As a decorating store in Midland, TX, I have built up a steady stream of repeat clients who are dedicated to my business. Recently, there has been a real concern from customers asking me if things are as easy as they seem on television. Their questions range from, “Can I really sew my window treatments that quickly?” to “Installing flooring looks simple, can I really complete the project?” and “Is it that inexpensive to repair my cracked wall and ceiling?”
Could you please offer some true-to-life answers for these clients, as I seem to be loosing some of my business?
SOLUTION: As professionals in the decorating field, we know that any type of home remodel or decorating solution does not come easy. Television appears to make everything seem so quick and easy. There is a lot of editing done to those shows and much of the real work gets compressed into mere seconds of airtime! Behind the scenes is where it all happens, from that first encounter with the client to the completion of the project at hand.
The best way to deal with this dilemma is to be upfront and honest with each client and answer their questions fully and honestly. Conduct a meeting with the client and layout the true-to-life scenario of processes, costs, materials, labor, quality of work, etc. This procedure will look a lot different diagramed out on paper, than having the customer try to understand all the procedures from a 30-minute television program that seems to make the whole project so simple. It is better for you to know the pitfalls of each project before it begins and to explain them to the client.
Clients today are becoming more savvy and are more aware of various costs and procedures. One thing they sometimes do not understand, however, is the time and effort it takes to complete the project. Interior design and decorating professionals specialize in many of the quick-fix projects that are presented on television and can share the ins and outs of the problems and challenges that arise in the different phases of a project.
A good idea to help solve the problem is to design a simple brochure that lays out the costs and comparisons of five of the most common projects that should be completed by a professional, based on the type of business that you offer the client. This also will serve as a marketing tool for homeowners. Staple your business card to the brochures and have them readily available to clients as they walk into your place of business. Also, try distributing them at business events and new homes in the area.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.