Woo And Close

Sandra Funk, founder of House of Funk and the Interior Design Standard, shares secrets to landing your dream client

Wooing and closing dream clients is an integral part of running a successful interior design firm. I’ve spent the last fourteen years refining my potential client (PC) process for joy and efficiency. The key is to have a tight process in place so that if a PC calls six months or two years after the first contact, it feels familiar to them.

In addition to being tight and consistent, you want a process that makes sure the PC is heard and taken care of from that very first contact, all the way through to signing the agreement and starting the project. Here’s how my process is set up to woo and close clients in three phases.

Phase 1: Identify and market to your ideal client avatar

Define your ideal client avatar by reviewing your favorite clients and most profitable projects. Create a fictional, mystical being that has all of the very best traits – this is your ideal client avatar. Now, all of your marketing should be speaking directly to that avatar.

Doing this ensures that your ideal client connects with your messaging and reaches out about your services. By the time your dream client calls, you’ve already done half the job of wooing them, because you’ve been speaking directly to them all along.

Phase 2: Screen your PC to decide if they’re the right fit

Prior to scheduling the initial meeting, my office has a call with each potential client. We utilize our initial call template to capture all essential information (everything from how they want to feel in the space, to members of the family, to what furniture is staying). This helps us determine if we’re a fit.

I do not charge for the initial meeting, as I would never put a barrier between myself and my ideal client. The caveat: By the time I’m meeting with the prospective client, we have vetted the client to make sure that all of the boxes are checked (house value, project scope) and checked for red flags.

Phase 3: Present your design agreement in person

After the initial meeting, I invite all decision makers back to my office to meet the team and to walk through the design agreement. I wrap up the meeting by asking for their signature and payment to secure their start date. If they prefer to crunch on it, I suggest a follow-up phone call date and time.

Meeting in person, versus sending the agreement over email, is the only way to close the sale. Even dream clients have a hard time wrapping their heads around what it costs to execute full-service design. An in-person meeting clinches the deal and allows me to further explain our process, timelines, and investment.

The art of following up

If they aren’t ready to sign on the spot, schedule a follow-up call a week later and offer another meeting to answer questions. Send flowers or a small gift with a handwritten note that shares your excitement about working together. All of my follow-up communication includes the age-old language of assuming the sale (i.e. “I can’t wait to get started on your project,” rather than “I hope we can work together.”)

If the client signed the agreement and paid the design fee, we move right into their full-service process. There are many nuances to wooing and closing potential client leads. To learn more about these – and see the full range of resources we have developed for professional designers – check out our Trade Resources.

About Sandra Funk

Sandra Funk is the CEO and Principal Designer of House of Funk, a full-service interior design firm with offices in NY and NJ. House of Funk creates thoughtful homes with an emphasis on clean lines and soulful touches, all rooted in tradition. She is also an Accredited Professional for the Sustainable Furnishings Council. In Spring 2020, Sandra is launching the Interior Design Standard – a template for designers based on the streamlined processes and profitable business format she has developed over almost two decades in the interior design industry.