Last week while my family and I were taking a much needed break at Kiawah Island we decided to have dinner at a more formal restaurant. And while we were there enjoying a delectable meal I was reminded of something very important when it comes to great service. The need to entice your customers.
While we were sitting at our table waiting for our food to come out Weston turned and saw all of their desserts on display. And of course, asked to look at them. As a dessert lover myself, I was happy to oblige. So we approached the dessert table and watched the pastry chef perform her magic. A little dollop of whipped cream here, a little flambeing to bananas there. And while enjoying the show a waiter, who was not our own, saw us admiring the delectable goodies and came over to educate, entertain, and entice us.
With each dessert, he took his time. He shared his enthusiasm. A typical chocolate cake was described as a “luscious and velvety smooth treat with a secret ingredient that makes it to die for.” Each pastry sounded more incredible than the next. By the end I was ready to order one of everything. But before his explanations I wasn’t even sure about getting dessert at all. His ability to entice led to every single person at our table ordering dessert.
The same can, and should, be done with design customers. Let’s talk about how.
Create A Visual Display
Just as the restaurant enticed us with their dessert display, you can do the same with your design clients. When working with those clients who are hesitant on a design, or to agree to the top of the line sofa that you know is necessary, try to show them as close to the real thing as possible. Maybe that means a 3D rendering, or instead of having a digital presentation, you print some of the information out. If it’s worth their time and yours, take them to a showroom so they can see the item in person. Or, if you have a studio and a vendor will let you borrow some items, create a small vignette in your own studio to show the customer in person what their home could look like. Sometimes seeing a design or an item on a computer just isn’t real enough. Clients can’t see the end design the way you do. So do whatever you can to visually pull them in and get them excited about your design.
Notice Their Interests
Just as the waiter passing by noticed our interest in the desserts, take the time to notice what your client is interested in. Are they really focusing on the artwork you’ve chosen? Or the lamps? Are they asking more questions about the flooring? Because although they may not have mentioned it, maybe this is a feature they really love. Take the time to notice if they’re curious about a certain aspect of the design and explore it. Maybe they’d actually like to spend a larger portion of their budget, or even increase their budget, to use more original artwork. Or to create more elaborate and high end flooring designs. People don’t always know what to tell a designer when asked what they want in a room. But when they see an actual design, they may show that they’re naturally focused more on some aspects than others. So when you take the time to look for where there interests really lie, you can utilize that information to make the design better, and possibly make a greater profit.
Educating customers gets them interested. If the waiter had come over and said, “that’s a chocolate cake, that’s a key lime pie, and that’s bread pudding.” We may have ordered dessert. But we may have not. That’s not enough information to really get someone interested. But when he turned it into, “That’s our homemade bread pudding. We put all our heart and soul into that as it’s a two day process. On the first day we take our time to make a gorgeously flaky croissant. On the second day, we take it, tear it up into pieces, soak it…” it becomes a fully informed and interesting story.
The restaurant took the time to educate each and every person working there, so they could educate any customer who asked questions. Because they know an interested and curious customer who gets the right answers from an educated employee, is much more likely to buy than a curious customer who gets no answers. Or the wrong answer. Or a, “I’m not sure. That’s not my department.” to every question a customer asks.
Share Your Enthusiasm
Now, creating a gorgeous display, noticing your client’s interest, and informing them on the product is all well and good. But, if you deliver it all with the dryness and boredom of Ben Stein, it’s pretty much dead on arrival. So when talking to your client about your design and your selections, you need to share your enthusiasm. Don’t just be dry and factual. Entertain them. Make it interesting. Rather than “this is an English roll arm skirted sofa that’s 86 inches in length and comfortable to sit on” think of something a little more jazzy. “This sofa is sophisticated enough to be found in any Hamptons home but also has the space and comfort to lay back, relax, and take a Sunday afternoon nap on. While also hiding any dust bunnies or toys hidden underneath with its skirt.”
Share what you love about your selections. Don’t be shy or feel like you’re bragging on what you’ve done. The client wants to know that you love your work just as much as they do. If you show them you have enthusiasm and confidence in what you do, they will too.
Education & Enthusiasm Get You a “Yes”
Getting your clients to love a design that you know will make their house fabulous is a huge part of the job. Sometimes it’s one of the most challenging parts of the job. Getting them to just trust you. So taking the time to create a visual display, notice what clients are naturally interested in, educate them, and share your enthusiasm with them makes them that much more interested. And that much more likely to say “yes.” It’s also one more way to show them, we know what we’re doing. You can relax from here on out. Because we’ve got this.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide greater service for greater profits, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org find out more!