Most interior designers offers a free discovery call to potential clients. It’s a call that lasts between 15 and 30 minutes but the purpose is to gather information about the client project and explain your services. Sounds good, right?
The problem with so many discovery calls is that if the clients haven’t been qualified in some way you could be wasting precious time with the wrong people.
And let’s face it, even if you offer a 20 minute call and you’re good at capping the time, there’s more than 20 minutes being spent.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES A DISCOVERY CALL REALLY TAKE?
Let’s say your discovery call is scheduled for 10am. That means you need to set aside whatever you’re working on approximately 15 minutes before. It’s normal behaviour to try to release from our mind whatever we were just working on and turn our focus to the next task. It takes a minute though and most of us know we need to prepare to be present for what’s next.
Next, you need to pull up the client information and make sure you have the phone number ready. Maybe you like to have a glass of water close by so you run to the kitchen.
It’s 10am and time for the call. The client is so excited to be discussing the project so the call slips from 20 to 30 minutes.
After you hang up you head to your CRM to input the information so there’s a record of call and the project details.
Your 20 minute free call just turned into ONE HOUR of time.
What’s your conversion rate for your calls? If it’s 100% then this hour is well spent. In reality, most of us don’t get anywhere near 100%. You’re giving away hours of your time for calls that aren’t converting.
NO MORE UNQUALIFIED LEADS
If you’re shocked to learn about the time you’re wasting, don’t worry. There’s a way to improve your process so that you’re not spending time on calls with unqualified leads.
1. developing your your client criteria
There should be some criteria that every lead needs to meet in order to be good fit for your business. It’s entirely up to you to determine the criteria but some of the most common are based on project type, size and budget. This is an example of a clearly defined client criteria:
- Full scale renovations only. No single room design work.
- Design budget minimum is $250,000.
- Design style is contemporary, modern or coastal only.
Now it’s easy to know whether a client project is right for you. Is it worth spending the time on a discovery call? It’ll be an easy yes or no. No more unqualified leads.
2. IMPLEMENT A CONTACT FORM INTO YOUR BUSINESS
The biggest mistake so many of us make is allowing the client to control the discovery call process. You’re not for everyone and you shouldn’t allow just anyone to book your time.
Having a contact form on your site means a client has to answer a few important questions before a discovery call can be booked.
You’ll receive an email with the client information and review it. If you’re interested in pursuing this client inquiry you can send a link to your booking calendar.
If this client isn’t a good fit you can follow up with an email letting them know they’re not the right project type for your business.
NEVER OFFER YOUR PHONE NUMBER TO UNQUALIFIED LEADS
If you have your phone number on your website, I urge you to remove it. A call with a client should not happen unexpectedly, particularly the initial contact call.
There’s rarely an instance in a busy design business where you’re just at your desk with not much going on. That means the chances of someone calling when you’re with a client, at a supplier’s or enjoying some time away from work is slim.
When you’re caught in the middle of a task you’re not going to be your best. You may be irritated to have been interrupted. You may not have access to your laptop or a pen and paper. Even if you plan to schedule a discovery call for a later date, without a pen and paper how will you jot down the name and number of this client?
And while you may think you’re being generous by allowing clients to access you at anytime, you could make a poor impression and end up losing the opportunity to speak to the client at a better time.
Just don’t do it. A contact form serves you. It’s a tool to help you grow in your business.
WAYS TO CREATE A CONTACT FORM
Ready to implement a contact form? There are a couple of ways to do it:
WEBSITE CONTACT FORM & PLUGINS
Most web hosting companies have some kind of a contact form integrated into their platform. I think Squarespace has a great option so if that’s your platform, you’re in luck.
WordPress sites will be dependent upon the theme you’re using. Most theme providers have something built in but you can also use plugins if you want something different. These are a few of the options I prefer:
- Gravity Forms
- Ninja Forms
- WP Forms
- Jetpack Contact Form
ADD YOUR CONTACT FORM TO YOUR SOCIAL CHANNELS
I’ve seen designers adding contact forms to their websites but then adding a booking calendar to their social media channels. You can integrate your contact form onto your social channel as well.
On Instagram you can use Linktree or the link options available through your social media scheduling platform (Later, Tailwind, etc). This is the “link in bio” option that we’re all familiar with.
If you want to automate your entire inquiry and onboarding phase there’s nothing more powerful than Dubsado. This is a bit of a learning curve so expect to outsource this but their contact forms are unmatched. That’s because you can create anything with this form. It will be the most branded experience you can integrate but it’s also just limitless in terms of options.
I hope this helps you understand the importance of using a contact form in your design business.