I am happy to report that there are a lot more clients calling about new jobs, and jobs are happening. It’s like we’re starting to come out of this pandemic, and it’s really good to see. But along with it, there are also some people who seem to think that they can take advantage of designers. So, I’m going to tell you a story about that, and what you can do about it.
One of my students spoke to a gentleman about his project and what he wanted done several weeks before the pandemic started. She made him her first paid appointment offer. It was an hour and a half for $495. He responded with, “Well, I think that’s too expensive. Let me talk to my wife, but you know that’s probably too much for us.” She told him okay, and that it was no problem. But, he’s not a client, right? We’re qualifying, but with using that offer anyway.
Well, he showed up again. And now, he’s got a few more things on his plate. His request was that if he sent them over to her, can she take a look, give them opinions virtually, and therefore, it would be less expensive? The answer to that is no; it’s actually more expensive. And there are a few reasons why.
Understanding Your Value with Clients
First of all, your value is not determined by whether you are live in-person or working with a client virtually. Your value is also not determined by the number of hours it takes you to do something; you’ve heard me say that before as well. Your value is based on what you bring to the job. Your value is based on knowing the answers to your client’s questions and preventing expensive mistakes from happening. Those are value pieces that you bring, and that has not changed; whether it’s virtual or in-person, none of it has changed.
Number two: the reason for a first appointment is to help the client and move their job forward. You should also give them good value. From your side of the project, that first appointment also allows you to get deep enough into the job, uncover what’s going on, and to be paid for it at the same time. It’s your opportunity to figure out if it’s the right client and job for you.
Now, in the case mentioned above, this person has already demonstrated that they are not the kind of client you’re looking for, because they’re trying to diminish your price right away. If you step into an arrangement with them, work for them, and even go forward from there, you know what? It doesn’t get better; it will get worse. You will experience disrespect, and no nobody wants that.
And then third, if you want to do a kind of a pandemic or living in place offer for right now, the best interior design business advice I can give you is to make sure that you indicate or show clearly what the base price for the project. Don’t lose the price of $495, as mentioned in the story. You could tell your client that you normally do the work for $495, but right now, they could save $200. Tell them you’ll do it for $295 because you want to reach out and help more people. Let them know you can solve lots of problems that are going on in their home right now and figure out how you’re going to pitch that. But the idea behind it is that you want to hold on to that base price, and not diminish it.
You don’t want to go from $495 to $295, and then you’re stuck at $295. Then, you will have to build it back up again. Don’t do it; it took you too long to get there. I know you worked really hard to get there. So do not give it up, but make an offer for now with an open heart and do things for people, but keep your value in place.
Move Beyond Disruption & Shift into a New Kind of Business
Now, I want to say to you that disruption is the place where growth and change happens. Disruption is the context for growth and change.
So if you’re feeling needy and scared, and you grab on to somebody like that potential client, what’s going to happen going forward as we come out of this, is that you’re going to continue to attract that kind of person. Then you’re going to be miserable for several years because that’s not what you want. I know that’s not what you want. On the other hand, if you decide to honor your value, stand your ground, feel your self-worth, and realize that your value is still intact whether you’re in person or not, or how many hours or whatever it is, your value is still there.
When you make your offers with that mindset and that kind of energy behind it, you will attract the ideal client you’re looking for. You will attract the person who will happily pay you, be thrilled with what you’re doing, and be a joy to work with. So, if you’re looking for this kind of support in your business. If you’re looking to use this disruption as a starting point to shift into something new, then you might want to check out what we do in our Growth, Structure, and Masters Programs.
We’re happy to have a conversation with you. All you need to do is click on the link below, and it will take you to a calendar to choose your day and time. Then you’ll get to sit down with one of our coaches and find out if one of our education programs is a good fit for you. This is something that could move you forward into a whole new kind of business as we come out of this on the other side.
Until then, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.