3 Massive Mistakes Sure to Kill Your Business
In speaking with hundreds of design professionals like you over the last decade, I have found three major mistakes that are costing you untold success. They are simple to fix, but do require focus and effort. It is about establishing new success habits to replace old ineffective patterns of behavior. Having done things differently in my own practice, I know what works! Once you know what isn't, you are half way to the solution.
Quoting Your Rate Too Soon
I hear this all the time from design professionals! When a prospect asks "how do you work" the last thing you share is your rate or fee. The first thing you must do is to determine if they are a fit for your business, and secondly find out about them and start building the relationship. This way, by the time you get to your rate, they already have a clear understanding of your value proposition and you will eliminate any resistance. Design professionals are not hired by rate, but instead hired on portfolio, personality, and talent.
Failure to Follow Up
I have actually gotten design projects because another design professional failed to follow up and I did. It sounds crazy but it's true. Following up isn't difficult but it does require attention to detail. After the initial consultation, you agree to follow up in a specific time frame, mine is usually 72 hours, yours may be longer. Be sure that if for any reason you can't make the deadline you have given, you let them know so they aren't left hanging. And once you make a proposal, follow up a day or two later or tell them when you'll be in touch again and be in touch. When you get the job (and you will) be sure you stay in regular contact, give them updates weekly by email or phone (depends on the client). Be sure to thank them regularly also. You can never be too gracious.
Missing Marketing Opportunities
Most design professionals have a terrible habit of only marketing when their funnel is dry, when their business is strapped, when they are a bit (or very) desperate. This is a colossal mistake. It is vital to market every day. We are not designers as much as we need to become marketers of design services. Schedule marketing activities as a significant portion of every day or for two full days a week.
Marketing can be as simple as following up with contacts you met at a networking event by phone or note card (email is what everyone else does, be different!), or more complex with a multi-card mailing over several months to targeted prospects. It is wise to have a plan crafted at the start of each year that you can make changes to as necessary but provides a strong overall result based on goals you set. For marketing to be meaningful it must be measurable, trackable, and targeted.
Now that you are aware, you can avoid these common pitfalls in business and take the necessary steps to implement new success habits! Learn to profit from your passion.
By Melissa Galt
Photography by Nikola Hristovski
Melissa Galt is the Lifestyle Diva and her interior designs can be found online at melissagaltinteriors.com and on Facebook and Twitter by name. Get in touch, why wait another day to get the top design you've been missing?