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How to Sell Commercial Interior Designers

  |  Posted in Architects

How to Sell Commercial Interior Designers

If you have a building material that is used in the interior of a commercial building, interior designers are probably important to your success. Here are some practical reasons to approach commercial interior designers and how to go about it.

Why Should You Call On Commercial Interior Designers?

These designers make great customers because they have a continuous, ongoing need for products. They complete one project and move on to the next. They often buy in large volume because they have large projects. They are always looking for new and unique items. They have the potential to be long-term, loyal customers. It is simply a matter of gaining their business and working to retain it.

Interior designers are also great customers because, unlike contractors or homebuilders, they embrace change. If all their projects look the same, they will soon be out of business.

Why Do Developers and Owners Use Interior Designers?

Thanks to companies like Apple and Target, everyone is attuned to design. Design is no longer just for the wealthy. Design is now important to even the lowest cost buildings. Interior design makes a statement to the tenants and visitors about the building and it’s purpose.

The design needs to be congruent with the structure and it’s purpose. The interior of a Hampton Inn is very different than a Ritz Carlton and a good interior designer knows how to match the needs of each building.

What Are Designers Looking For?

  • Aesthetics– Obviously, the appearance of your product is important to a designer. They are generally visually oriented people. Their job is to create a space that matches the story the building is designed to tell. The story may be luxourius or hip or serious or calming.
  • Functionality– They look for highly functional products. They want something that solves a problem or has significant usefulness for their client. Highlighting the functionality of your products is important when approaching designers.
  • Innovation– If you have innovative products, you should seek designers as customers. They truly appreciate innovative items. Green products, for example, are very popular right now. Textures, colors and finishes are important. Sometimes something old can be new again. I developed a program for a slate distributor several years ago and reaction was like designers had never seen slate before. You can also have a new use for a product. There been a number of products that are tradisitonally used horizaontally that have find new life as a product used vertically.
  • Attention to Detail – You can see the attention to detail in a well designed building all the way down to the door handles and hinges.
  • Durability – Your product needs to be able to stand up to the demands of the building. Can it be cleaned? Is it easily damaged? You need to explain these features to the designer. They may even offer you a competitive advantage.
  • Price– They may be price sensitive because they are working within a predetermined budget that is determined by their client. They have products that are important to them where they are willing to pay more. In order to find the budget for the products that are important to them they are looking for other areas to save.

Where Do You Find Commercial Interior Designers?

You will find interior designers within architectural firms as well as independent firms. There are also generalists and specialists. Generalists work on many different types of buildings. Specialists focus on a specific type of building, like hotels and may be well known in that industry for their expertise.

You should consider the types of buildings that your product is best for and then find the best designers for that type of building. They tend to be trendsetters and if they start using your product, others will follow.

Another place to look for interior designers is within larger design-build contracting firms.  They have the added need of your ability to quote a job very quickly and to meet delivery dates.

Understanding the Mindset of a Designer.

It is important to recognize that a designer has the primary goal of pleasing their client. So, you are not simply selling a designer products that he or she would like. Your main selling points should focus on the designer’s clients. You want to meet their needs and desires so that the designer can provide them with the highest quality outcome. It is helpful to find out who the clients are and what they want. This gives you an advantage when approaching the designer. Highlight how your products will meet the needs of the designer’s clients. This can make a substantial impression and determine the success of your sales in regard to designers.

Commercial interior designers make great customers and can provide your business with significant sales. You might be surprised at the wide variety of products designers specify. You may think your products are outside of the realm of interior design. However, you should do some research and determine if this is factual. There may be designers looking for exactly what you offer.

Thanks for the following comments.  I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.

“I have just read your article—How to Sell Commercial Interior Designers, and I am impressed. Thank you for your insights.”
Thomas Cui
CEO
Archi Deco Design

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