What Do I Say?
Today, we’re going to talk about how to say no to your clients gracefully. There are great scripts you can use to answer even the most terrible questions in a way that honors both you and your clients.
For example, last week, a designer was meeting with a potential remodeling client who requested direct contact information for a contractor. No.
Or how about when they love the chairs you selected and want to know where you got them? No.
And no, they can’t have your painter’s phone number to hire them for another project.
How do you explain that to the client when they may not understand that their questions are out of line?
When it comes to the request for contractor contact information, you can say, “I’d be happy to do that but let’s talk about your job a little more so that we can tell him our plans and provide some drawings. That way, we don’t waste your time or his. And, there are different contractors for different kinds of jobs. We need a plan so I can recommend the right person for the job.”
Don’t cave. Make sure you get your part of the job in first.
Now, the example about the chairs. How many times have you gotten a question like that? This one is easy. Just give them your company name and tell them you’d be happy to order it for them.
They are fishing for information, and maybe they don’t realize that they’re discounting what you do, but that’s how it feels when they try to go around you.
How do you respond when someone wants the name of your painter for a project? “I’m sure he’d like to do a project for you. Just let me know when you want him, and I’ll send him over!”
Something else we often run into is when somebody is trying to figure out what their job would cost, and they ask what your hourly rate is.
You and I both know that your hourly rate doesn’t have anything to do with what the job will cost, but that’s all they know to ask.
In this common scenario, it is best to tell them you’re happy to discuss your fees, but you’ll need to know more about their project. Flip it and get them talking by asking them more questions.
Once you know more, you can explain that you work on a fee basis, and the scope of their project puts the cost at a specified amount.
Just smooth over the hourly rate because even though it shows up in your letter of agreement regarding things that get out of scope, you don’t ever want to lead with that information.
One of the most important things about doing fee-based design is having firm boundaries and limits on what you will provide.
Clients like it because they know what they’re going to get. And you know what you have to do to fulfill your contract. It’s a much easier way to work.
We need to be able to say “No,” gracefully by turning it around to say yes differently. Say yes with boundaries that keep you in control and prevent them from pushing the issue.
Watch the video above to learn more about our scripts at Interior Design Business Academy. I model them for you to hear so you can practice them in a way that comes naturally to you.
That’s an essential part of what we do. It’s also an important part of what’s in The Real Deal, which is coming up in just a few weeks. If you don’t have your seat yet, you need to grab it!
The Real Deal is the three-day training I do that teaches you how to do an exploratory agreement on a remodeling project, so you get the entire scope and budget in one place. The result will be bigger fees, more control, better jobs, and happier clients. You don’t want to miss it!
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.