Publish July 8, 2024
WHERE & HOW to find great clients!
person looking through binoculars

As we approach the big holiday, let’s focus on honing networking skills to boost our interior design businesses. Even in the digital age, in-person networking remains incredibly effective in finding great clients and building valuable relationships.

The Power of In-Person Networking

According to Forbes, 85% of business owners believe that face-to-face interactions foster stronger relationships. As interior designers, these relationships are crucial for long-term, detailed projects. Good rapport with clients and vendors can significantly enhance project success.

Common Networking Mistakes

Online-Only Networking

Many designers rely solely on online networking, which should complement—not replace—in-person interactions.

Networking in the Wrong Places

Not all networking events are beneficial. Vet groups carefully. Ideal events include those with high-end builders, realtors, cabinet makers, or other vendors who align with your goals. Attend an event as a guest to evaluate its potential.

Being Too Pushy

Networking is about relationship-building, not immediate selling. Approach interactions as opportunities to connect rather than hard-sell occasions.

Effective Strategies for Successful Networking

Set Goals

Before attending events, set specific goals. Aim to meet, for example, two new builders or connect with three potential vendors.

Follow Up

After the event, follow up with personalized messages referring to your discussions. This shows genuine interest and helps solidify connections.

Ask Meaningful Questions

Build genuine connections by asking revealing questions, such as:
– “What’s your sweet spot client?”
– “What was your favorite recent project?”
– “What’s a current challenge in your business?”

Leveraging the Power of Referrals

Referrals are incredibly powerful. Dale Carnegie’s research shows that 91% of customers would give referrals, but only 11% of professionals ask for them. To comfortably ask for referrals, try: “I have some openings in my schedule and would love to work with you again. If you have any opportunities or know someone who could benefit from my services, I’d love the chance to discuss it.”

Re-engage Past Clients and Vendors

Remind them of successful past projects and express a desire to collaborate again. This approach portrays you as a strategic businessperson rather than desperate.

Financial Impact of Networking

Referred customers have a 59% higher lifetime value, emphasizing the importance of strong referral sources. Maintain strong relationships with key vendors and clients to maximize these high-value referrals.

Networking doesn’t have to be daunting. By setting realistic goals, asking meaningful questions, and focusing on building genuine relationships, you can significantly boost your interior design business.

For more insights and detailed techniques, join my Sales for Introverts workshop—sign up here.

Wishing you a productive holiday weekend filled with new networking opportunities! Thank you for joining me today. Until next time, take care.

Listen to the full episode here and make sure to keep up with my other blog posts!