Top 5 Reasons Clients are Questioning Your Design Fees & What You Can Do About It
If you’re in the home industry, you know that good interior design and high-quality window treatments don’t come on the cheap. You know it and I know it…
So why are clients constantly questioning your fees?
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a bargain-hunter or an ambitious DIYer (more power to ‘em, as my mother would say), but if they’re not your target clients and you’re encountering them anyway, you could be doing something wrong…
1. YouR MARKETING IS ATTRACTING THE WRONG PERSON.
If clients are questioning your fees (no matter what those fees are), chances are high that you’ve attracted a person who is NOT your ideal client. Here’s how to remedy the situation…
Step 1: Find the disconnect
What is it about your current client that’s not ideal? Is it just price? Are they from a region or part of town you weren’t originally intending to serve? Is their project the one who were hoping to land?
Step 2: Revise your messaging
If the region is off, start mentioning the area you hope to serve specifically in your marketing… and make sure that location is listed on your website! Ideally in the footer, About, and Services pages.
If their project isn’t the full-service design project (or custom window treatments) you were hoping for, spend less time talking about color consultations and more time talking about the service you want to sell… and make sure that service is listed FIRST on the Services page of your website.
We have some more insight here about how to tailor your messaging to your target client.
Step 3: Get an outside perspective.
Have a trusted friend or spouse read through your website and tell you who they think your ideal client is. If it’s way off the mark, you may need a professional to rewrite your website copy. The right words will make a WORLD of difference in who you are attracting to your business!
2. Your prices don’t match your target client.
It’s also possible that your marketing is perfect for the target clients you wish to attract… but your prices are more appropriate for a client at a different income tier.
This issue is harder to solve with the right words — setting prices is a personal choice for your business and often depends on your overhead, the community you serve, etc.
If pricing appropriately is way over your head, we highly suggest that you hire a business coach. Making your business profitable in the right ways is absolutely worth the investment. We have personally worked with Michele Williams (she serves the home industry at Scarlet Thread Consulting) and she is a wealth of helpful information!
3. Your ideal clients have unrealistic expectations.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard this from our own clients. The pricing matches the ideal client… but the ideal client doesn’t realize what a project like theirs actually costs in the real world (I’m looking at you, HGTV).
However, that doesn’t mean we have to throw our hands up in defeat. The solution (as with nearly all of the world’s problems) is education.
Blogging plays a HUGE role in educating the perfect clients for your business.
Step 1: Create a Blog Category dedicated to client education
Create a category for your blog that will be dedicated to education (we suggest this for ALL of our clients). You could call it something like “Client Corner,” “The Reality of Design,” “Design 101,” etc. — something that fits your brand. (We have an entire category of content dedicated to this topic in our membership site, O&B Studio.)
Step 2: BLOG REGULARLY ON related TOPICs
Fill this category of your blog with topics related to real-world project scenarios, like:
The true cost of an interior design project / window treatments for a home
The true timeline of a design project (or when would be best to start in your region)
What goes into deciding project scope
How to create an appropriate budget
What to expect from a design consultation
You could even get really specific and write a post about HGTV vs. Reality. If you’re an O&B Studio member, we will soon have a Blog Post Template on this very topic!
Step 3: Share This Content across Social Media, Newsletters & with new Clients
As with all blog content, you should be sharing it across your social channels and in monthly newsletters. However, you can also use this section of your blog as a resource for new clients. Win-win!
4. Your target clients don’t understand your value.
If clients are questioning your fees, it’s also possible that they simply don’t understand the value of what you are doing. Your value goes beyond “I am designing a beautiful home for you” and into the emotional and tangible benefits you are providing them. You are NOT selling full service design…
You are selling JOY, wellness, peace, and/or the ability to entertain family and friends with pride. (And this will often go back to the main reason you went into this business in the first place!)
Step 1: Understand your true value
Answer the following questions for your target clients:
How will your work change them as people?
How will their lives improve?
Will your work help their families live healthier and more joyfully?
Will their day-to-day life be easier, leaving more time for loved ones and hobbies?
Will they finally feel a sense of peace?
Step 2: Convey that value in your messaging
How could your current messaging more clearly and frequently speak to the ultimate value you’re giving clients? This includes your website copy, blog (start blogging if you haven’t yet!), and your social media marketing.
Blogging is the best way to communicate your value in a non-self-promotional way. You can share client stories or your own, highlight testimonials that speak to clients’ transformed lifestyles (not just their spaces), and highlight all the benefits of design that people might not yet appreciate.
And if you’re really not sure how to change things up, have a professional give you their advice.
5. Your ideal clients simply don’t know you.
Ever heard the phrase “know, like, trust?” I’m willing to bet you have. If not, let me say that I’m honored to be the first to share it with you… because it works. Knowing, liking, and trusting are the 3 steps to successful marketing (and relationships in general). Do you trust someone you don’t know or like? Probably not.
This means being visible in your marketing. I know, I know, maybe you’re camera shy. Me, too. BUT, introversion aside, that doesn’t mean we can’t tell stories about our passions, our family, and the things and people who are important to us!
Case in point, I shared a story on Instagram recently about missing a flight from Zurich to Denver and meeting the love of my life the very next day. (Best missed flight ever!) That story got more positive comments than anything else I’ve ever posted. Why? Because it came from the heart. It shared something personal about me. It gave you a chance to get to know the REAL, living, breathing, loving person behind Ochre & Beige.
And that’s far more powerful than “I have this degree” or “we ghostwrote X blog posts last year.”
Tell your story. Be relatable. Be visible.
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out O&B Studio yet, I HIGHLY recommend it.
It will not only make blogging easier and faster, but we already have quiz-style blog post templates to help you write on topics that support client education, being personable, and showing your unique value. All you have to do is answer the questions, receive your blog post, and add some pre-curated photos we’ll give you. Voilà, blog post. ;)
You can sign up for your free one below. Until next time, I’ll be rooting for you and your success!