Over my 16 years in the industry the way we communicate and interview with clients has drastically changed. It used to be a phone call, face to face meeting, and hundreds of pictures from magazines kicked off each project interview. Now it usually starts with an online request for a meeting, an email or two to coordinate the schedule, maybe a phone call, and then the sharing of idea books on Houzz.
When I started in the field the first meeting with clients was more of a “here is who we are and what we do” or “do you design houses” and now it is more of “so when can we get started?” In the space where clients used to interview me to figure out if I am the right fit for their project, they are simply wanting to get started with design. The interview process on their side has already taken place from reading my blog and my about me page and searching our website. They know me before they meet me. I have put all my information online for them to consider making it easy for them to know they can trust me.
Our use of Houzz has also helped as past clients have written reviews about their experiences with me during design. Builders have written about their experience using our drawings and project partners have indicated positive experiences working with us. The most important tool we use on Houzz are the ideabooks. Here clients can share their thoughts, desires, dreams – using pictures and text. They can save a picture of a house to tell me what colors they like. They can share a picture of a door handle to tell me what style they like. They can save a picture of a flooring to tell me the aesthetic they want to achieve. This online platform is huge for residential design success. Our clients love it! It is also huge to help our clients know us on a deeper level by reading what others have to say (please review us if you have worked with us in the past it is a huge help).
From our blog, facebook page, twitter feed, LinkedIn account, to our Houzz and Instagram accounts we are interviewed before ever getting face to face. Clients know us, know my kids and wife, and know my values by following us before ever setting up the first appointment. Thinking back to the days of a client opening a phone book to make that first decision shows how far we have come.