Welcome back to another fascinating lesson, Redecorators! And boy, do you have your work cut out for you this time… It can be almost painful to smile and nod while customers ask for the impossible. Whether we’re talking about unrealistic budget expectations or just plain old tasteless design ideas, handling clients in this field is a must! It’s a particularly sensitive topic as these people are reaching deep into their pockets to create their dream homes, and tensions are high.
Part of your job as the pro is to not stand by and let them have their way as simple as that – you were brought in to weigh your opinion, and you’ve spent hours perfecting your senses so that your opinion can be valuable in these kinds of situations. You can help explain why some things don’t work together while others do.
Ultimately, the clients will be living in this house, so make sure not to press your point too far along. Showing 2 or 3 options that could work better is not only a nice way to help convince clients but also expected of you as the professional in the situation.
Another important note is that you’re most likely stepping into a solidified relationship with patterns and intrigues of its own. Couples, for example, may not always agree with each other no matter how beautiful the design. Spats and fights between clients can be understandable, as renovating is a hard time for any human being. Your task is to zone in on the parts that they do agree on and try to find a compromise. Certain elements can be combined to create a solution that everyone likes – and if anyone can do it, it’s you!
Some Redecorators were born with the innate ability to sway others and sell them on their own visions, while some of us could use a little extra help!
Here are a few tips we can suggest that may assist you when the day comes:
- The “positive sandwich technique” – in this technique you start off with something good that the client has said, insert your own thoughts, then wrap up with another positive.
Let’s say your customer is fantasizing about a kitchen drenched in blue – we’re talking walls, backsplash, cupboards, everything! As designers, we know too much of a good thing is, well, too much!
Here’s how the “positive sandwich technique” would approach this issue. For example, “I love the idea of going with blue tones for the kitchen!” – positive number one. “I think the cupboards would look even better in white, it’ll really compliment the color scheme” – your own thoughts. “There are so many gorgeous backsplashes with blue tones! We can really make this kitchen pop!” – second positive.
- Talk in “we” language and offer alternatives. Instead of saying “I hate your idea”, as you may wish to say, you can say, “I have another great suggestion”. Try to avoid phrases like, “it could never work, I’ve never seen a house decorated like that,” and replace them with “I’m sure we can find the aesthetic you’re looking for if we just incorporate these colors in the small details like…”
- Be honest, but not mean. Sometimes, when you explain the reasoning behind your design choices, even the toughest clients can come around. Regarding our blue client, you could say, “My fear is that a blue this bright would be a bit overwhelming. If we add the tones we like in the backsplash, handles and wall art, we’d be able to achieve a much more relaxing feel, while keeping the beautiful color present.”
- Thank God for moodboards and 3D models! Creating a visual representation can help sway the client and show them that your idea translates to real-life beautifully.
The client wants XX, but you have a better idea! Create a room that will convince them that they should put their trust in the pros!
Another fun option is to design the room “half and half” and show clients that maybe there is something they might like about the “other half” that they didn’t request. Using every single idea in the same room doesn’t usually work, but it’s a great visual reminder that you can salvage things you like in almost every scene.
Try to design the same space in entirely different ways (the redesign option on Redecor challenges allows you to do that quite easily).
Grab a volunteer friend or family member and try to role-play an insistent client and a pro-Redecorator. See if you can convince them why your room is better than their original vision, all while using the tips we’ve talked about in this lesson. What helped you most? When did you feel like you were being listened to and what made that happen?
Practice makes perfect:
Practice today’s lesson on the Season Pass challenge, “Lesson 6”, going live on September 15th at 3:00 PM UTC