Stop Bullying Clients in their Tracks

Stop Bullying Clients in their Tracks

don't let clients bully you.  Take a standHave you ever had potential clients tell you that they expect you to share your product discounts?

You may have heard some terrible stories about clients who want design expertise for pennies on the dollar, as well as determine how much money the designer makes from furniture purchases.

Don’t allow this to happen to you – it’s a recipe for disaster!

Quite frankly, demanding that you share your discounts with a client is a form of bullying.

And caving to this kind of bullying pressure is the behavior that leads to clients becoming more demanding and more disrespectful with time.

Just imagine if this same bullying client went to a local retail furniture store and demanded to know how much the store is paying wholesale for one of their custom sofas.

The store would laugh in their face!

Can you imagine that store letting the client tell them how much they were allowed to make on the sofa too?

This scenario is never going to happen to a furniture retailer and it should never happen to you or your business either.

By simply speaking with confidence and clarity about your business, and how you charge for your time and product purchases, you’ll stop bullying clients in their tracks!

Here are a few simple and easy tips to help you stand your ground with clients who want to take advantage of you.DCHQ Blog Image 2

Tip #1 – Write It Out

Spend some time writing a script that explains that your design fees are based on the scope of work involved, what services are included, and your purchasing offer.

Practice reading your script out loud every day for 30 days, so you become confident when speaking with a new client.

Also post your script above your desk so you can easily refer to it when a new client calls.

Tip #2 – Snail Mail

Mail (not email) a thank you note with a “How We Work” or FAQ sheet after a prospective client calls and you’ve made an appointment to meet.

Note Example:

“Thank you for your call, I’m looking forward to meeting you and discovering more about your project!”

Your FAQ sheet should clearly state your terms of engagement. It’ll immediately position you as a professional in the prospect’s mind, as well as help them in asking good, clarifying questions at your first meeting – so they understand exactly how you work.

Tip #3 – When To Say No

Last, but certainly not least, you have permission to say NO to clients who don’t respect your personal boundaries and professional parameters.

Once you start letting go of the high-maintenance, low-profit, “trying to get everything free” clients you’ll start making room for great clients who are a pleasure to work with and truly appreciate your talents!

It’s not always easy to do what’s necessary to get the ideal client, but it’s possible.

And remember, if others can do it then you can too!

Terri_LOW_RESTerri Taylor breaks down the walls of secrecy by sharing her 30 years of professional interior design and remodeling experience to help interior designers work smarter, not harder, and get paid what they’re really worth.

Terri received her NCIDQ certification in 1993, and is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Interior Design Society (IDS). She also received the 2000 ASID Interior Design Award of Excellence and holds an Arizona Contractor’s License.

Discover how to double your income, work with great clients, and have the freedom to live the life you deserve at

3 Comments on this Post

  1. Good post, I’m not an Interior Designer I’m a Contemporary Artist and I had a similar situation with my paintings not too long ago so I appreciate the post – you’ve given me some ideas moving forward with my clients.

  2. Great Article Terri,
    All of us pros have had awful clients and experiences. The one thing I can say for sure is that we as Professionals set the tone of the client relationship right from the beginning. Number 2 is a must. Snail mail speaks volumes of how we operate because we took the time and snail mail is no shortcut.
    Says we do not take short cuts in our work either. Subtle messages but nonetheless powerful.

  3. Diana Kempton, IIDA, LEED-AP ID+C

    Thanks for writing this article, Terri!
    Your business advice to designers is always right on the mark, and so very helpful to the younger designers who can be overwhelmed by deciding on how to price a project, and who tend to give into client bullying because they have the talent and training, but lack a large portfolio.


Leave a Comment