You could well be sitting on a land mine or a pot of gold when it comes to satisfying your clients. Have a meeting with your client or holding a brief as they say is important to the success or failure of a design project. Establishing relationships can make or mar you in this business. My advice, never take a job just because it is juicy or you need the money! Always meet with your client and ask them all the questions you can before embarking on their project.
You might wonder…what do I ask my clients? You can start with one of the most important questions of all! What is your budget like? This will save you billable time on either side, your side as you won’t over flog an issue when there is no money to execute, on their side so they won’t build castle in the air for you. This will help you know exactly what you will offer them and also help you determine what actions to take in satisfying your clients’ needs by giving the exactly what they ask for. I burnt my fingers years back when I went all out to do fantastic window treatment for a client who was not ready to pay half of that on window treatment and made a huge loss!
You should always ascertain what their time frame is so this won’t set you up not to deliver on time. When you know exactly what is on their mind, you can plan their project well and not spend too much billable time or any one client at any point in time; this also guarantees you having happy and satisfied clients all the time. Remember, it is the happy customer that will give you referrals. Wink…Lol
It is good to ask if they have worked with an interior consultant before so you can manage their expections, and also help you not to fall into the same trap your predecessors did! Always try to ascertain who foots the bills so you can work your way into their good books, for example, I did a job recently and made sure I satisfied the wife as I believed she owns the home and makes decisions not knowing that the husband foots the bills and would love to have a say as regards colours and all, needless to say, I haven’t been paid complete till date!
Always seek to talk the same money language with your client, people vary and a vintage mirror cost to Mr. A maybe peanuts while to Mrs. B could be outrageous. Know your clients spending power and how they value certain things within a home. Allow your clients to describe their style and preferences to you, while some want modern, others may say traditional, this will make your job easier for you and your ability to please your client far easier.
Never underestimate the willingness of a client to be involved in the day-to-day material purchase and planning. Most clients would love to follow you to make the purchase so to see a variety first hand while some would prefer you to bring samples and leave you to do the leg-work, you can only know this when you speak to your clients. Be sure you are both on the same page before you take on a job.
Allow each client room to think when you give them costs and designs before you start a project. An indecisive customer can run your profit to zero if you do not give them ample time. It is always good to ask them this before you start so you grant them that allowance as regards project timing. I have realised, from experience, Nigerians can be very erratic in decision making, so always give room for impromptu changes! It can be awkward I tell you…Lolol…
There are loads of write ups on holding briefs for interior decorators, make sure you read up on these before you make consulting blunders. That is why Google is there, like I always say, if Google doesn’t help you find it, who will? Lol…share with me what you find, we all learn everyday! Thanks
Pictures here are most of my works done and a few pictures from friends, Paul Akinola of Affordable Furnishing and Agnes Okoye of Ekua Creations. Love you guys