So you think you’re a professional designer and/or contractor…
Do you actually do the things that real professionals do?
Does it show in your results? Are you closing sales? Do you have super happy clients?
So what does it mean to “show off your professionalism”?
It doesn’t mean that you should be cocky and brag about how great you are, nor should you act like a know-it-all.
To me, it means demonstrating that you are the one who cares the most and listens the best. Ultimately, by proving that this is true, you’ll become your clients’ go-to designer and contractor for all their projects.
You are going to dazzle your clients with your ability to ask all of the right questions and then listen with anticipation to their answers.
You’ll show them how you can not only lead them through the process of getting what they want but that you can do it within their budget.
You will help them visualize what their project will look like by showing them fantastic CAD drawings with 3D views. You’ll suggest layout ideas and material choices while demonstrating your knowledge of the industry.
In a nutshell, you are the one who will take the time necessary to make sure your client gets what he or she wants. It will be a project they will be proud of and one they can show off to their family and friends.
Most importantly, this will be a pleasant experience for your client because they decided to work with a professional like you.
Take a few minutes and make a list of the things that you think you do better than your competition. Why do your customers love you?
By the way, this list is called your “Value Proposition”. It becomes part of your presentation. It can also be a big confidence booster for you. You’ll remind yourself that you’re pretty darn good at what you do.
When I would meet with my prospects back in my remodeling days, I would make a point to ask a lot of questions and then listen intently to their answers. I learned how to lead people through the design process by asking well-thought-out questions.
The thing that took me a long time to get comfortable with was charging for my design services. I didn’t understand the value I was bringing to the marketplace with my many years of experience and education.
Once I realized this, things changed dramatically in my business.
As soon as I started charging for my design services, it became apparent to me that I was suddenly working with a much better group of clients. They were more engaged in the design process and our relationship was much more professional.
They learned they could trust me to take care of them, and I could trust them not to bullshit me.
Soon I was able to make my design services a profit center in my business. I was creating a system that was giving me the confidence to charge what I was actually worth.
So much of what we do (and don’t do) is dictated by what we think. Our thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies. If we believe that we can’t do something, we can’t. If we feel we can do something, we can. (Or at least, the odds go up substantially.)
I was having a conversation with an interior designer many years ago. I knew how great her work was, but she was telling me how frustrated she was because she wasn’t very busy.
During our conversation, I learned that she was only charging $85 per hour for her services. I suggested she raise her rates for $125. She didn’t know if that was possible, but she agreed to give it a go.
Three months later, we had a meeting where she told me that she was busier than ever after raising her hourly rate to $150.
So what happened? She discovered that she had been undervaluing her services. She had self-imposed limits on her value.
Once she raised her rates, she found out that she was now getting contacted by the types of clients that could afford her services. She ended up with more customers and more of the kind of work she wanted to do.
Understand where you are as a professional, appreciate your value and be confident in your ability to get people happily involved in working with you.
You and your clients will be glad you did.
To Your Success,
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