I have a file called “Consultant Concerns” where I keep questions or concerns students or coaching clients have had. This week I pulled five of these questions out and decided to share them with you. Hopefully they may help with situations you may have had.
1. Do you recommend someone at a department store for shopping services if you don’t have time to see the person?
BK: Only if I have decided this is not a client I want to work with in the future. If we’ve made a great connection but our timing is off I’ll give her my next available time and ask if she can wait. Usually she says yes. Or in some cases I’ve asked her to not take tags off the clothes she shops for before I see her. That way she still has time to return them if they aren’t right.
2. What do you do when you tell someone what your rate is and they gasp?
BK: I say something like, “I bet this is the first time you’ve talked to an image consultant and probably didn’t realize what our professional rates are. We are in line with rates other service providers charge like therapists, personal trainers, coaches and even some lawyers.” And then I’ll remind them of the benefits and savings they’re going to receive.
3. How do you deal with travel time?
BK: If I’ve taken a client that’s outside my area I let her know ahead of time that I’ll be charging her for travel time. My policy is to charge half of what my hourly rate would be for the time I’m on the road. If I charge $200 an hour and it took two hours to get there, I’d charge her for one full hour. But remember to charge for both ways!
4. What if you’ve asked for a deposit check before you start working with someone new but it hasn’t come within the time you expected it would?
BK: I’ll wait maybe a week. If it hasn’t come by then, I’ll email or call the new client to remind her. I might say something like, “I’m excited about getting your homework packet to you. If you’ve sent me your deposit check, I’m sure I’ll see it soon. If you haven’t, let me know when to expect it. I still have your appointment date in pencil but will turn it into ink when I receive your deposit.” Basically, I lay out my policy again which is that they’ll receive the homework packet to get started working with me once I’ve received a deposit from them for the first hour of that first appointment. I find that asking for a deposit, even if it’s just for the first hour, it separates people who are just thinking about working with me from the ones who are really ready.
5. Do you have your own closet organized before you work with other people?
BK: It helps to be doing all the things you ask your clients to do. Then you have personal experience, empathy and ideas for how she can create success in her closet. I still do the exercises I have my clients do in the style interview. I do them every season. They help me a lot. It’s nice to share that with my clients.
If you’d like to send me a question for my Consultant Concerns file, I’ll do my best to answer it for you!