‘Don’ts’ don’t matter when promoting your interior design career
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Too many interior designer professionals dwell on their "don'ts."
Don't make that mistake.
Don't tell your prospects and clients about the design experience you don't have. Or the design degrees you don't have. Or the professional affiliations you don't have. Or the product lines you don't carry.
They don't care. Neither should you.
They're much more focused on their design challenges, and whether you can help overcome them. That holds far greater importance to them than the initials after your name, or the certificates on your wall.
Insecurity about their inexperience is especially common among those who are just beginning their interior design careers. Most have little or no "track record," and they're quick to acknowledge that when they apply for a job with an architecture or design firm, or even when they launch their own company.
A better idea would be to steer the discussion to their special skills, or the duties and responsibilities they fulfilled during a college internship, or what aspects of design they have studied. Design industry newcomers will be able to elaborate on their qualifications as their experience grows, but they should accentuate the positive in the meantime.
The most financially successful interior design professionals are the best self-promoters. They realize that, first and foremost, they're selling themselves rather than furniture, fabric or Formica.
The most important time to make that sale is when you're new to the industry — when your experience is minimal and your awards are few. That's when you should create a promotional profile for your website and social media sites that speaks to your skills, know-how and insights.
Don't speak the language of lack. Sharing your shortcomings kills your credibility. Many prospects tune out to the rest of your comments when you preface them with something like "I don't have much experience designing cabinetry like this, but ..."
Prospects are far more interested in what you know than what you don't. They care much more about what you can do than what you can't. They want to know more about the skills you have than those you lack.
Accentuate your assets rather than discuss your deficits. How? For starters, get off your "but."
Eliminate all those phrases that end in "but," and then pick up from there.
Don't say: "We're not the area's largest design firm, but we're the only one that specializes in vacation homes."
Say: "We're the area's only design firm that specializes in vacation homes."
Don't say: "We don't carry as many carpet lines as other showrooms, but we have the largest selection of ceramic tile."
Say: "We have the largest selection of ceramic tile."
Don't say: "I just graduated and don't have work experience, but I've studied kitchen and bath design."
Say: "I've studied kitchen and bath design."
Get the idea?
Your interior design career is a work in progress, and the projects — like your portfolio — will build up over time. In the meantime, use this time to talk about your assets and attributes.
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