen again with this client, or another client. It’s time to think about problem expansion and prevention.
So really give yourself time to think and ponder – what systems and processes need to be put in place to keep this from happening again? What documents need to be created? What touch points need to become part of the process? How can communication continue with the client on these deficiencies just like it does in the main portion of the project? And how can we better set the right expectations about this time? And lastly, how do we keep ourselves focused and on target for fixing this issues quickly and efficiently?
It’s More than Just Now, It’s Also About Later
So remember, in order to truly succeed in problem solving, you don’t want to just go above and beyond when it comes to fixing the problem that’s at hand, you want to keep going. You want to keep going until you’ve reach the level of prevention.
You want to think about the later – what could happen later if I don’t focus on preventing this now? What other problems could occur? What other clients might get upset? Then take action to make sure those things don’t happen.
And do this with every problem you run into. You’ll never reach perfection, but you will get really, really good at minimizing the amount of problems you have. Mistakes and criticism can become an absolute rarity, rather than something that happens a lot more than you’d like. And I’m pretty sure that’s something everyone would enjoy.
Write in the comments below, what have you found particularly helpful when it comes to problem resolution & prevention?
And if you’re ready to not only prevent problems but actually make your client experience a spectacular one, grab your bundle here!