June 18, 2008

Increase your Profits with Add-On Sales

Upselling can often double your profits. And it doesn't take much effort. Once you've created a relationship with a prospect, you simply need to show them other things that will add to the design you have provided.

Upselling is simply offering something else to your client - in addition to what they have already chosen to purchase - that would make their design even better.

REMEMBER: With add-on sales, what you are ultimately offering your clients is:
added convenience increased safety complete personalized service

Here are 10 ideas for add-on sales. Some may seem obvious (but are you offering them at every appointment??), and others may not. You might want to print out this list and keep it in your briefcase near the contracts, so that you remember to recommend something else before you write up the final agreement.

1. Custom Pillows
I remember when it seemed standard to offer pillows to match the draperies. Most designs are not so "matchy matchy" now, but custom pillows can almost always add to the look of a room. The options are limitless - you can create spectacular designs (and your profits are often high!).
2. Passimenterie
Yes, just a fancy word for trimmings. Bedding, pillows, window treatments, etc. always look more unique with the addition of beautiful tassels, fringe, and trim.
3. Coordinating Accessories
What will complete the room you are designing? A mirror? Artwork? Candles? Your clients will appreciate the convenience of getting the whole finished look.
4. Lighting
You don't have to be a lighting expert to recommend lighting. Connect with a local lighting specialist and create a joint venture.
5. Florals
Work with a talented florist, or provide elegant silk florals to add the finishing touch to a room.
6. Another Room
"While you're waiting for the samples to arrive, do you want to get started on your next project?"
7. Hardware
Changing the hardware on cabinets or furniture can literally transform the look of a room.
8. Motorization
If you are designing window treatments, offer the motorization upgrade for increased safety and convenience.
9. Area Rugs
Many homeowners have a hard time choosing rugs, and they will appreciate you taking away their struggle.
10. Fabric Accessories
Use the fabric from your client's upholstery or window treatment, or choose a coordinating pattern, and you can create anything. I've done chandelier cord sleeves, placemats, room dividers, ottomans, table runners, and even a flower vase cover. How about trunks, toilet seat covers, sink skirts, towels, napkin rings, drapery tiebacks, ... the ideas are endless!

While you are at the appointment establishing a relationship, and the client is ready to purchase, you know she already likes and trusts you. So why not suggest the perfect finishing touch to go with her _____? You'll be creating a better design, and putting more in your pocket.

Got some inspiring add-on tips of your own? Click to share them here.

June 03, 2008

My Biggest Time Management Secret

I struggle with getting everything done, just like everyone else. All my life I've tried to cram too much into each day. Then I had a baby, and - well, those of you who have kids know that's like adding 3 more full-times jobs to your schedule.

So when people ask me how I get so much done, I try to think about what I'm doing that many others aren't.

One thing I've learned to do is delegate. I'm not perfect at this - I'm still learning to give things away. But each week that goes by, I let a little more go. If a task doesn't require me personally to get it done, it should be done by someone else.

But delegating isn't my biggest secret. Of course, that really isn't even a secret. Most of us know that we should delegate more. We just have to start doing it.

My best secret for getting more done is a quote from marketing guru, Dan Kennedy:
"Good enough is good enough"

This phrase usually horrifies perfectionists (which I know most of you are). But being absolutely perfect about everything is also something we need to let go.

Just think about this weekly newsletter. When I first started doing newsletters, I spent days putting each one together. I'd take a few hours to write an article. Then I'd edit it, re-write it, and edit it again. Then I would send it to a few friends to get their opinion. "Make sure you find any typos and grammar mistakes," I'd say. After correcting it a few more times, I had to send it to myself to proof it yet again. It was a miracle that I got even one newsletter out each month.

I did the same with all my promotional materials - which meant I never had anything done! I was afraid to put up a website or send out flyers because they weren't perfect yet. What if there was a mistake? What if some people didn't like it? What a waste of my time!

As you probably see now - I am not so worried about being perfect. There are often mistakes in my articles, and my grammar isn't perfect. I just try to write from my heart, and then I SEND IT OUT.

And I get so much more done! Can you do the same? While there are certainly things that should still require your perfectionist attitude, there are many things that do not. For these tasks, you must remember:

Good enough is good enough.

Wow - I wrote this article in less than an hour.
I'd invite you to find all my goofs, but that would be a waste of your time.
Go do something constructive!