Meeting your first interior design client is bound to feel daunting. You’ll not only hope they fall head over heels in love with your designs, but you must convey your professionalism, expertise, and dependability to secure a project.
As first impressions matter, you must ensure you impress a potential client from the first meeting, which could lead to a long-lasting relationship. If you’ve recently launched an interior design business, ensure you don’t put one foot wrong by learning how to wow your first client.
Appear Friendly and Engaging
Despite feeling eager to discuss your design ideas as soon as you sit down with a client, you must aim to strike a rapport with a client first. Before discussing deadlines, budgets, and materials, take a genuine interest in your client’s life. A little small talk will make you appear friendly and engaged in what they have to say, which could lead to a stronger connection.
Consider the information you will need from your first meeting with a client to ensure you cover every base. Jot down a list of questions to ask before a meeting, and you could even send it to a client beforehand to give them time to consider their answers. It will not only ensure a client is 100% happy with their responses, but you will appear professional and organized, which are valuable qualities in an interior designer.
Build an Impressive Portfolio
An interior design portfolio will provide a client with an insight into your talent, style, and ability. Convince them you’re the right person for a project by creating a portfolio filled with interior design ideas that will blow them away.
As this is your first client, you can use examples from a loved one’s home that you have transformed. Alternatively, you can create photorealistic 3D designs using 3D modeling software programs that are like Sketchup but more affordable and easier to use. Impress a client by organizing real and 3D designs by room type and style, too, which will allow them to easily explore your different projects during a meeting.
Listen to Your Client’s Ideas
Your client will likely have many ideas or a vision for what they want in their home. Listening to their wants and needs and responding thoughtfully will prove you understand their goals. It will reassure a client that you have a firm understanding of their wishes, which will increase confidence in your ability. If they’re happy to proceed, you’ll need to focus on drawing up a floor plan and creating 3D visualizations before the next meeting.
Remember, if you’re unsure about an idea, ask the client questions to avoid misunderstandings down the road. For example, if you don’t know their preferred colors or style, ask them to send image inspirations to make informed interior design decisions.
Work on Nonverbal Communication
Don’t underestimate the importance of non-verbal communication. Your body language, facial expressions, and posture can determine a client’s confidence in your ability. Earn their trust by looking them in the eye, smiling naturally, and prove you’re listening with small nods. Also, sit up straight and don’t cross your arms to appear open and friendly. A relaxed, confident approach will make a client feel more comfortable in your presence, which will improve their engagement when listening to your ideas and reviewing your designs.
Dress Like a Designer
Your clothing will provide a client with their first insight into your taste and personal style. If your clothes are colorful or busy, they might believe your designs will be the same. Wow, your first client by wearing clothes that appear elegant and expensive, which will help you ooze success, confidence, and sophistication.
A few luxe accessories could take your style to the next level, such as a stylish watch, a silk scarf, or expensive jewelry. Remember to add a splash of color into an outfit to appear more like a creative and less like a lawyer. Whatever you do, wear clothing that reflects your style.
Banish Anxiety Before a Meeting
Naturally, you might have some butterflies in your stomach before your first interior design meeting. Yet, you shouldn’t allow your anxious feelings to dent your confidence. Eliminate nerves by looking in the mirror and adopting a power pose for five minutes before meeting with a client. The pose will make you feel strong, powerful, and more confident in your ability, which will shine through when talking to a prospective client about an interior design project. Meditation and deep breathing might also calm your nerves and increase your self-confidence.
Prep Your Bag with Essentials
Ensure you feel 100% prepared for a meeting with your first interior design client by prepping your bag with essential items, such as:
- A notepad and pen
- Your portfolio
- Ruler tape
- A camera for taking photos of the property
- Interior design magazines to review with a client for ideas
Know What to Talk About During the First Meeting
Your first meeting will provide an opportunity to ask important questions about an interior design project, which your client may expect. In addition to talking about their wants and needs, you must discuss the project budget to ensure you can deliver on your promises.
If a client asks for an estimate, discuss the number of hours you will need to spend on the project and send a quote following the meeting. However, money talk shouldn’t dominate the first meeting, as you must use this time to learn about your client, strike up a rapport, and convince them of your expertise.
Pay Close Attention to the Small Details
A good designer listens carefully to the small details during the first meeting. For example, you’re bound to impress a client by adding a feature they love into an interior design, such as their favorite artist or animal. Jot down little details to incorporate your client’s likes into your vision, which will make a room feel more personal to them. It will convince them they made the right choice during a second meeting.