Episode 18: Selling Without The Sleaze

Selling – ick. Sounds so sleazy, doesn’t it?

How can you share what you do as an interior designer in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re shoving it down someone’s throat – or strong-arming them into paying you?

If you’re going to run your own design firm, selling your services is an essential skill to learn. Here’s how to do it without the sleaze.

Episode 18 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales has many negative connotations but it’s something every designer and business owner needs to learn how to do
  • It’s not just being pushy – it’s offering what you’re good at and providing solutions to those who need it
  • Everyone has different “guard rails” aka different levels of comfort when it comes to selling
  • Selling happens throughout all phases of a project – from the moment clients visit your website, to the first phone and in-person consultation, to the design presentation 
  • This episode focuses specifically on selling and moving a project forward when clients have already expressed interest 


  • Your first page needs to have head-nodding copy, meaning it addresses your clients’ pain points 
  • The language you use needs to put your clients first
  • Have one clear call to action 
  • Make sure you use your website as a sales tool and not just a “coffee table book” with pretty pictures


  • Write out a script or outline and keep practicing your phone consultations!
  • Clients are usually already in the mindset that they’re being sold to. Get them out of this frame of mind  by letting them talk first 
    • Start with a warm, quick greeting then ask them to talk about why they reached out to you 
  • Consultations are not about you but about making the client feel heard and understood 
  • Write down your clients’ pain points, including the specific words that they use to describe their situation
  • Repeat those exact words to them once they’re done talking. You can also use them for your copy on your website and social media 
  • Your goal during the phone call is to sell the next ideal step, the in-home consultation, and not the full-service project yet – this makes phone consultations be less intimidating!
  • Don’t make the mistake of telling clients all of your service. They want to hear what they need!
  • Before you talk about pricing, ask them if they have any questions 
  • Once you talk about your prices, don’t forget to mention everything that is included with the service to emphasize the value you bring
  • It’s not your job to decide what your clients can and cannot afford 

How to deal with objections

  • Having to ask a partner first 
    • Set up another consultation with all decision-makers present
  • Undervaluing the service/cannot afford it
    • Make sure you let them know that you understand their needs and how your services meet them 
    • Recommend other services that could work
  • “Let me think about it”
    • Tell clients that it’s your job to do that and that’s why they need you!

Post-consultation and following up

  • When sending your proposal, include a personal letter recapping your meeting, repeating their pain points, and outlining the features and benefits of your services
  • 30 days after the consultations, you can follow this system to have 6 touchpoints to follow up
    • Day 1 – short follow up to see if they’ve read your proposal
    • Day 4 – check them out on social media
    • Day 11 – share a blog post/article relevant to their situation
    • Day 18 – check-in email asking if you are the right fit
    • Day 25 – share another relevant blog post
    • Day 30 – letting them know that you assume their priorities have changed but keeping the door open for the future
  • Following up is essential but you have to know how to read your clients and know when to give up 

Resources Shared:

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