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Podcast Episode 23

Welcome back to Couture & Construction, an uplifting podcast dedicated to the many different aspects of the luxury building industry. When we present clients with our vision, oftentimes our clients lack confidence and may resist leaving their comfort zone, even though they actually want to. We’re joined by Kimberly Kelly, Principal of K7 Interior Design based out of Franklin TN, in episode twenty-three to talk about what we need to do to ensure that our clients have confidence in us and the confidence to say yes!

I always approach any project with anyone as a collaboration. You do have to win their trust before you can actually get them where you want them to be.

Kimberly Kelly

Build a foundation and develop trust

“A design client relationship is very personal, you’re building their dream,” says host, Andrew Denny, as he asks Kimberly Kelly what is needed to build a foundation in a client relationship. Kimberly Kelly states it’s very important to be a very good listener. To build a good client relationship foundation you need to learn more about who they are, their day-to-day life, how they use their space in their daily lives. Learning to mediate, prepare, and adapt to or navigate the clients’ wishes will help as well in building trust. And vice versa, it’s important to be able to trust the clients’ intentions as well. There is a network of people behind a designer and it’s vital for the designer to protect those vendors as well, all of which have an impact on the trust that is the foundation of a client/designer relationship.

Questions to ask when first meeting a client to learn about them and their needs range from getting to know who they are by asking about members of the family, work and family life, are there any pets, do they like to entertain, are there any special needs, etc to what they don’t like now and what they love – space planning. Talk to them a little while and listen to get to know them and their personality.

Spatial planning knowledge helps clients to realize what can and cannot fit in the space and gives them the confidence to better understand the design vision. Expertise, education, and design portfolios play a huge role in gaining trust. When you’re able to provide a real, honest answer to a “why?” question from a client you continue to build up their confidence in you by reminding them of why they hired a professional. 

Fear and insecurities play a large role in our clients’ ability to confidently say yes. A lot of times clients’ are thinking more about what their friends or family will think of the design versus what they actually want and like. To help them overcome their fears or insecurities start with small steps and be collaborative. “If I know that my client’s going out of town or has family coming in, I will not send any selections. Because they will all get together and everybody has an opinion,” says Kelly.

As a designer, time management and budget are important factors to maintain the good foundation of trust you’ve built with, not only clients, but builders, architects and vendors as well. “Trust is very hard to earn and very easy to lose,” says Denny. 

Tune in to Episode 23 to hear more from Kimberly and learn how to build your clients’ confidence

More About our Guest

K7 Interior Design + Lifestyle | Kimberly Kelly, Principal 

Kimberly graduated from O’More College of Design in 2013. During her time at O’More, she received numerous accolades. In 2012 she won the Angelo Donghia Foundation Senior Scholarship. The prestigious scholarship is awarded based on a juried competition of 200+ portfolio submissions.

Following graduation, Kimberly worked for an established firm in Nashville designing both residential and commercial spaces. While working with the firm she collaborated on the design for the lobby and owners lounge of the 23 story luxury condominium high rise TWELVE|TWELVE.

In May 2015 she launched her own full-service interior design studio, K7 Interior Design + Lifestyle, located in historic Franklin, Tennessee. Kimberly has designed a variety of high-end residential projects, including large scale renovations, custom new construction, and builder spec. homes. During the summer of 2017, Kimberly collaborated with The Property Brothers, season 6 Nashville.

The designer’s philosophy is rooted in creating a design the user can connect with on an emotional level. For each project, Kimberly’s goal is to create spaces that are well-curated with a modern vibe, layered with color, art, and objects.

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