KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for August, 2012

Aug 31 2012

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Friday inspiration: Constant learning, constant action

“We learn from our actions, we act from our learning. One without the other suffers; both together provide clarity on the path to truth.”

Whatever you do on a daily basis to work with customers and grow your business, there are two things that need to be constant: qualified activity and constant learning.

Sometimes we go 100 miles an hour running around and meeting new prospects, and even though this activity is productive, sometimes it gets stale.

What are you learning every day to build value in yourself and your service? The knowledge you gain from reading, the study of your craft and industry and surrounding yourself with mentors gives you confidence and enthusiasm to keep on moving in a positive way.

The mind is nowhere when working at its highest level. No attachments. It responds automatically based on previous learning that has been let go.

We learn in stages …

• Unconsciously incompetent…not knowing what we don’t know

• Consciously incompetent… knowing that we don’t know

• Consciously competent…knowing and doing

• Unconsciously competent…Action without thinking. The mind, body and spirit are one and the action is clean and pure. Mushin. No mind.

Through constant learning and applying your knowledge, your action becomes more natural.

-Barry Farber

Aug 15 2012

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The magic of giving less to get more

When you give once, the client always asks for more…

There’s a little known secret in business that people don’t often talk about. I suspect it’s because when it happens, people think it’s an anomaly, rather than the great secret that it is. What is it?

Before I tell you what it is, let me share a scenario that might sound familiar in your business. You have a prospective client who asks for something different from what you normally do. It could be changes to your contract or payment terms; giving them design ideas before hiring you; or the biggie—discounts to your normal fees.

Now you, the professional who wants to provide a superior service experience to your clients, reluctantly agrees to their request. Then something funny happens. They ask for something else. Maybe you agree again, even more reluctantly, thinking that you just need to do this last thing and then they’ll sign.

Except it doesn’t happen. Or they do sign but they turn into this monster client who bears no resemblance to the sweet person you met in your initial meeting.

Why? Because you didn’t establish boundaries from the beginning. Just like personal relationships, if you’re not firm about what you will and won’t accept from the beginning, your client will take advantage of you.

One of my clients experienced a similar situation but handled it differently and accidentally discovered this little-known secret. She was having one of those days where she just wasn’t going to take any “you-know-what” from people and when her prospective client asked her if she could discount her fees, my client simply said “No.”

Guess what happened? Her client said OK and hired her.

My client discovered that when she is firm about her “deal-breakers,” her clients sense her confidence and professionalism, and respect her more. They test the boundaries, and when they accept them, they become great clients.

Your clients look to you to be the expert, to lead the way; it’s not the other way around.  If you don’t, they lose respect for you. When you lead with confidence, your clients will stop pushing you to do things you don’t want to do, and they’ll end up happier because of it.

To learn more, register for a complimentary three-part series, “Three Secrets to Closing Higher Paying Clients Who Love Working With You,” at http://www.interiordesignersgethired.com/welcome/

—Maria Bayer, the Authentic Sales Coach for Design Success University, shows interior designers how to take charge of their clients and make more money without being “sales-y.”

Aug 13 2012

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Make it right

I just took a look (online) at the new Make it Right duplex from famed architect Frank Gehry in New Orleans. The Make It Right Foundation was founded in 2007 by actor Brad Pitt to help rebuild the hardest hit region of New Orleans, the Lower 9th ward.

The fusion of ecologically friendly designs of top architects and green construction materials, the Make It Right homes have been honored with the title of “the largest, greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America” by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Just like all the Make It Right Homes, this one is built to LEED-Platinum certification standards. Gehry Partners

It is clear that privacy, daylight and maximization of space were considered by the architects. Unfortunately, the kitchens were designed for “construction efficiency.”

The description of the Gehry duplex indicates the kitchen initially was supposed to have an island to separate it from the living space. This would have greatly improved the kitchen’s functionality.
I could pick apart what I don’t like about this space and say that the old stereotype is true: Architects can’t design kitchens. Instead, I’ll just leave you with my overall sentiment:
These kitchens are so sad and out of character for such a wonderful neighborhood.

Ann Porter

(Credit: Chad Chenier Photography/Make It Right)