Interior Designers Get Repeat Customers – How To

We all do it don’t we? We sometimes are so keen to grow the business that we focus too much on getting new customers. We forget that it’s much easier to keep existing customers and sell to them, sometimes it’s good to evaluate your strategy in the light of this truth that we all know.

Marketing has progressed a thousandfold in its acronym use since the 4-Ps (Product, Price, Promotion & Place/Distribution). The latest variant to the customer retention model is the 5-Ss. SERVICE, SEGMENTATION, SELLING, SYSTEMS and, oh yes, SERVICE (again)!

I would argue that by looking again at your strategy in these 5 (four!) key areas of marketing there is a good chance that you will find opportunities to generate more revenues from your existing customers.

Step one: Segmentation – Successful sales organisations segment customers by their buying behaviour: are they loyal and relationship-based, value-seeking or fickle, transactional or price-driven? You should treat each group differently and expect different responses. For example, constant stimulus and repetition of sales offers works best with fickle transaction-based customers. A more subtle, less ‘hard sell’ approach is needed with loyal and relationship-centred customers.

Step two: Service – High service standards help build a brick wall around your customers. They may be tempted away by crazy prices but your superior service levels will make it hard for them to leave. Make sure your service is as good as you think it is. If you have time then use customer surveys (but use them well) and conduct one-on-one reviews with top customers. Do what one successful business I know does: each senior manager calls one customer a week simply to check that all is well and to tell them that they value their business. Good service sells repeat business.

Step three: Systems – Examine whether your systems are working for you or against you. Do they flag up soon-to-end contracts early enough? Is there a robust system in place to ensure that the customer is contacted? That the contact is followed up? Sage Act is as good as any.

Step four: Selling Do you still actively sell to existing customers? It’s ironic that no one knows a customer better than their existing providers, yet all too often we fail to sell to existing customers. We don’t want to seem greedy, or we worry being pushy might damage the relationship. Often, we’ll take the view that we’ve ‘already got what we came for’. Yet, customers expect us to come to them with new ideas and new offers, they want us to innovate and help them. If we’ve been doing our job properly they’ll want to stay with us. So why surrender that hard-won ground to the hungry competition?

Think, too, about your reward systems. Are you paying people only to win new business, or are you also rewarding highly profitable, but less glamorous, customer retention activity?

Customer retention is one key to profit and business stability, but it’s often (still) overlooked. Review your segmentation, your service, your systems and your selling, and seize the opportunities within your grasp.

Got A Crush On Velvet?

Crushed Velvet – something a bit different from one of our new 2010 Velvets. One of the advantages of many velvets is their suitability for many uses including upholstery, panelling, cushions and curtains. Our new Crushed Velvet is no exception with a Martindale of over 40,000 for a 145cm wide fabric. (See also Martindale vs. Wyzenbeek for an explanation of the difference)

Our Crushed Velvet design comes in 12 colourways. Each colourway is a two-tone colour mix some mixes are similar such as pink+red whereas others more contrasting like the purple+green (shown). The composition is a cotton mix.

The unique texture and colourways make this a striking fabric useful as a highlight to any luxury scheme.

Interior Design for the Post-recsssion Consumer (via Interior Design Diva)

Some good thoughts. Let’s hope the ‘post recession’ period stays ‘post’ and there is no double dip recession.

Here are some more of my sales and marketing articles for interior designers.

“Don’t confuse Motion with Action” Hemmingway once admonished Marelene Dietrich. How often do you catch yourself mired in ineffective “busy work”? Are you waiting for the economy to recover so you can do business as usual, or are you taking concrete steps to find new clients?  Convergence of the economic crisis, demographics, and technology have affected the priorities and spending habits of the consumer. In demand are cost effective homes that c … Read More

via Interior Design Diva

Cashmere Colour Trends for 2011/12 to be Unveiled at Cashmere World Trade Show (via Cashmere Throw Blog)

Do manufacturers really lead colour / color trends? Can industry associations do better? Or do designers know best?

Oh dear oh dear. More manufacturers and industry bodies telling interior designers what the colour trends are for the year ahead. Read more… Do interior designers genuinely follow these 'trends'. Or Do interior designers suspect that the manufacturer already has the colours planned and is looking for a way to market those colours to interior designers? Related Articles Interiors: Show your true colours ( … Read More

via Cashmere Throw Blog

Cashmere Throws & Pashmina (via Cashmere Throw Blog)

A Cashmere Throw is sometimes called a pashmina. This is not strictly true and at best confusing. Cashmere and Pashmina essentially refer to the same kind of wool. It's just that over recent years Pashmina has come to refer to a cashmere shawl. So if you are looking to source a top quality Cashmere Throw please don't waste your time looking for Pashmina, the people who are using the phrase are trying to pull the (goat's !) wool over your eyes. If … Read More

via Cashmere Throw Blog

Happy new year

But not happy new decade.

Yes, unfortunately 2010 is the end of the decade not the start of a new one. Honest. You have to wait for 2011 for that. And yes I know that we were all wrong when we celebrated the new millennium on 1st Jan 2000, but it was still a great party wasn’t it?

Well that’s the ‘correct’ definition but I still think that we have now left the period we know as the noughties.

Hopefully it will not be called the teenies.