How to Build Year-end Momentum and Profit for Your Interior Design Business

I read a great book in June that said that your revenue and profits are a lagging indicator of the quality and quantity of your relationships. Boom! That one statement was worth reading the entire book.

How well are you doing on a scale of 1 – 10 for relationship building? Be honest with yourself. Your numbers are the symptom of the problem.

Every relationship is important, yet some are more important than others. Your relationship with your current and past clients is the fastest way you can get more business. What are you doing to nurture those relationships? Are you keeping in touch frequently and more than just for job reasons?

What about past clients? Do you have a nurturing program to keep them informed? Do you have a monthly newsletter that you send either physically or digitally?

What about your referral partners? Are you constantly seeking to build relationships with the top advisors who serve prospects you prefer to work with?

Here are seven tips to transform your results:

  1. Start a 12-touch program prospects, clients and referral partners. Plan this in advance and have an intern, virtual assistant or junior designer manage the process.
  2. Invest in lots of cards – thank you, sympathy, congratulations, birthday, anniversary, new house, etc. Have note cards printed with your branding and carry them in your car with stamps and a pen. Literally write a thank you note after you meet someone new. Add their name to your database immediately (delegate), and follow up frequently with offers of connections for them.
  3. Ask your current clients about other projects they’ve considered and make an offer for a new service. (50% is the typical close rate)
  4. Contact your past clients to “check in” and see how they are doing. Let them know you’re doing a short survey to improve your services, and would like their feedback. Ask for a testimonial if you haven’t gotten one from them in the past, and of course, ask for referrals if they are happy and not interested in a new project. It’s a perfect time to remind them that they can get projects done by the holidays if you start now. Give them an incentive to do so. (33% is typical close rate)
  5. Have a “Client Appreciation” party and have them invite a friend they think might be interested in your services. Create a memorable event, and even invite a local celebrity. It can be less expensive than you think.
  6. Make a list of the most connected and influential advisors in your city, and reach out to them to meet. Ask them if you could get their advice about how they grew their businesses so successfully. Keep the interview short. Find out what their biggest challenge is in their business and ask how you would know someone who would be an ideal client for them. Always send a thank you note. Maintain your contacts frequently.
  7. High visibility creates implied credibility. Get published frequently in magazines and newspapers, get interviewed on TV or radio, send out press releases online and offline, get involved in one major charity that you are interested in, and speak locally and nationally. You can even write an eBook that you can publish on Amazon.

What’s your favorite way to build your business?

Gail Doby, ASID is an author, speaker, writer, interior designer, and Chief Vision Officer of Design Success University, your shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled design business. Click here for your complimentary copy of the Interior Design Fee and Salary Survey eBook. ($79 Value) You’ll also receive our complimentary weekly newsletter, New IDEAS.


  1. Hi Alycia,

    It's at least 12 contacts either online or offline with a person per year...on a regular schedule.