Tips for Industry Partners
Becoming an Industry Partner (IP) gains you access to a network with fellow interior design industry professionals. What you do with that access is completely up to you and your company.
To get the most from your IP membership, you must take advantage of the opportunity to establish and foster personal relationships with your target customer. That means NETWORKING. Networking requires action, and now is the best time to be more active. The saying “you only get out what you put in” holds true.
Be sure to get connected online via ASID’s national pages/groups on the following social networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; and ASID Texas Chapter’s social media outlets: Facebook and Twitter.
Nothing can take the place of face-to-face conversations, however. Make it your mission to attend Chapter events like METROCON Expo & Conference, the Legacy of Design Awards Celebration, and Student Symposium, as well as national events like the ASID Annual National Conference at Dwell on Design and ASID at NeoCon. Just as important, take the time to participate in RealWorld DesignWeek and to attend Design Community meetings, establishing connections with local designers and other industry members who will become your clients, colleagues and friends over the course of your career.
Below is a checklist supplied by a former Texas Chapter Industry Partner Liaison to the Board. This list reflects how you can personally create new relationships with potential clients and how you can strengthen the relationships you already have.
Networking – Back-to-Basic Suggestions:
- Provide Great Customer Service
- Have a Positive Attitude
- Be Approachable
- Be the Expert, Be Informative
- Give Free Quotes
- Give Referral Fees
- Be Respectful
Networking – New Approaches:
- Use all resources available.
- Not everyone you meet is your potential client, but the person you are speaking with may know of someone or have a connection with someone that may be your potential client.
- Do not assume that speaking to anyone is a waste of time.
- Be in the moment; focus on what the objective is for that moment.
- Do not stop building your business portfolio.
- Always keep the business cards that you collect for future reference.
- Clients are spending money with people they trust. One way to build that is with personal connections. Cultivate personal connections with phone calls, hand written notes, etc.
- Ask for business. Close the sale by asking for the sale.
- Ask for the referrals and ask for testimonials.
- Think “outside-the-box” to obtain business.
- Bring holiday cookies to your clients, as well as potential clients. Use a reusable cookie plate that has your company logo on the bottom.
- Create excitement by having an open house, giving CEU’s, etc.
- If your client is in office, bring a little something for the rest of the staff.
- Expand your web of networking to other groups that complement what you do. For example: NARI, HBA and NKBA.
- Create loyalty.
- Call during the job to ensure that the job is within their expectations and to ensure there are no unexpected problems.
- Handle all problems – do not ignore them. Most clients are upset because of the way the problem was handled, not the actual problem.
- Follow-up three (3) days after the job to ensure they are still satisfied.
Offering Interior Design Continuing Education
If your company has industry information to share with Interior Designers and you are interested in learning how to develop a continuing education course, please visit the CEUs & CEPHs page to find out details regarding the kinds of courses Interior Designers in Texas need, how to go through the proper channels to get your course approved by the Interior Design Continuing Education Council [IDCEC], and whether or not your course must be approved by IDCEC to offer it in Texas.