Savvy Design Sales Pros Create a Signature Experience that includes these 5 Cornerstones.
Our last blog taught us that a Signature Experience is not just for big brands. To create a thriving business, savvy design sales pros know the secret sauce to irresistibility. Incorporate these 5 Cornerstones into your in-home selling process, and you’ll soon be delivering a brand-name signature experience that communicates “I get you” to every client.
Let’s break it down and include some examples.
The first cornerstone is to create a relaxed experience and guide your client through a fun and friendly process that eases their concerns. Even though they might not show it, clients get nervous about their appointment with you. They’re excited, initially, when they first set up the meeting, but doubts creep in quickly.
You face three challenges in any design appointment. First, clients know you’re selling something, and the sales profession has a bad rap. They worry about feeling pressured or getting recommendations that don’t fit their taste or budget.
Second, the title “Designer” can be intimidating to anyone who isn’t one. Clients fear judgment about their home, being pushed into a style or product they dislike, and higher costs. The good news is that you can do something about these challenges, especially the third challenge, which is that the longer you let these doubts linger, the more guarded your client will be when you meet. So, give them a call!
Talking before the appointment will put their mind at ease. You and your client will feel more relaxed as you chat and discover common interests during this conversation. You won’t be strangers on appointment day. Your client will see you as a friend rather than a source of fear.
The next cornerstone is Connection. Finding points of commonality and creating a low-resistance, high-trust relationship takes longer than a surface-level transaction. Don’t be in a hurry to get straight to business. It takes time to really “see” your client and move from stranger to friend. The home tour is a great time to deepen the relationship. You have a backstage pass to your client’s most personal space, where dreams and aspirations are revealed. Pay attention to things other than windows and furniture. Notice details, comment, and ask questions. Show that you are interested and want to know them.
Connection is the first step to trust, which is vital for clients to act on your recommendations. In past VISION Magazine articles, I’ve used brain science and imaging to reveal that trust happens in the limbic or feeling part of the brain. Connection is a feeling. It’s hard to pinpoint why you trust someone, but you feel it, like the feeling you get when you meet someone and immediately know that you click. You can create this with every client if you make it a priority. With intentionality and skill, connection is achievable and necessary for success.
Cornerstone three is to open a captivating story for clients to step into with their own feelings, images, and narratives. Think about the last book or Netflix series that drew you in. Stories are magical, and pros make sure they have signature stories ready.
When you share a story about a previous client facing a similar problem, emphasizing how they felt – like their home wasn’t as comfortable and inviting as they wanted – something like magic unfolds. As you tell the story, the listener takes the words and adds their own images and emotions. Stories are co-creative. As you describe another client’s transformation, your current client envisions themselves in the story. So, instead of focusing on product features and functional issues, invite clients to feel the transformation that will take place in their room. A captivating story that becomes about them and their home is irresistible!
Nowhere can you communicate “I get you” more clearly than in the fourth cornerstone of our signature experience. Functional recommendations that look like everyone else on the block will not make your client feel seen. You won’t motivate them to choose you over others who present the same products at a slightly lower price. Supplying a quote for the same thing as everyone else on the block with no attempt at a more personalized approach is transactional – the opposite of a transformational signature experience.
What sets you apart is helping clients envision what’s possible. Show them unique, tailor-made solutions that fit their tastes, needs, lifestyle, budget, and personality. Describe how they will transform their room and make them proud to host gatherings of friends and family. When they invest in your solution, the window-related discomforts they’ve felt will be a thing of the past.
Let’s use a classic Hero’s Journey story to explain our final cornerstone. Remember that scene in Star Wars when Yoda put his arm around Luke and said, in Yoda-speak, “Wow! Look what you did. You defeated the evil empire! It was scary, and so much was at stake, but you did it. Well done! The world is a better place. Life has been transformed. I’m so proud of you.” Now imagine how bonded and loyal Luke felt toward his trusted guide as they shared that moment.
Loyalty like that translates into repeat and referral business. It comes from affirming the transformation, the ultimate cornerstone of our signature experience. Differentiate yourself by circling back to acknowledge how great the transformation looks. Affirm how inviting and comfortable the room is now. Express genuine appreciation and excitement to hear what friends and family say about their personalized look.
Open a rewarding relationship for life.
The goal is not just to close a sale – although you WILL! A signature experience opens a rewarding relationship for life. You can create the loyalty big brands enjoy by simply creating an experience that communicates the “I get you” feeling in every appointment.
Points of commonality between people are everywhere if we look for them. Just this morning, an example was served up on my morning walk. I noticed a bright orange Jeep in a neighbor’s driveway being loaded up for adventure. Cue the conversation about the Jeep community – and yes, the Jeep wave was the opener. Next thing you know, they are showing me their fruit orchard in the backyard; we’re commiserating because both of our homes had recent slab leaks, and my husband and I are invited to the neighborhood wine-down that we didn’t know happened most Wednesday evenings on their front porch.
While walking through my neighborhood, I used the cornerstones of a signature experience to meet and connect with someone new. You be the judge if the result was serendipitous or intentional. I saw an opening to make these neighbors, formerly strangers, feel like my kind of people. We get each other. It also happens that (wink*) my neighbors know something new after meeting me. They discovered that custom window treatments transform a home and that I know just the people who help guide that transformation.