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Another Designer Dilemma Answered!

“Should you take your clients shopping with you?”

couple shopping for furniture without their interior designer

When you lose control of your design project and the client, you will be amazed at how fast the entire process spirals out of control.

That is exactly what happens when you allow your design client to “go shopping” with you. I would say 99% of time I do not take my clients shopping with me,


First of all, they get overwhelmed, frustrated, and eventually tired of the project all together. I’ve seen it a hundred times with interior designers everywhere. A client is so excited to peek behind the curtains of the glamorous life of a designer, that they insist on going furniture shopping for their room. What they don’t understand is, it’s not really "shopping" at all. It’s more of a thought process / series of eliminations to find just the right piece for a room.

We have to imagine each scenario, make a decision, and then probably change our mind 20 more times before we settle on something that we “think” is going to be perfect. (I save a ton of time during this process with my D.O.N.E system) If it was that easy, they wouldn't need to hire an interior designer at all.

Secondly, they might get too comfortable “shopping” on their own. HUGE MISTAKE!

Why? Because you’ll spend hours creating a beautiful room design that fits the space perfectly both in scale as well as style. You’ve crunched the numbers which includes tax and shipping to make sure it fits in their budget. And based on everything you’ve seen and learned from your client, you know they’ll love it!

Then you get a call from the client and she says she found a sofa that she’s fallen in love with, and the store will give her 50% off and she wants it. UHGGG! Back to the drawing board! Time is money, and now it’s your turn to get frustrated and overwhelmed with the wasted time she’s just cost you.

And finally, you’ll be hurting the connection and trust that you have worked so hard to build thus far. Your design clients will start to doubt your talent and your professionalism. It’s a lot like sausage. No really! I love sausage, but have you ever seen it made? Gross. It took a while before I could enjoy a sausage egg McMuffin again.

You’re taking away a little of the interior designer mystery which can lead to a disappointing experience for both you and your client in the end.

What I mean by this is the space design in your head has many moving pieces. That design can quickly change based on product availability, price, or size. You may end up driving all over town searching for a particular furniture piece and it can be a little frustrating to us, but then again, we never complain about looking at fabric or furniture. To Interior Designers like us, it’s actually enjoyable. But to an overwhelmed design client who is writing the checks, it can be downright exhausting! You’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing and that you’re just wasting time. (and we all know what that =’s)

So what’s the conclusion? Don’t take your design clients shopping! I know it’s not always that simple. There are those controlling clients who insist, and in this case you’ve probably missed a step in your House Call System.

Maybe they really need to sit and touch a sofa or chair in order to make an informed decision. Of course there are ways around those pushy clients, and that’s exactly the type of thing that I teach in my Design for a Living Boot Camp, Turn Your Passion Into Profits. Years ago when I was a young designer I cracked the code to dealing with problem design clients like this, and over the years I’ve perfected the techniques. In fact most of you have probably already made this mistake and didn’t even realize how easily it could have been prevented.

That’s why we need to continue to share and learn from each other. If you want a fast track to the problem design client solutions, and get right to the heart of simplifying your design business, then you should join us in the Boot Camp. I only teach “If I knew then what I know now” techniques. You’ll learn exactly what to say and do to remain in control and come out as the hero designer that you know you are!

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