What to Do if You Disagree With a Client
It happens; you’ve accepted a client that you do not see eye to eye with. Everyone has different preferences and styles which can make it difficult to find a harmonious balance when working together. However, as a decorator this can be an amazing challenge! Adapting to suit your clients’ needs when you have a difference of opinion is a testament to your customer service skills and helps you to grow as a designer. Below are some helpful tips to get you through the process smoothly and to give you a better understanding of how to approach interior decorating jobs when you disagree with the client!
You may disagree with a client because you do not fully understand their idea. Take your time to do your research! Look through popular blog posts, social media pages, and interior decorating websites to try and learn more about your client’s preferred styles. You can always reach out to other decorators who may have more experience with your client’s preferred design style to get tips and advice! Take detailed notes and do your best effort to fully understand everything your client is proposing. This shows your client that you value them, respect their wishes and have gone the extra mile to create a design they can get excited about!
Don’t take it personal
Just because you and your client do not agree on the design project, doesn’t mean your client doesn’t respect your opinion or thinks you’re a bad decorator. You may be disagreeing based on previous experience, lack of understanding or contrasting style aesthetics. Keeping emotions out of your discussions and having a positive attitude will allow both you and the client to work through the ups and downs and come to a final agreement.
Do your best to give the client a very clear outline of what you think is best, however, no matter how hard you try, the client may still disagree! In these cases, you will have to compromise. Ask the client what they liked about your proposal, what they didn’t like, and how they would change the idea! Keeping the client actively involved will improve your chances of coming to a smooth compromise and solution.
Even though it may be frustrating for you as the decorator to have your client continuously disagree with you, maintaining professionalism is essential to your relationship with the client and your reputation. Never speak to them in a condescending way or put down their ideas. Your client is entitled to a wish list since they’ll be the ones living with the end result, literally. You always want your clients to feel as though their opinions are of value and that you will do your best to give them the results they are looking for.
Put yourself in their shoes
It’s important to understand your client’s point of view. Why are they so insistent on a particular style? How can it work? Is there a history behind what they want? Try and see the situation from their perspective to get a better idea of how to approach the situation and propose new solutions that you can both be happy with!
Keep an open mind
This is a great opportunity for you to learn something new from your client as well as gain valuable experience on how to deal with a client who disagrees with you! Keep an open mind and take on all new ideas as though they are good ones! Being closed off to change can be damaging to yourself and to your future as a decorator.
Respect is always important
Respect between the decorator and the client is incredibly important. If you take on a client that is continuously disrespectful towards you then you may want to discontinue offering your services. In these situations, it is always best to inform the client as to exactly why you can no longer work with them and recommend them to other decorators who may be better suited to meeting their needs. Just keep in mind that respect is a two-way street. You have to give respect to expect respect in return.
Be confident in your skills!
You have both training and experience which gives you the unique opportunity to pass on your extensive knowledge to others. Perhaps you can teach the client something new! Have fun with the process and embrace the challenge that comes from a client who disagrees with you! These skills are important to have for all future interior decorating jobs!