All Things Taj

  • Be Sincere in Your Practice

    Days run into weeks run into months...yes, I've been running!  And, I am very grateful and thankful for this hectic-ness.  My practice definitely has it peaks and valleys.  There are times when I get over-booked and terribly stressed out on looming deadlines.  Then, there are times when things slow down and I'm still running, in full force Business Development mode and projects are slow to get started.  

    One of the biggest challenges I find as a creative entrepreneur is developing that "client pipeline".  I am constantly in that networking mode - even in moments of leisure - looking for opportunities or ways to offer a different level of value to potential and existing clients.

    I've been fortunate to "grow" with my clients and that's an awesome thing.  The most interesting thing about it is that it happens very organically.  It wasn't my master plan at the onset but, from my most sincerest perspective on how to resolve the problems they present me with, my scope of work grows.

    If you happen to be a professional service provider {of any sort} what can you do so that your client grows beyond one project:

    1. Listen.  The most important skill is to really listen to the issues the client is presenting.  I see beyond the defined project scope my client is presenting.  From a clients point of view, they are concerned with cost and have every intention to define a specific project to get an affordable price.  From my perspective, this is just a starting point.  I recently designed a Home Office for a client and, from our initial meeting, I realized there were many challenges throughout her home surrounding a lack of organization.  She's an extremely busy professional woman and her home office project was merely a quick fix for a much larger issue.  
    2. Ask questions.  If you are truly concerned about helping your client and solving their issues, ask questions beyond the project at hand.  From the information you gather in step 1, this should lead to a slew of questions relevant to other areas of the clients project, home, life, etc.  In my client scenario above, the more questions I asked allowed me to grow the contract into professional organizing services and, not just for this location, but for a second house she owned as well.  Most importantly, the more questions I asked, the more advice I offered freely and ideas I shared.  This established a great deal of trust.
    3. Be sincere.  My client clearly needed assistance from a person she felt she could rely upon and would have her best interest at heart.  As a design professional, I provide a very personal service and always offer to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement when working in clients homes.  You have to be legitimately sincere about solving your client's challenges and that, I am.  I was never required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and I still have keys for my clients properties and provide ad hoc services as she needs me.

      To become a trusted professional service provider comes from one's own authenticity.  Thankfully, as a result of the relationships I have developed, I now have several similar stories to the one above.  The source of my professional pride doesn't come from designing a home, taking pictures and never calling the client again.  I feel most successful when my client relationships are nurtured, they randomly call me for related advice, and refer me to their friends.  That, for me, is my truest measure of success!

       

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