How Can Interior Designers Successfully Sell Furniture From Catalogs and Designs From Drawings?

I’ve been coaching interior designers from all over the world for about 5 years now, and they often write to me and ask questions. Believe it or not, the same questions come from all over and from everyone. Do you know what that means? You’re not alone! All designers have the same kind of fears and encounter the same type of problem design clients. So here’s just one of those questions, and then my tried and true solution to that tricky design business situation that all interior designers face.

As interior designers, we’re selling a dream, a vision. I know that you’re an artistic creative person or you wouldn’t be an interior designer, so get creative and think outside the box.

When it comes to your designs, you need to do whatever you need to do to get your ideas across. You can use virtual mood board, design pictures, rendering or drawings, and fabric samples but the most important tool you have is your words.

You know that your design is the best possible design for their room and if your design client would just trust your opinion, they would be ecstatic with their beautifully designed home. It’s important to understand that people buy what they want, not what they need. When you describe your design or a specific furniture piece, tap into words that invoke feeling and emotions. As you’re showing your client your final design presentation, remember to romance the presentation and speak to their lifestyle.

“The chair in this picture isn’t it beautiful? It’s really soft and squishy and you just sink in when you sit in it. The wingback cradles your head, and then you can put your feet up on the ottoman. It will be so relaxing to sit there with your baby and read her home improvement bedtime stories, etc.”

I didn’t just sell them a family room chair; I sold them an emotion of sitting with their daughter and putting their feet up for a change. Of course you need to tailor it to your client. You need to be authentic and heart centered. Make it real for the situation of the client.

It’s also incredibly helpful to know your furniture venders and the specific pieces that you’re recommending for your design. Be able to compare the dimensions to pieces that the client is familiar with. You can mention specifics like “this new chair is more than 4″ wider and 6″ deeper than your current chair. You mentioned that you didn’t feel like you could curl up and share the space with your daughter.” By comparing to something that they can see and touch in person, you’re giving them a sense of familiarity.

You see the difference between “Here’s a chair with pretty fabric” and “This beautiful, deep, down filled chair that squishes in and cradles you when you sit and put your feet up.”? This is the biggest advice I can give to new interior designers for how to sell something you can’t see. It doesn’t matter if your design clients can’t see it; they want to buy the emotion or the feeling that it is going to give them.

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