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How to Close Sales Using Body Language with Nancy Ganzekaufer

May 10, 202449 min read

A critical piece missing from the conversation about sales is body language. What should you do with your hands while on a video call? What is your tone of voice implying to your prospects? And did you know there are 3 very different types of eye gazes, but only one is suitable for a sales call? If that just blew your mind, you’re going to love today’s guest, Nancy Ganzekaufer! 

Nancy is a body language trainer who specializes in marketing and sales strategies specifically for interior designers. In today’s conversation, she reveals exactly what we should be saying and doing every step of the sales process with our clients. Be sure to stay until the end as Nancy shares one of the most essential tips for closing the sale and keeping the client. And don’t miss today’s Coaching Corner at the end of the episode! Grab your pen and notebook and press play on this in-depth conversation about the who and how of sales!


In this episode, we cover:

  • How body body language plays into client interactions

  • What the Desire Sales Formula is and how to use it

  • How to maximize your time spent at an in-person consultation

  • How to detect who the decision-maker is at a consultation

  • How to ensure you don’t ever come across as desperate

  • The most effective way to follow up with a client

  • How to have a profitable business and be able to give back

  • How body language ties into networking and relationship building

How will you be incorporating body language into your sales process with design clients? Tell me and Nancy about it on Instagram!

More about Nancy Gazenkaufer

Nancy is a sought-after Business Coach, Speaker, Body Language Trainer, and Author, named one of the Top New York Coaches in 2022. Nancy specializes in coaching interior designers with a focus on marketing and sales strategies, helping them maximize their profitability while identifying and serving their ideal clients with confidence. She guides them to develop the most straightforward path to higher profitability, visibility, and scalability through confident decision making, efficient systems development and effective communication. Nancy has empowered thousands to know and charge their worth and position themselves in their market with authenticity and authority. When Nancy is not coaching her clients, speaking at a conference, or engaging with her audience in one of her social media platforms, she spends quality time with her family, listens to music, hikes, plays pickleball with her friends, and travels as much as she can. 

Links and Mentioned Resources

The Studio

Coaching Strategy Session

Profit Insider Academy

Giving Back Through Corporate Social Responsibility episode

The Legal Side of Interior Design episode

Connect with Nancy Gazenkaufer







This episode is brought to you by Nello Marelli

Struggling to stay ahead with the ever-evolving design trends while running your business? Discover the secret weapon of the design world - the 2025 Nel Colore Color Trend Book. Crafted by the renowned Italian designer Nello Morelli, whose expertise guides luxury brands from Milan to Paris, this tool is now stateside with our partnership. Get exclusive access to future color trends, combinations, and sociological insights up to two years in advance, ensuring your designs stand out. Elevate your projects and leave the trend-watching to us. Find the Nel Colore Color Trend Book, along with a mini version, exclusively in The Studio. 

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More about Colorful Conversations with Katie

Welcome to “Colorful Conversations with Katie”! Join us for a vibrant webcast where we seamlessly blend the realms of design and business in a fun and professional setting. Available on YouTube or any of your favorite podcast platforms!

Hosted by the dynamic Katie, a seasoned expert with nearly 20 years of experience in both fields, this engaging series promises to ignite your creative spark and sharpen your entrepreneurial acumen. From exploring the latest design trends to uncovering strategies for building successful ventures, we dive deep into the colorful world where aesthetics meet profitability.

Whether you’re a budding designer or a savvy entrepreneur, this webcast is your go-to source for inspiration, insights, and a dash of lively conversation. Tune in and let your imagination, business and life take flight!

This post may contain affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on my site at no additional cost to you. 

This episode of Colorful Conversations with Katie is brought to you in partnership with Leah Bryant Co.

The unedited podcast transcript for this episode of the Colorful Conversations with Katie podcast follows

Katie (00:01.034)

Hey, Nancy, welcome to the show.

Nancy (00:03.191)

Hello, Katie, I'm so happy to be here.

Katie (00:05.834)

We are so glad that you are here because we are talking about one of the most important aspects of business today, which is the sale. And all of us right-bane creative people get to closing the sale and it's like, oh gosh, what do we do? And that's where I need your help. So talk to me about closing the sale. Let's start with we found our ideal client. How?

Nancy (00:14.037)


Katie (00:28.818)

Where do you see, because you work with creatives all the time, where are we missing it in that mantra, always be closing?

Nancy (00:36.759)

You know, the biggest thing is, honestly, you can't always be closing. What you really should always be doing is listening. Listening. A sale is really just a great conversation where somebody wants to continue to work with you.

Katie (00:41.675)

Love that.

Nancy (00:52.455)

So why not just start looking at it like that as opposed to trying to make a sale. Just be a really good listener. You switch that, you make that shift, you shift to what do they really need? Do I have a service model to satisfy their need? And if you do, you now have a match and you have something to offer them. Period.

Katie (00:53.004)

Oh, I love that.

Katie (00:59.831)


Katie (01:17.63)

So what if, where do you see it go off the rails most often? We're not listening, we're always closing. Where else are we missing the boat when it comes to closing? We're kind of starting with the bad examples. Ha ha ha.

Nancy (01:27.715)

You're always.

Nancy (01:32.063)

You know what it is? It's not that you're always closing, you're always talking.

Like, so I was an art framing and accessory consultant for 17 years in the homes with interior designers, watching and listening to them try to sell what they've selected, convince the client of their idea, often not listen to the client and get into their own creative space of what, I could see this here and that there and ceiling should be painted a certain color and you should put a mirror here and I'm off to the site watching the client.

listening to the client and I'm watching the interior designer be completely off base because they got stuck in their creative mind and didn't stop to really be present in the moment. That's what I think is the biggest problem at the moment is that everyone's always waiting to talk and not really listening long enough to know what a client wants and needs from you and determine whether you can satisfy it for them.

Katie (02:31.178)

And you are a nonverbal body expert. What do you see, which I love, because nonverbal communication is the majority of communication. It's just because it's subconscious. We don't typically think about it, obviously. But it's a huge component. How does body framework and positioning and all those nonverbal cues play into that interaction that you're having with a potential client?

Nancy (02:36.452)

like us

Nancy (02:57.751)

So, okay, so I am a body language trainer and I'm certified in body language. And it really, again, it's interesting to watch people when they don't know that they are.

making their first impression. Look at an interior designer as they get out of the car. Are they opening up their trunk? Are they flustered with the selections they're making right there on the spot? Did they have a bag ready to just walk in so they look professional? You wanna always make sure from the very first impression that you're making on a client that they're seeing calm, cool, collected, and have it all put together. Not about your clothes as much as it's the way you present when you walk up to that door. And when you open the door,

Katie (03:40.738)


Nancy (03:42.757)

shaking their hand, are you high fiving fist bump, try to get that, you know, now that COVID is over, try to get that handshake back because the handshake is the touch factor that makes somebody want to be around you and also trust you more. It releases oxytocin.

Katie (04:01.738)

It actually releases oxytocin in the brain to have that moment of physical connection.

Nancy (04:07.563)

Yes, there's studies that prove that if a waitress or a waiter gets a chance to just touch you slightly on the shoulder, maybe to say, how was your meal? You're going to tip them more because they touched you.

Katie (04:19.414)

That is fascinating, absolutely fascinating. And you know, it's.

Nancy (04:21.583)

Okay, and I'm just giving you the...

Katie (04:25.576)


Nancy (04:29.791)

I'm just giving you the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more using your hands, having your hands visible, not holding your phone, looking people in the eye, smiling, is all part of it, fronting, meaning face them directly. Don't be off to the side, wandering around, looking around as much as you may be used to doing. All these things matter, and when you sit next to them at the table, don't sit across from them, that's the adversarial position, sit next to them. All these little things can contribute to your success.

Katie (04:56.278)


Nancy (04:59.705)

I have had designers who cannot close a contract, and the only thing I had them change is the type of gaze they use when they're with a client, because there's three different types of gazes as well. We want to have, you have like a leadership gaze. It's called a power gaze. And once I teach them that, it helps the client subconsciously realize the other person's the leader automatically, and they're capable.

Katie (05:00.696)


Katie (05:16.353)


Katie (05:25.418)

And they're capable. Yeah.

Nancy (05:29.645)

gaze which you use with your friends and family. You want to have more of a power gaze, a more authoritative leadership feeling to your body language when you're presenting to a client. That goes with your tone of voice too, so this even starts when you're on the phone.

Katie (05:46.65)

Interesting. Tone of voice is huge. Okay, give me an example of what does a power gaze actually look like.

Nancy (05:53.875)

Okay, so it's hard to do with the camera, but I'll explain it to you. A social gaze is what most of us do. You're looking into someone's eyes, and when your eyes naturally wander, which our eyes naturally do, we don't stare somebody down, right? Our eyes naturally wander. In a social gaze, the triangle that your eyes naturally wander is usually this way. Your eyes are, and then the point down by your mouth. Okay, that's kinda naturally how our eyes wander. I might be touching my microphone on that.

Katie (05:57.932)


Katie (06:17.293)


Nancy (06:23.749)

With a power gaze, your eyes wander up. You invert the triangle up so you never look below their eye level. Your eyes still wander, but they don't wander down.

Katie (06:32.194)

Interesting and that sends a whole subliminal message.

Nancy (06:37.483)

Yes, it really does. It makes a big difference. One of the things we teach our Profit Insider Academy students is like take a day or two to see are you a social gazer or you a power gazer. I'm naturally a power gazer. I had to teach myself to be a social gazer. Most designers are social gazers and have to teach themselves to power gaze so that they are considered more the leader of the job.

Katie (06:49.474)


Katie (07:00.878)

Absolutely fascinating. Do you find that it's easier for men to do this than women?

Nancy (07:08.155)

100%. Men are naturally power gazers or intimate gazers, but that's a whole nother story. Social gaze seems to be much more common.

Katie (07:10.38)


Katie (07:18.055)

That's the after hours version. Yeah.

Nancy (07:22.331)

Exactly, we don't usually go over that in business meetings, but I do actually teach it because it's funny and you know If someone's looking at you like that, you should think twice and leave the room, right? So it's Just the beginning Katie, right the body language first impression using your hands to help explain things If you're giving someone choices say this is a first choice the second choice and the third choice use your fingers if you're saying

Katie (07:25.226)

I'm sorry.


Nancy (07:48.467)

I don't know your investment level, let's go over some standard prices and you're saying good, better, best. Use your hands to go up so they actually, what it does is, I'm not explaining it so well, it reduces the cognitive load but they don't have to listen so hard because your hands are kicking in and they actually are understanding you. So some designers, very much so introverts, start out very kind of stiff and don't move their bodies a lot.

Katie (08:05.71)


Nancy (08:18.361)

get them to be a little bit more expressive in their tone of voice, changing the cadence of their voice, getting to their lower register as opposed to a really high pitch, right, because some people have a higher voice naturally and it's hard to be considered a leader in that, so you want to learn how to use your lower register and then of course it's getting them to the next stage of the sale.

Right? It's not just about, right? Well, again, be a good listener. So I have a formula. It's called the Desire Sales Formula. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but I'm sure your listeners may not be. It is a conversational formula that will get someone to the next part of the sale. So let's say you're getting a phone call that somebody's interested in your design services.

Katie (08:40.31)

Which is? Yeah.

Katie (08:59.286)

Hmm. Yep.

Nancy (09:04.547)

Most designers, again, don't listen as much as they want to talk initially. They learn quickly not to do this, hopefully. But I say Desire Sales Formula. It's an acronym. So the D, why did they call you? Discover why they called me, right? So you would do your greeting and then say, great. So tell me why you reached out to me and let them talk a little bit about the job. Let, don't wait to try to tell them your rates and how you work and, and how it's going to be, and ask too many questions.

Katie (09:28.183)


Nancy (09:34.621)

Just be a really good listener and only ask the questions that are pertinent to where the client is at the moment Okay, then I want you to dig a little deeper and say can I ask why this is important to you now?

because what happened in their life that suddenly they want their living room done or that their bedroom needs to be redone or their kitchen. What that does, that question is key to the sales process, getting them from phone to in-home consult because let's say they filled out the form on your website a week ago and you're just getting them now or even a day ago when they really were emotionally tied to the fact that they needed their living room redone. Now it's a day later you're calling them and you want to get them back.

Katie (09:49.663)

Oh, interesting.

Nancy (10:19.345)

to the emotional state of what they were feeling when they originally, okay? So why did they call you? Let them explain. Tell me about your project. They tell you. Can I ask why this is important to you now? Let them tell you. Okay, so I have the perfect solution for you. What I can do is come to your home. I can spend an hour and a half to two hours, give freely of my ideas with my 15 years of experience. Or you don't have to say that if you don't have a lot of experience. You can skip

Katie (10:21.475)

Oh, that's fascinating.

Katie (10:41.891)


Nancy (10:49.525)

of everything that I'm thinking related to your space and whether you use me, someone else, or do it yourself, what I share with you is going to save you time, money, and mistakes.

How does that sound? That's the I, by the way. So, discover is the D. Why did you call? Right? Can I ask why this is important to you? Now is the E? Going, digging deeper explanation. Solve the problem for them. I can come to your house and spend an hour and a half, two hours and answer all your questions. How does that sound? Is the I? Involve them. They're gonna say, oh my God, that sounds great. Then the R. Reveal that you actually charged for this, right? Say, excellent.

Katie (11:06.137)

Mm. Okay.

Katie (11:24.834)


Katie (11:32.168)

By the way!

Nancy (11:32.689)

Thursday at 2 o'clock available, by the way, right? But now you've got the buy-in. They're like, yeah, that sounds great. Awesome. I'm available Thursday at 2 o'clock. I do charge $350 for my consult, but like I said, it's gonna save you a lot of time, money, and mistakes before you move forward even one more step. We ready to book this?

And they say, OK, let's book it. All right, I'm going to send you my invoice. Please process it before the session, three days before, four days, a week before, whatever you decide as you're the business owner. Please process this immediately. And then the easy excitement, I cannot wait to meet you. Before we hang up the phone, let me get some more information from you. You just got in the door by saying, discovering what their project is like, why is this important to them now?

Katie (11:54.37)


Katie (12:13.142)


Nancy (12:22.429)

reveal the date, time and charge and then the excitement. That's it.

It works. When I tell you we teach this over and over and over again, now imagine the same formula when you're in somebody's house. You're discovering that you're letting them talk. Now you're asking questions like, I can see this is important to you, why is that important to you? You're getting more information, you're getting the emotional tie-in. Now you're sharing solutions and towards the end of the consult you're giving them your reveal. What can you do for them? Do you have a surface model that fits them? How does that sound? Awesome! This literally works.

Katie (12:29.343)

It's amazing.

Nancy (12:59.062)

all along the way once I teach people how to do it.

Katie (13:03.19)

rinse and repeat, and what are the main objections that you find people get along the way where they're going through the formula and they're thinking, this is going so great, and then they're like, uh-oh, side rail, wait, we're going off course and script here. What do you see as being the potential hiccups that we can say, nope, if you get this response to one of these portions of the acronym, this is what you need to do.

Nancy (13:24.427)

So you really don't get anything until the end usually, right? Where they go, wait a minute, you charged for that? Oh, let me go, oh. I have to run that by my husband, my wife, my housekeeper, my mother, the dog, like people, you know, people ask everybody instead of just making a decision.

Katie (13:35.114)

Yes. It's so true. I might use that excuse myself when I'm vetting vendors for my own life, I'm just saying. Yep.

Nancy (13:46.915)

know right so that's why you can't get really mad when someone says I can have to run this by my husband because that's their agreement in their marriage and that what would you say well why would you do that make a decision yourself of course not of course I would expect you to run this by your husband is there any questions that he normally has that I can answer for you so this is what happens Katie the minute someone gets an objection conversation over usually because they panic

Katie (13:56.438)


Katie (14:04.738)


Nancy (14:12.791)

We teach people how to talk about money and objections like they're talking about breakfast, like it's just no big deal. Don't let the conversation end when someone has an objection. So we also have a hug objection formula and the first H is have to ask. If they say something like that, we tell people, don't let the conversation end, ask that key question, is there anything he or she would wanna know? I wanna make sure you have full information before going to him. And then you can ask.

Katie (14:13.094)

Oh, interesting.

Nancy (14:42.631)

are you feeling like I'm the right person for this job or something like that? Are you excited about this in-home consult? Because you want to make sure that wife or husband is going to their spouse excited, right?

Katie (14:53.438)

and selling it to them, yes.

Nancy (14:57.067)

Yes, because we've all known women who go out to buy a dress for $200 come home with a $500 dress and they're so excited. The husband's like, Okay, and a husband who goes out and buys something that he really wants then right. If you're excited enough, you usually can convince your spouse. So I just don't, I don't want the designer to just go okay, and hang up. I want them to continue the conversation. And then I want them to say

Katie (15:09.751)

So true.

Nancy (15:20.963)

How about I follow up with you on Thursday morning to see how your conversation went and if there's any other information you need. Don't just go, all right, I'll wait to hear from you. Like be very specific, lead the relationship, lead the sales cycle yourself. Don't let someone else lead it.

Katie (15:24.034)


Katie (15:38.346)

And especially because they reached out to you because they don't understand this process. They're looking for a leader.

Nancy (15:41.027)

The second objection.

Nancy (15:46.703)

correct and that is when a designer is too...

much like, well, what do you like? What do you like? What do you like? Instead of taking that leadership role and going, this is what I feel right is good. When it comes to the sales cycle, though, let's say they just say something like, I just don't have the money. I didn't know it was going to cost like, I don't have the money. Okay, so that is often needing to show more value. So I do say in that case, go back to the desire sales formula and say something like, okay, so let me get this straight. You you're having an idea to

Katie (15:54.421)

Yeah, no.

Katie (16:04.366)


Nancy (16:21.041)

kitchen and you need someone's advice on how to like repeat what they say and bring them back through that desire sales formula because that's getting them thinking again. Well, yeah, I guess they are giving me value and then go back to the reveal what you're going to actually do for them in the house. So you have to resell it on that one. And the last one is sort of always I got to think about it. I'm just not sure that the classic I got to think about I'm very overwhelmed. I got my kids home. I this and that.

Katie (16:29.25)


Katie (16:43.463)

Oh yes, the classic.

Nancy (16:50.687)

Isn't that why you called me originally? Right? That's your response. Well, that's why they called you, because they couldn't handle it themselves. You can very gently say, you know what? I hear you. That you're overwhelmed.

Katie (16:54.734)

That's disarming and good. Yeah.

Nancy (17:06.903)

but that's why you called me so I can handle this part of your journey, your rev your renovation, your remodel, whatever it is. So I hope that overwhelm is not going to stop you from at least bringing me in to do the consult because like I said, it's going to save you time, money and mistakes. And you know, I really like you and I'd like to see that happen for you.

Katie (17:29.058)

Well, in time, money, and mistakes, nobody wants to lose any of those. Like, we don't want to lose time. We don't want to lose money. We don't want to make mistakes. I mean, that's pretty hard to refute as well. So once you get to the house and you're in that space, you're going to lose money.

What nonverbals can you start looking for that align with these objections before they've even uttered them so that you can start addressing them in a proactive way? Does that make sense? You know, is it the crossed arms? Is it the what do we start looking for where we feel like we're getting pushback to what we may be sharing when it comes to nonverbals and body position?

Nancy (18:02.027)

So interestingly enough, part of what you're saying, yeah, folded arms definitely is body blocking if they're not cold. So you have to look for other factors as well. If their feet are facing towards a door, towards an exit, like they're done with the conversation, always look at somebody's feet. You'll see one foot starting to wanna get out of the conversation. The other thing is when you present them, let me just jump for a second to like a contract or something that you're trying to give them.

Katie (18:17.014)


Katie (18:28.046)

Please do.

Nancy (18:31.981)

It's kind of like a poker game. If they're not interested in what they're seeing, subtly they're gonna kind of put it down and push it gently forward. It's so subconscious, they don't even realize it. If they're happy with it, sometimes they kind of put their hands down on it, or even bring it towards them. So it's not always about the words they're using. Sometimes it's about watching them. I feel like the biggest thing is that you do have to watch your client. And I know it's hard multitasking as a designer, right?

Katie (18:48.502)


Nancy (19:01.841)

You're walking through the house, you're trying to take notes, you're trying to take pictures, you want to take measurements, you want to write down everything they said and all while still looking at them and engaging. Right? It's a lot.

Katie (19:14.082)

a lot.

Nancy (19:15.711)

Right? It's too much. So what I say is if you have an assistant and you're at the level, bring an assistant to do all of the note taking, the measurements, the pictures. But why are you taking measurements before you've even got a signed contract? So I always object to that. Don't waste your time at a consult taking pictures and taking a lot of measurements because you didn't get the job yet. You don't have a signed contract.

So body language wise, pay attention to the client. Give up, if you can, some of the chronic writing down and streamline your process with a sheet when you get there that you're very organized and you're not wasting valuable connection time by having your head down writing.

Katie (20:00.042)

I think that's the point of being present. And it's gotten so lost in the world that we live in now with all of the devices and bells going off. And Alexa, play this. Alexa, stop. Alexa, turn on the timer for. And sometimes, yes, you want to take notes. But I also find that if I can tune all of that out and just sit in that space and look them in the eye and truly listen, not here, but listen to them, there's room in my brain to hold that information. It doesn't all have to be written down for later. And I feel like the client.

knows that and they feel that. Let me ask you we just

Nancy (20:33.452)

Yes, I believe not everything has to be.

Katie (20:37.422)

Right? I just don't feel like it does. How do you figure out, you're meeting with a husband and wife, you're meeting with partners, whatever it may be, how do you figure out who the power player is in the relationship? Who's the decision maker? And how do you make sure that you're speaking to the decision maker? Because I usually find there's one, and it's not always the one you think when you walk in the door.

Nancy (21:01.047)

Well, I love just to ask, first of all, who is the decision maker here? Both of you, one of you, who makes the financial decisions? Who makes the decorative decisions? Put it out there. They may not tell you the truth and you'll start to see the dynamic of the couple, right? So how many times have we heard, the husband doesn't wanna be involved, the wife said the husband doesn't wanna be involved, doesn't wanna be involved, and then boom, the bill comes for the full service design, $20,000,

Katie (21:06.903)


Katie (21:16.322)


Katie (21:26.638)

So true.

Nancy (21:31.261)

Well, that's not I'm not spending that are you nuts and next thing you know, it's all falling apart for the designer. So Ask in the beginning

Katie (21:36.051)


Nancy (21:40.099)

And you can even tell that story or some story like that. I want to make sure that I know you are the decision maker, but sometimes in the past, once a husband got involved or the spouse got involved, it changed the trajectory of this job. So I want to make sure if your husband cares that he's involved from the beginning. And I require once my design clients get to a certain level as their coach, I say you do not do a job unless the husband.

and wife are present at every meeting. And you may lose jobs. You have to.

Katie (22:12.79)

I think it's so smart. Yeah. But better that than spinning your wheels and trying to figure out who actually is in charge and then saying, well, my husband came home and we had this conversation. And he feels that. And for the longest time, even in my own relationship, it was funny. We were newlyweds. And I'll never forget my husband. I was choosing a sofa. I'm like, this is going to be great. It's going to fit the space. It's going to be fabulous. I'm going to order it in. He's like, I'm not sure I like the stitch size. And I said, are you kidding me? The stitch? I was like, oh.

Did we just get married? Do I even know you? And he's like, I think the stitches are too big. So now when I'm frustrated with him, I'll call him tiny stitches, but he really wanted tinier stitches on that sofa. And so sometimes it's surprising who actually cares, and not just cares, but the things they care about. He didn't care about the fabric. He didn't even care if the size was proportional, but oh my gosh, those stitches were too big. And here we are 12 years later. Oh.

Nancy (22:59.735)


Nancy (23:07.358)

It is pretty funny.

It's amazing. I mean, everyone usually cares to some degree about something even though they say they don't. So even if a wife or a husband is saying their spouse doesn't care until you hear it out of their mouth and even then it could go sour. So the bottom line is, which is a whole different podcast, but you have to have a rock solid contract and make sure that you go over every paragraph that is related to money or deliverables and get their initials.

Katie (23:31.371)


Nancy (23:40.801)

and we added these sections that get the client initials there. Why? Because you're afraid to go over this section. And if I force you to put initials there, have your client put initials, I'm forcing you to have the difficult conversation about money, deliverables, and timeline.

Katie (23:48.331)


Katie (23:58.474)

And those all, well, and they're all directly related. Timeline goes out the door, all of a sudden, you're losing money. There's direct correlations, which is why you want them on board. So do you deliver that contract? Do you email it in advance saying, I wanna have a great conversation with you while you're here, take a look? Or is that an in-person? You're saying it's an in-person, let's talk through it.

Nancy (24:03.747)


Nancy (24:17.931)

Well, what I suggest is that you do, we have a pricing model called The Key, and we give a Canva proposal template with that. We suggest do the proposal, which is a prettier version of, this is how much I'm gonna charge you, and this is how much each room is gonna cost in furnishings, materials, labor, you lay it out. Present that over the phone via Zoom or in person. Don't just email, because then you'll be sitting by your computer a week later.

They are emailing me going, how long should I wait till I follow up? They goes to me, I haven't heard from them. Right, so this, Katie, this is important. When you're leaving that house, you say, I will have a, if they're going forward with you, I will have a proposal to go over with you and look at you next week. Pick a time, pick a day, house Tuesday, 10 o'clock. We'll do it via video calls. This way you and your husband can both be there. And you go over the numbers.

Katie (24:54.557)


Nancy (25:18.065)

once the numbers are gone over then you go to contract now you know they're not going to object over that and now you can mess with that busy contract which again we try to keep it where the scope in the back changes and very little changes throughout but every job is different which causes you to have to change your contract sometimes

Katie (25:36.618)

Well, yeah, and different people have different requirements. Some people want a proposal. Some just want a not to exceed amount. Some just want the problem solved and they don't have a budget, which are the dreamy clients, right? Like, everybody has a different process for that. When do you feel like, and this is a little bit of an inverted question, but when do we stop trying to have that conversation with them? Do you ever get to the E or what if someone just calls you and says, hey, I've heard about you. You're amazing. I want to work with you.

Nancy (25:46.827)


Katie (26:06.672)

them. How do you work through that while still making them aware of all of those things like we need a contract this is how much I charge. How do you do that in a delicate way without them going wait I know you're wonderful but like this is gonna cost how much. How do you walk them through a model especially on a referral?

Nancy (26:25.311)

you don't change anything. You basically get them on the phone, do your desired sales formula, get into their house, do your hour and a half to two hour consult as you're leaving, as you sit down. Same thing, you shouldn't change your process for each client anytime you change your process. That has successfully worked for you in the past over and over again, but you get a client who seems different because they came through a referral or they're really big and I wanna get it, so I'm not gonna charge them a fee. Like no, no.

Katie (26:27.767)


Katie (26:32.917)

Same thing.

Katie (26:51.115)


Nancy (26:55.425)

your successful process for someone who you're desperate to get because they're really wealthy or they seem not to care, that is immediately putting you in a position of not leading that job and you're going to subtly with your body language, with your tone, with your pace of your voice come across as desperate. Just stick to your process.

Katie (27:14.562)

which is the last place you want to be because you've lost confidence. Yeah, stick to the process. You know, it's interesting. I think a lot of times we think of sales as an art form.

And not to take the art form away from it. There very much is an art form, I think, to listening and active listening and giving those affirmations. And I hear you, aha, that's interesting. Yes. And the head nods. But it's also very interesting to think that sales can be very formulaic. And you have a problem. I'm here to solve it. And walking them through how that's going to actually happen. It just doesn't feel like rocket science, which I think a lot of people, a lot of designers feel like it is.

Nancy (27:43.34)


Katie (27:47.87)

in many ways, like, oh, am I gonna get the client? Well, you might not necessarily have to worry about that if you have an SOP for that.

Nancy (27:54.783)

You just have to be conversational and present what you do well. And if the client needs you and relates to you, they're going to hire you. Um, I've heard so many things from designers. Well, then do I offer them my consult fee then comes off of the job? No, just don't say those words. You've got your consult fee and then you get the job. Hopefully. Why? Like this is luxury service. Not everybody uses an interior designer. Try not to make yourself a bargain basement.

Katie (28:05.822)


Nancy (28:24.877)

designer anytime anyone has said to me over the phone at a consult that they get on my calendar I just think interior design should be accessible to everyone and I want to be able to help everyone okay they are not running a profitable business and that's why they're on my calendar and we have to say I know you want to help everyone like you're very nice but I want you to be kind not nice I want you to actually make money otherwise why are you working so hard

be serving your life, not killing your life. So I think learning how to just have a natural

You need me, I could need you as well as a client, and I can provide what you need, and I can do it really well, is the message, and that's gonna get you the sale. And then not bailing on a conversation that makes you uncomfortable, like the objections we talked about earlier. Don't bail, and don't be afraid to do your follow-ups. We have a follow-up series as well. It's like 24 to 48 hours later, do this. Another 72 hours, do that.

Katie (29:14.487)


Nancy (29:33.173)

hours do that in a week you're done and the idea behind that is don't just keep emailing them if they didn't answer your first email then the emails are probably going in their junk folder and they're not getting them so try getting them in other ways pick up the phone if they originally reached out to you with a text or social media go that route if you have to but the final follow-up could be so simple is everything okay I haven't heard from you I'm worried

Katie (29:43.554)

Pick up the phone. Yeah.

Nancy (30:00.555)

And that usually will get a response because after COVID, quite frankly, people are concerned about each other.

Katie (30:03.276)

Let's f-

Katie (30:07.778)

Well, they are. And I think to remember, too, they reached out to you because they fundamentally have that problem that does need to be solved. So you're not pestering them. It's the people that are busier than they've ever been. There's more intrusions than there's ever been with technology and relationships and.

Nancy (30:15.791)


Katie (30:21.918)

If you have kids, oh, heaven help us all. There's a kajillion things going on. And so you're coming alongside them to say, I'm still here. Do you still need help? And I think, especially as women, it can feel like we're being intrusive, like, hey, it's me again. Still here. Like, are you interested? Instead of viewing it from the standpoint of like, hey, when you reached out, there was this problem. And I doubt it's going to wait. Are you still needing help with that? Can I still assist you with that? Like, I know you probably had a lot on your plate. I just want to let one line I love to use is we've been here for almost 20 years.

Nancy (30:25.557)


Nancy (30:31.82)


Katie (30:51.872)

we're not going anywhere. And it's like, we're still here. We're going to be here for you. And there's also the confidence building of that. I want to go back to what you said, too, about profitability, because I think it was so good. If I find that, like, as designers, we're really good-hearted people, and you're right, we want to give design to everyone, right? But that's just not doable. I think that it can be an interesting thing, though.

Nancy (31:00.783)


Nancy (31:10.519)


Katie (31:16.938)

and it's becoming more of a thing, especially with millennials who want that corporate social responsibility and that give back. If you want to give design to everyone, come up with a corporate branch of your business. It doesn't have to be anything hugely spectacular or overly whatever, but sit down with Habitat for Humanity if that's something you need to make you tick.

Understandable. Go find Habitat in your community and say, hey, can I help you with one house a year? What a great marketing tool to use in your business. What an awesome way to give back. And what a great way to still maintain the integrity of your profession by not discounting your services left and right until you aren't able to put food on the table. And I think there's some opportunities there, even if you're just a small firm, to do that.

Nancy (31:48.611)


Nancy (31:58.232)


Nancy (32:03.171)

Definitely, I mean.

We always ask everyone to be involved in one charitable organization that means something to them But also puts you among your ideal clients possibly, right? So I don't want people just joining the American Heart Association if that's not what drives them But almost everybody has something in their life that is sentimental to them and imagine being part of an organization Where your skills can help raise money grow? Possibly Habitat for Humanity is a great tie-in

Katie (32:15.003)


Nancy (32:35.049)

to people who want to help other people. But again, if you can match it with where your ideal client hangs out, they're charitable towards your organization also, you're rubbing elbows with new people. Meeting new people, being a local business is what you need to do in order to keep your local business going. Sometimes you can use social media to do that, but it should not replace in-person networking locally.

Katie (32:42.3)


Katie (32:59.434)

Well, and that just goes right back to the conversation and where we started in the value of nonverbals. I mean, this is a great conversation, right? Imagine how much greater it could potentially be if we were in person, because you can read all of those nonverbals. And I think coming out of COVID, there's this longing for that nonverbal and that in-person conversation to happen. My husband just came back from a business trip, and I said it was in Nebraska. And I was like, how is Nebraska? It's cold there this time of year. At least it is when we're recording this.

And he's like, honestly, it was so great. We had so many side conversations, and we had so many, I mean, there's the agenda, but then there was this one guy who was really interesting, and so I asked him to go to breakfast the day we flew out, and I learned so much from him. And those types of opportunities, they're much more organic, but they need to be, you have to create the environment where they can happen, which is those in-person moments.

Nancy (33:53.035)


Yes, and I think that when it comes to networking, we get overzealous sometimes. Like we want to go and hand out 10 business cards, 20 business cards, get 20 business cards. Really, I want someone to go into a networking event and say, I want to have one really good conversation with one person, maybe two, and make that the goal. And there's so many tips on networking, where to stand, conversational starters, things like that, especially if you feel awkward decisions, you can make an advance that help you walk in the door.

Katie (34:01.634)


Katie (34:06.425)


Katie (34:25.431)


Nancy (34:26.105)

through from, you seem very interested in nonverbal, which is, it is fascinating. And I love it. Nonverbal goes into every part of your business. So yeah, in a networking event, having a certain type of openness, certain type of gaze, certain conversation skills will help you, but let's keep it simple. You know how to talk. Go ask one question. Like, do you have any really great projects that you're planning for the

coming year and then just listen. Right? The people will love you.

Katie (34:59.85)

Right back to where we started. Just listen.

Nancy (35:03.619)

Just listen, I'll tell you one interesting story. My body language trainer gave herself an experiment once. It's Vanessa Van Edwards, The Science of People. She's pretty big at this point, she's amazing. She had an experiment when she was learning about body language and becoming what she is today. She decided to go, I think it was three days without speaking, not one word. And if I remember the story, I might be a little bit off, but she had like three or four index cards

She had two networking events in the three-day experiment.

She's like, what am I going to do? I can't talk. I, you know, I'm vowing to see how people react to me when I can't speak to them. I can hold up a card. So one of the cards said, I took a vow of science for three days. I'm a body language trainer. And another one said one question that could start. She goes through two networking events that following week, she gets an email from one of the conversations quote unquote that she had, and it was.

Katie (35:46.102)


Katie (36:02.559)

I was gonna say the one sided one, yeah.

Nancy (36:05.423)

the one side, it were all one side of conversations. And literally, the email said, it was so nice to meet you. We had such a great conversation, I would love to go out and have coffee with you. She didn't say a word, people just want to be heard, they want to be listened to. They don't want you to jump in to try to give yourself pitch, it will happen naturally when people like you that they want to help you. So I always tell everyone, just try to be likable. And that's half the

want to be around you and then they'll ask you questions. What do you do?

Katie (36:40.478)

And be nice. Just be nice. I feel like that's something, too, that after COVID has been hard, just in that I feel like a lot of the social norms in society as a whole have been lost. And so to your great point, listening really, really well. And then just being kind and affirming. I think it's so oftentimes I saw a great mug the other day that said, I'm not giving anybody gifts for Christmas. Instead, they get my opinion. And I'm like, I think we're all opinioned out. Anybody else just opinioned out?

Nancy (36:54.285)


Nancy (37:08.965)

Yeah, I don't want your opinion. Give me a gift. That's funny.

Katie (37:11.746)

That's what I want. I mean, I'm just saying, right? And I think just to stand in that space and just sit there and let someone speak freely, I have this theory, and I love my therapist. Don't get me wrong. But I feel like everybody has therapists because nobody's listening. Like, I imagine that my grandmother sat around a table with copious amounts of coffee and just had girlfriend chat. And I don't feel like there's time and space for that anymore because of all the things we've discussed, but just the power of the listen.

Nancy (37:36.749)


Katie (37:41.586)

So, I mean, it's so interesting to think we're gonna take sales, turn it on its head. It's not what you're gonna say to the client. It's what you're gonna hear from the client and affirm.

Nancy (37:53.123)

firm and then can you help them or can't you? And then if you can present your business model, period, you're not trying to change it to get them to be able to afford it because they said they're tight. You're not listening to any of their financial stresses. You're just presenting to do the job you need me to do. This is how much it costs. Can they afford it or can they not? If they can't, you reduce the scope. You don't reduce your fees or your margins on your furnishings.

Katie (37:56.823)


Nancy (38:23.617)

Less clients, more money, higher profitability will give you the time in your life to have conversations with your spouse and your girlfriends and you take care of your kids. Your business has to serve your life. It's crazy when you actually sit down, Katie, and say, how many hours a week do I actually have to work?

when I have young kids or when I have older kids who need me or when I have a parent I'm taking care of, a dog or this or that, right?

Most designers, when I talk to them and they're busy raising families, I'm like, let's calculate how many hours you actually, they are like in tears, like, hey, we have 20 hours a week to work. I'm like, okay, let's take that 20 hours. 10 of it's gonna be working on your business, 10 of it's gonna be working on client work. Now, how can we make you $100,000 a year? And that's, we start to back into, how do you get there? How do you get to 200, 300, a million? Yeah, yeah.

Katie (38:58.263)


Katie (39:17.334)

got a scaffold.

got a scaffold out of it. I love what you said. Oh, go ahead.

Nancy (39:21.715)

Right, and use...

Nancy (39:26.379)

You said, and everyone be nice, and I agree, but I say it a little differently. I don't want you to be nice, I want you to be kind. Nice people say yes to everything and they end up burying themselves and they can never say no to a client or to a friend or anything else. You have to have boundaries if you're running a business, running a family, and running a life. Otherwise, you're the one who's gonna be exhausted all the time.

Katie (39:31.542)


Katie (39:36.503)


Katie (39:48.67)

Yes, and to that point, I love what you said when you said, don't discount your fees, because then you discount our industry. Because now we feel like we're at a used car lot, and we can negotiate whatever price we want. And either it's the most fascinating thing to me. People find money for what they want in life, pure and simple. Except that.

Nancy (40:07.595)

Yes, yes, and don't...

expect them to be okay spending money in their home when you're all pissed off that they went on a vacation. Vacation is what they value. They may not value their home as much as a vacation. Everybody's value is different. So rather than get upset emotionally every time, just set your system up where you're getting paid to be a really good listener and to present your services and ideas. And then present your prices if you have a service model that fits their needs.

to say yes or no.

I know I overly simplify it, but anything that they say in the process, just answer. And I'm going to give one last tip. Don't try to answer questions they haven't asked yet, because often a designer will bring them too far down the line. And if they're asking, well, if I hire you, then what would your fees be? And if I hire you, what would your margin be? All over the phone, you just direct them, every job is different. And I do not quite quote my price.

Katie (40:56.831)


Nancy (41:13.637)

until I see the job. I have different service models for different needs. Okay, so don't let the client...

Katie (41:18.57)

I absolutely love that.

Nancy (41:22.159)

don't let them bully you down the sales path before they're ready to hear the answer because that'll shut them down. Yeah, I'm 250 an hour and on average, my living rooms come to 100,000. It is like, okay, click. But if they've met you and they like you and now you start to be able to have that emotional relationship with them, suddenly they're finding the money because you are the one they want to work with.

Katie (41:44.094)

Which is everything. OK, and then my final question. You're sitting here as the designer. You're listening. And you're going, these people are crazy. And this has happened. I don't want to work with this client.

Nancy (41:55.82)


Katie (41:58.702)

I'm questioning whether we're going to get resolution on a design strategy. I'm questioning whether or not they're going to pay me even if they sign my contract. I don't have a good gut instinct about this client. I don't want this client. How do you gingerly and graciously back out of that situation and still maintain your integrity and that of your brand?

Nancy (42:17.459)

So we have come to the end of our consultation. Is there any other questions I can answer for you? No, that's great. Okay, great. So let me know if you need anything else and walk out the door could be one way. You just don't offer them anything. But if they say, well, how do we continue to work with you? What you would say is, you know, actually after seeing your job and meeting you guys, I have to say that I'm not sure our firm is a good fit for you. But you have to have a reason why. You don't have to, but you should, I feel, because it's awkward if you don't.

Katie (42:41.061)


Katie (42:44.638)

Yeah, it's helpful. Right.

Nancy (42:47.313)

If you can detect these things over the phone, what you say is, I can do a consult now, but I'm booking out, I'm booked out three or four months from now, are you sure you want me to come if you're detecting over the phone? But if you're in person, we have a nice little script in our essentials and our lessons and our membership site that says that we don't feel we're a good fit, but we wish you the best. So that could always come after as well. After reviewing the details of the project and the timeline that you would like, unfortunately, I feel that

firm is not a good fit for your project but we wish you the best. It's your company you don't want to work with somebody don't work with them and don't feel like well I did the consult so now I have to. No you don't as long as you gave them value at the consult. That's what you got paid to do.

Katie (43:31.934)

refer to a competitor or not.

Nancy (43:36.139)

So it depends. If you have a competitor who you really know is a great designer and you're willing to give them some, and you know the person has red flags and they don't mind, sure, refer away. But I tend to lean against away from that, right? Because what if they end up being red flag clients and not happy with the new designer now they're coming back to you going, how could you refer this person?

Katie (44:00.53)

Makes complete sense. Nancy, a great conversation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking something that I think feels like nailing jello to a wall to most designers and saying, we got an SOP, even for sales. It's a great conversation, especially about the non-verbals.

Nancy (44:15.115)

Yeah, to have a script for certain conversations, having a standard operating procedure, an SOP for other difficult things, keeps it from keeping you awake at night. So it's important. Exactly. Exactly, exactly. Thanks, Katie. Speak to you soon. Bye, everyone.

Katie (44:26.518)

Yeah, you can sleep and get those hours back, because systems work when you don't. Love it. Thank you so much, sweet lady. You have a great day.

Katie (44:38.23)

Bye bye.

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