If you're finding that you interior design consultations are not converting into paying customers, it could be that you haven't prepared properly before the meeting.
So what steps do you need to take before you go to the consultation?
Before you go to any interior design consultation you should make sure that you have a telephone or Skype conversation with the potential client to find out a bit more about the project.
Some interior designers send their clients a questionnaire before they visit, asking them what they hope to achieve, what their design style is, and what their budget for decorating, and for design are.
Not only is this helpful information for the interior designer, but it also helps the client to get clear in their mind about what they want from a designer.
If a client has never engaged an interior designer before there can be misconceptions about what is involved.
Some people don't understand that there is a whole design process that goes into getting the perfect room, and it's not just a case of throwing together a few cushions and paint colours. (Trust me, this is more common than you may think!)
During your initial call you can explain to the client how the process works: the fact that the initial consultation is about gathering information and visiting the space, and that it is after this meeting that the design work begins.
You can lay out your payment schedule, explaining the services you provide, and what they can expect to get at each stage.
This level of detail at the outset sets boundaries with your client, and also positions yourself as a professional in your client's mind.
It is really tempting to give away a free consultation, especially if you are a new interior designer. You think (quite logically) that if you give a free consultation, you'll be able to talk them into hiring you and they'll be delighted that you gave them a freebie to begin with.
It doesn't work like that.
If you give away a free consultation, you are 'training' the client to accept free work for you, setting the bar for their expectations of you pretty low). Not only that, but they will expect you to go to the consultation, give lots of advice and then, guess what happens?
They take your good advice and then go and do it themselves for free! Not as well as you would have done of course, but they've still had an hour (or more) of professional advice for free.
If you're still not convinced, check out this whole blog post >>here<<, explaining why charging for your consultation is an absolute no-no.