I want to share a conversation we had in our Growth group last week because it was interesting, and I think you can learn something from it. We were talking to our designer member about a new client inquiry that had come in through her website. The potential client filled out the form and requested a kitchen, master bedroom, and a master bathroom remodel.
She booked a free, 20-minute discovery call to find out more. The call went well, and she explained that she did a paid first appointment and went over the value of what the client would get out of it. She also mentioned that the job probably wouldn’t start immediately, as they need to plan first. It would be best to do an Exploratory Agreement to figure out the concept, do some rough drawings, and figure out the costs so that the client would have accurate information to determine how best to spend their money.
The potential client did not accept the paid first appointment. Two days later, the designer received an email from the client asking more questions. The first being if they will get design ideas or renderings after the first consultation. Of course, the answer is ‘no,’ that won’t happen until they hire the designer.
The second question was them asking how much the Exploratory Agreement will cost. There’s no way to know that until they know what’s entailed, and she would be just guessing. All of this was explained during the discovery call.
The third question was about the design fee range for a kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath remodel. That’s not even a real question. It has nothing to do with the job at hand.
What’s happening here is that the potential client has likely talked to someone else and is trying to compare apples to oranges. They’re trying to compare pricing and designer by the first phone call, which we know doesn’t work.
Watch the video above where I explain in more detail something that needs to be pointed out in this situation. If there is that much worry about booking a $475 paid first appointment to get the project started, it raises a red flag. What happens to that job when the budget gets to be anywhere from $200,000-$400,000? The designer needs to respond clearly and politely, but it doesn’t seem like this is a good ideal client.
The paid first appointment is a good way to qualify clients, especially if they’re coming in from the internet. You have no idea if they are just shopping around or punching buttons. You don’t need a fancy survey with intuitive questions to figure out who they are. Always offer that paid first appointment, with the benefits to the client in place, and it will serve you well.
If you are interested in learning more tips about qualifying clients or other strategies to run a successful design business, schedule a call with one of our coaches. It’s a fun, free, no-obligation call, and you’ll learn what your next best steps should be.
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.