Selling interior design online is here to stay. I've got to tell ya though that it isn't about just slapping up a website and just hoping that people will just buy your services from you like you're the Amazon of Interior Design. It just don't happen that way, and I know that I had that pipe dream right there.
I put up my website and then sat there, just waiting for people to recognize my brilliance like a dick.
There is this age of old skill called "selling" that still has to be a part of the whole thing.
I can see you now, flopping back in your chair, rolling your eyes and putting the two fingered gun to your head.
Selling ourselves can be downright scary. It means that you have to be your own pimp, but if you don't pimp yourself no one else will.
Sure you can pay for ads, guest blog, start convo with peeps, share content, etc. but if you don't ask for the sale, you don't make money.
Now, before you get ready to sell yourself you need to make damn sure your website is sick.
Now that we have that out of the way, I don't know about you - but there still seems to be two camps out there on selling interior design thinking there is a difference between eDesign and Local design. There isn't. That is just a method of delivering your genius.
Now that we've got all of that out of the way - here's how you sell interior design online.
Selling Interior Design Online Tip #1: Have Conversations That Close
Invite them to have a chat with you, we aren't doing the free consult thing. Promise.
First, have them fill out an application to chat with you. Yes, the chat is free with you, but they can jump through a hoop if they are interested (and not some cheap a-hole). This chat is where you will want to listen more than do all the speaking.
Your application gets them to tell you what help they are looking for and what their timeline is. Asking for their budget can lead to "I don't know what my budget is/I ain't even going to tell you what my budget is because you'll spend it all you crazy designer!" so you can leave it out for now.
Before you even get on the call, outline your conversation or write your own script. You must take control of the convo and don't let them lead you.
Example: Yo, yo, yo Betty! So today I'll ask you about your design dilemma and you'll tell me about it. Then will see if there is a way for you and I to work together and we'll go from there. How does that sound?
You're skipping the 'how are you' question that leads to the inevitable: She tells you every little fucking detail she's been obsessing over in her home for the last six months that her husband can't stand to listen to anymore. Eff that noise.
Instead you ask her the questions, what's her problem, how has not having a solution to this problem been an issue for her (aka what's this costing her: time, money, sanity), how you can solve her problem.
Selling Interior Design Online Tip #2: Present The Solution
Now that Betty told you her problem, this is your opportunity to tell her your solution.
"Betty, would you like to find out more about my design service and how it will help you solve this design dilemma?"
She says yes and you outline your design service. Then shut the eff up after you've outlined it all. Let Betty absorb. The next one to speak will be Betty.
Betty then pipes up and wants to know how much this will cost her (if she hasn't seen the price on your website) or she may ask you more questions.
Answer what she needs - then pause and let her either say "Let's do this" and collect payment over the phone OR answer her objections.
Selling Interior Design Online Tip #3: How To Seal The Deal When She Gets Cold Feet
At this point in the convo, Betty might start to get cold feet and want to tell you that she has to ask her husband. Like he fucking cares. He's tired of listening to her blather about this problem. What she is really telling you is that she's scared to move forward. She knows she should do this, but it's scary!
Now, you don't have to panic either, though. Remember when you directed this convo - you asked her what this was costing her by not having a solution. You just wanna help her, now be her Designer BFF - tell her:
"Look, Betty. I know this is scary, but you told me your husband is aboutthisclose to burning the house down. And you've been wasting all this money on things that aren't working. I can help you get this done and solved. You know you need help and I want to help you get this done so you don't have to keep living your life this way."
Let Betty absorb this. And now - ask for a small deposit for Betty to get in on your project calendar. Let her know that you'd love to work with her, but she needs to secure her spot because your calendar fills up quickly and you'd hate for her to not get this problem solved.
This is about lighting a fire under her ass. She needs you to be that good Designer BFF and get her into action. Help her get her problem solved. Be the leader that shows her the light.
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.