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11 Ways to Prove Your Value to New Clients

When potential clients truly understand the value you bring to the table as a professional, selling your services is easy. But in the age of the internet where every aspiring DIYer has Google at their fingertips, how do you convince homeowners you’re worth what you charge?

Hope Dorman

AUGUST 13, 2020

1. Communicate Your Value

It all comes down to effectively communicating your value.

From your very first impression to the moment the contract is signed, there are different ways to emphasize the unique value you bring to the table. In this guide, successful pros from the Houzz community share different ways they communicate their worth, impressing and informing potential clients throughout the entire project process.

2. Do a Self Assessment

To be able to communicate your value, you must first understand what your business does best and what sets you apart from your competitors as a professional. Thinking about your past successes, the praise you’ve received from past clients, or what kind of projects you are most passionate about can help guide you.

On the following page, we’ve included a self assessment worksheet that can guide you through this process.

“Discovering who you are is essential to uncovering your unique talents and gifts, and ultimately what you have to offer your clients. Ask yourself: Who am I? What are my unique gifts? What do I enjoy doing most? What inspired me to get into my field? How do I want to make an impact in the world and in others’ lives through my work? With these answers, create a biography of yourself and use it to define what value you bring to clients. We all have something special to offer, we just have to think about what it is and communicate that to our potential customers.” Monique Nicole, Interior Designer

Appearances Matter

3. Curate Your Online Presence

Homeowners do a majority of their research online, which means your online presence may be one of the first impressions they have of you and your business. You can communicate your value through online branding in three key areas, and with Houzz Pro, and you’ll get access to a website through Houzz Website Services.

a. Your Company Description

“A good website needs to communicate your company philosophy. Ours is, ‘create a landscape that is unique and functional, using only premium elements’ and we display that prominently online through our portfolio pictures so homeowners immediately know what we stand for.” Bryce White, Seoane Landscape Design

b. Professional Photography

“New clients want more of what we already offer and professional photos highlight the type of work we can do for them. Without the photos, we wouldn't bring in the quality of clients we seek.” Lane Williams, Lane Williams Architects

c. Reviews

“When a potential client sees a designer has a lot of great reviews, it gives the homeowner confidence that the person they are calling will be able to help them. Reviews are great to establish credibility and trust by showing the value you brought to previous clients.” Chad Esslinger, Chad Esslinger Design

4. Enter a Showcase

Allowing homeowners to see your work in person can make a big impact on their perception of your worth. Entering into a local Parade of Homes allows you to both gain brand awareness and show potential clients first hand the type of work you can achieve. Include links to your Houzz profile on all of your materials so homeowners can find and contact you online.

“When we are in a Tour of Remodeled Homes, we will put up professional-grade printed display boards with the before and after photos of the project. We also include a display board of other work, as well as all of our company’s printed literature in nice portfolios, and our business cards. We’ll also have a video running on a computer or on one of the TVs in the home of the design-build process for that project.” Ed Butler, Brickwood Builders

"Being in a Parade of Homes allows us to show off the quality of work we can do so people can see first hand the value we bring to a project. We’ve always gotten business out of it because potential clients can see what we’re capable of before they decide to hire us.” Adam Hunemuller, Harting & Hunemuller Contractors

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5. Build Social Capital

Trying to convince a homeowner that you’re worth your fees can come off as a sales tactic, but what if someone else did it for you? Getting endorsements from other professionals who have already earned the trust of a homeowner can help communicate your value for you.

There are lots of places to meet other pros who can speak on your behalf: industry association meetings, trade shows, the local Chamber of Commerce, Houzz events, or reach out with some good old fashioned cold calling to set up a meeting.

“The thing that has benefitted me the most is connecting with builders. They know my work and will tell their clients ‘Go see Jamie. You’re going to pay a little more, but it will be custom design and you’ll get more with her.’ Getting to know and educating builders has helped me a lot.” Jamie Taylor, Jamie Taylor Designs

“I'm always networking. Not necessarily meetings but wherever I go or whoever I meet I'm always handing out cards or my brochures. I try to meet a new real estate agent every few weeks. Besides Houzz and client referrals the next best person to network with is a real estate agent! Put that all together with advertising it eventually works!” Annie Santulli, Annie Santulli Designs

6. Display Your Skills

Not all clients have an accurate idea of the skills it takes to accomplish a home design and remodeling project. They may have an inaccurate perception of the work it takes to produce a polished finished project. In addition to featuring photos of completed projects, displaying in-progress photos and planning materials can show your expertise to potential clients and help them understand the value you bring to the project is more than meets the eye.

“People don’t always realize the technical skills that I bring to the table. As a designer, creating technical drawings is a big part of what I have been trained to do and I want people to know I’m going to produce really accurate drawings and space plans for them. I’ll include my technical drawings on my Houzz profile so potential customers know what they’re getting..” Lena Lalvani, Lena Lalvani Designs

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7. Bring Backup

Bringing sales materials like before/after photos, informational packets or budget spreadsheets can help educate your clients on the expertise and process you bring to a project. Use photos to provide visual examples of what you have accomplished for clients in the past, with before-and after photos to show the transformation you accomplished.

Referencing the real-world costs needed to achieve those outcomes can help a potential client begin to place a tangible financial value on your services. Reference Houzz Research for average project costs.

“Once you have spent the time with the client figuring all of their needs and wants, I feel it’s easier to correlate past project photos with dollar amounts. With the photos in front of us, my clients can visualize how actual costs translate to actual design. They might be thinking something costs $30,000 when it actually costs $150,000 or vice versa. Either way, it helps them understand what they’re paying for.” Lucas Herrick, Modern Touches

"A good portfolio of past projects is always good to have when you are meeting the client. I include about 10 projects and focus on recent jobs that show the range of my work and versatility. My portfolio is my favorite sales material because it helps the client see that I can do what they are looking for.” Pam Hopgood, Perfect Match Homes

8. Add Value

Informing clients of the full extent of your services can help them understand the value you bring beyond just the project itself. Homeowners may be so focused on the project itself, they don’t realize the value you bring long term. Share the following aspects to show what you bring to the project:

a. You have access to trade-only sources and can source more products with personalized service

b. Any education, certifications, or years of experience you have.

c. Your network of subcontractors or team of workers to carry out high quality craftsmanship

d. You will handle the challenging parts of the renovation, like permitting or the technical aspects

If the client has already reached out to you, or is researching your Houzz profile or website, chances are, they don’t want to take on a DIY project. Different things will resonate with clients, so share everything that makes your company stand out so clients realize why they should hire your firm specifically.

“We show potential clients we are a resource by telling them about our warranty programs, as it is our duty to make sure that they are happy with the product we have installed, and any deficiencies are corrected immediately. We explain why hiring us, with our 37 years of experience will be a direct benefit to them not only in the final product but the longevity they will experience in their newly renovated space.” Blake Tubby, Arbordale Landscaping

9. Talk Risk and ROI

Sometimes sticker shock can be blinding and prospective clients don’t always realize how paying for your services can actually be an investment in their future. Talking about the cost of your services in relation to the effect the project will have on the value of the home can help homeowners see the big picture and understand how your fee factors into the overall project value. If their concern is budget, speak their language and explain how hiring a top-notch pro can increase the value of their home and avoid costly headaches due to mistakes that you know to avoid.

“The challenge is to educate clients who assume that professional architectural services are an added cost instead of an investment that returns more than the investment amount. We communicate that potential clients should hire us so they do not have to experience the painful cost overruns and problems they’ll inevitably have if they hire a lower-quality professional. I mention this when I meet with clients as part of a response to them asking my fee. I tell them how we have often leveraged more than our fee in savings by evaluating a property before it is purchased, negotiating agreements with contractors to prevent costly change orders, increasing home value beyond the cost of construction, and designing toward energy efficiency.” John Hrivnak, Hrivnak Associates Ltd.

10. Charge a Premium

While this may seem counterintuitive, charging more can actually increase your value in the eyes of a client. High end brands attract clients who value high-end products and services and are willing to pay their prices. So long as you can deliver, confidently placing a price on your expertise, education and training can help clients better understand the value that comes with your services versus a hobbyist or do-it-yourself enthusiast.

“Charging for my time helps people understand that when I pick a color, it's not the same as them picking a color. My advice is taken seriously when I am being paid for it. Professionals’ aesthetic knowledge and product knowledge is being honed and increased all the time. We have a better knowledge of trend trajectory and are constantly immersed in what is happening in color, product and home design. Many people may have taste, or a great sense of style, but that's very different than being a professional in the field. To keep that difference tangible, it's important to assign it a monetary value. I offer a luxury service and won’t work with someone who does not accept my design fees, because my pricing is in line with what other designers with similar experience charge.” Shannon Ggem, Ggem Design Co

11. Provide More Value

Clients want more transparency, efficiency, and easier collaboration. Houzz Pro enables you to work smarter and provide your clients with a customer experience they'll absolutely rave about. Houzz Pro also gives you enhanced, targeted exposure in the local areas you want to find clients and a client success manager to guide you through your campaign.

For more information, contact sales.

“I appreciate Houzz's Live Connections service. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable in construction and renovation inquiries. Overall, the leads are considerate and dedicated to their projects. I like that the concierge can educate me about the customer, project, and expectations from the outset!” Melissa Kirkpatrick, Green Works Construction & Design

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Hope Dorman is a Content Marketing Senior Associate based in Orange County, California. She loves timeless design, creative space solutions, and getting inspiration from Houzz to keep crafting her home.

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