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Tap Into the Secrets to Selling Your Design Services Without Feeling Self-Promotional

business development for interior designers generate leads for design business generating leads how to sell how to start an interior design business sales advice sales tips selling tips small business strategies Jul 28, 2023
How to sell your interior design services without feeling self promotional

As an interior designer, your ultimate goal is to sell your services and make a living doing what you love. However, the idea of promoting yourself and your work can be daunting. You may feel like you’re coming across as self-promoting or pushy when trying to secure new clients. But selling your design services doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or uncomfortable. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and strategies to help you sell your interior design services with confidence and without feeling self-promoting.


Focus on Building Relationships

One of the best ways to sell your interior design services without feeling self-promoting is to focus on building relationships with potential clients. People are more likely to trust and work with someone they know and like.

The first step is to meet new people by attending local events, joining networking groups, and getting involved in your community. Notice that not everyone you meet will turn into a prospect; however, the people you meet may connect you with your next big client.

As you meet new people, begin the relationship by focusing on them rather than you. Don’t assume they need your design services. Rather listen carefully to identify what needs they have and how you can either help them or connect them with someone who can help.

This idea of connecting people outside of your own needs isn’t something new. Some people call it good karma, but a good book to read is “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg.


Meet Someone New

Meeting new people isn’t about collecting business cards. Only exchange business cards if there is an actual need to connect outside of the event.

When you meet someone new, ask questions and genuinely listen to their answers. It is a good idea to practice active listening by repeating or paraphrasing what someone tells you. This lets them know that you are listening and interested in what they have to say.

If the person is an ideal client for your design services, don’t jump into a sales pitch right away. Let them know that you would like to get together again and find out more about their needs.

By networking and meeting new people, you are creating long-term relationships that will help you in your design business. It takes time to build relationships so don’t expect instant results. Be patient and continue to have conversations with the people you meet and connect with them on social media.

It’s also a good idea to connect with people on social media after meeting them in person. I often use LinkedIn to continue the relationship. This will help strengthen the bond between the two of you, so send an invitation when appropriate. I also like following the people I meet on Instagram and connecting on Facebook. Using social media, I can continue to stay on top of mind with a prospect without having to physically reach out. This saves me time.

Be sure to stay in touch by sending occasional emails or messages


Research Your Prospect Before Cold Calling

Nothing is more irritating than receiving a sales pitch that clearly doesn't serve my needs. I can often tell when they haven't visited my website or read my profile. Before contacting someone, it's essential to do your research. Find out if they are a potential customer for you and what their needs may be.

Start with reviewing their social profiles. What are they posting and what do they seem to like? What seems important to them? Next, research their professional life. Do they own a business and if so, what is that business?

This way, when you reach out via cold calling or emailing, you can provide value right away by sending information that is relevant to them. It’s important to customize each message with details that will make the recipient feel like you did a bit of work for them. That way, when they do respond to your message, you can have meaningful conversations that lead to sales.


Know When To Follow Up

Following up is essential if you want to generate leads and close deals. You don’t want potential customers slipping through the cracks because you forgot to follow up. Too much following up and you can come off as desperate or annoying.

It's important to find the right balance between reminding prospects without coming across as pushy. Everyone has their own style for following up, so experiment with different approaches until you find one that works best for you.


Build Trust

Building trust with a prospect is a gradual and intentional process. Be honest and transparent in all your dealings with prospects.

Start by demonstrating your expertise and knowledge in your field. This can be done through sharing valuable content, offering useful insights, or providing solutions to their problems. Being able to provide valuable contributions can help establish you as a trusted authority in your industry.

Listening is equally important as speaking. Show genuine interest in their concerns and needs, and provide personalized responses. This shows that you understand their specific situations and are not just selling a generic product or service.

Remember that consistency is key in building trust. Be dependable in your communication and follow through on any promises or commitments made. This reliability shows prospects that they can count on you, further fostering trust.

Finally, be patient. Trust takes time to build and cannot be rushed. Maintain a positive, supportive attitude throughout your interactions and your prospects will be more likely to trust you with their business.


Offer Value

Instead of focusing solely on selling your services, offer value to potential clients by providing free design advice, tips, and ideas. Share your design expertise on social media, through blog posts, and in-person meetings.

Share your portfolio of completed projects and allow them to see the quality of your work. Give your potential clients an idea of what their home or space could look like with your designs, but without any pressure to buy. Studies show that people are more likely to purchase from someone who has given them something of value first.

Another way to build relationships with prospects is to give something of value that costs you very little. For instance, you can offer a lead magnet that will encourage the prospect to join your email list.

If you are looking for local clients, a design workshop or seminar to share your expertise and educate potential clients on design trends and concepts. Invite local professionals and homeowners to attend so they can gain insight from your knowledge while also giving you a chance to show off what you can do.

By providing value to prospects, you are building trust and relationships with them that will eventually result in more business for you. So don’t be afraid to give away some of your expertise!

When you approach potential clients as a friendly and knowledgeable expert rather than just a salesperson, you will find that they’re more receptive to your services.


Be Authentic

People can spot a fake from a mile away, and the same goes for salespeople. Don’t try to be something you’re not to fit into a specific image of what a salesperson should be. Instead, be genuine and authentic in your approach. Share your passion for design and why you love what you do.

Be honest about your experience and expertise, and why you believe that you can bring value to their project. Potential clients are more likely to work with someone who is authentic and transparent.


Differentiate Yourself

There are thousands of interior designers out there, so it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition. Showcase what sets you apart from other interior designers, whether that be your unique design style, expertise in a specific type of design, or approach to client collaboration.

By highlighting what makes you unique, potential clients will be able to see the value in hiring you over someone who doesn’t offer the same benefits. We often refer to a Unique Selling Proposition, USP, which is a statement that identifies the special features that make your services unique.

Your branding statements should reflect your USP. Building a strong brand will help differentiate you from your competitors and sell your design services. Focus on creating effective branding statements that portray the unique qualities of your design services.


Follow Up

Following up after a meeting with potential clients is vital in making sure they remember you and everything you discussed. Sending an email or giving a call shows that you’re eager to work with them, which can make all the difference when it comes to signing a new client.

If you don’t hear back from the client after an initial meeting, it’s okay to follow up and check in with them. You can also ask if there are any additional questions or concerns that they have about your services or portfolio. This is a great way to ensure that your skills and experience stays top of mind for the client.

Make sure that you’re following up at appropriate times and that your communication is professional. No one wants to be hounded by emails, so make sure to stick to reasonable intervals for follow-up communications. Following these simple steps will help keep your potential clients engaged until you close the deal.


Communicate Regularly & Be Responsive

Keep in touch with your prospects regularly. Send them updates about your products or services, industry news, or simply check in to see how they're doing. Regular communication helps keep you top of mind.

Tailor your communication and approach to each prospect based on their unique needs, preferences, and behavior. Personalization can significantly improve engagement and conversion rates.

Respond promptly to any inquiries or concerns. This shows your prospects that you value their time and are eager to assist them.

Show your prospects that you appreciate their interest and time. This could be through a simple thank-you email, a discount, or a special offer.

Selling your interior design services doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable or self-promoting. By focusing on building relationships, offering value, being authentic, differentiating yourself, and communicating professionally, you can sell your services with confidence.

Remember to stay true to yourself, showcase your unique skills, and share your passion for design. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to attract the right clients and grow your interior design business. For more helpful advice, join the Behind the Design Community.

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