So things are moving along smoothly with your business clients. You listen closely, you explain to them how you work, and you deliver your services and exceed their expectations. But you start to get that little uncomfortable feeling again, and after some time, you are able to put your finger on it. Yes, you are giving your clients what they want, but are you educating them on your other services that they also may want?
One of my clients found and hired me after reading several articles that I had written for our local newspaper. She said she enjoyed my writing and felt that the things I had to say about design made a lot of sense to her.
We started working together, and she made it very clear that she was a hands-on person. She wanted to decorate on her own and use me as a consultant to help validate and confirm her decisions while working her way through her projects. Or so I thought.
We spent several months working together – she would explore options for decorating, and we would meet and discuss the things she had done and what she wanted to do next. I gave guidance to her projects and pointed out things that were working well and other things that I thought might be getting off track of the overall design concept.
After several months our appointments grew and further and further apart and eventually tapered off all together. The relationship ended amicably enough; I would run into her on occasion around town and we always had pleasant conversations. Sometime later, I learned she had hired another designer. Not only that, but they had done tons of new and exciting things in her home, like painted ceilings with a faux finish and custom window treatments with tons of embellishments!
I was confused. I was so sure that I had done exactly as my client wanted. I had guided her through her projects and kept her from going wrong. Isn’t that just what she asked for? Well, apparently not. Somewhere along the line, whether she was aware of it or not, she wanted more design help than just guidance. She wanted someone to not only guide her project, but to actually lead the project. To take her ideas and grow them into new ideas, some of which she wanted to have done for her, rather than doing herself.
If there was one thing I wasn’t doing, it was suggesting new and different services that I offer. I couldn’t even remember the last time that I had suggested a service to her that was within the design project but beyond her own hands own approach. If I had occasionally suggested to her other services that I offered, I could have given her the opportunity to let me help her more than I already was. Because I didn’t, she found someone else who would.
Don’t let this happen to you. Be pro-active in offering additional services and suggestions in new ways to fit their needs, needs they may not even know.