trade tales | Mar 1, 2024 |
How do you stay in touch with old clients?

Forming lasting relationships with past clients is essential to any business’s success. This week, we asked 11 design industry pros—Joey Conicella, Michelle Gerson, Alissa Johnson, Mark Kaufman, Kristin Marino, Gideon Mendelson, Glenn Midnet, Celeste Robbins, Mark Schubert, Sarah Tract and James Yarosh—how keeping in touch with former clients through social media, newsletters and get-togethers has helped their firms.

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Joey ConicellaCourtesy of Soco Interiors

Feels Like Family
“When you’ve been in business for as long as Soco Interiors (20 years!), it’s vital to stay in front of clients—both new and old. Oftentimes, we have the opportunity to refresh a home we did for a client years back, or we get called for a second or third home. Nowadays, we are getting to work on the children’s homes of former clients! We use social media and e-newsletter marketing as ways to keep consistent touch points with past clients. We like to show current work, new team members and our company culture so past clients feel like they’re still part of the family, even after their project is completed. Soco invests in traditional forms of PR too, as a subtle reminder to clients that our hard work is being recognized at a high level.” —Joey Conicella, Soco Interiors, Naples, Florida

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
James YaroshPatricia Burke

Blossoming Friendships
“Treating client relationships like friendships is the only way I can work, considering the amount of effort that I put into each and every project. Keeping in touch becomes easy; I find I can reach out and pick up where we left off like no time has passed. I recently hosted a salon evening at my art gallery and design showroom, to which I invited a select group of clients and guest speakers to enjoy an evening of food, wine and learning. I find that having a room full of happy clients with interesting stories to share helps them inspire one another.” —James Yarosh, James Yarosh Associates, Holmdel, New Jersey

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Michelle GersonCourtesy of Michelle Gerson

We Go Way Back
“It’s not hard to stay in touch with people who actually stay in touch with you, and that includes former clients. Our relationships with most of our clients go on for years, and many have become friendships. We always say a job never really ends, because people always want to add new things, update furnishings and switch things around.” —Michelle Gerson, Michelle Gerson Interiors, New York

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Celeste RobbinsDory Tuohey

Mutual Respect
“In general, clients stay in touch with me as much as I do them. The friendships are real. Designing a home is an intimate thing. It’s important to me to be approachable and caring, and to let my clients know they hired someone who wants more than anything to create their dream. It’s an honor to be selected to design a home for someone. After almost 30 years, this respect stays with me. This genuine passion builds trust and friendships that are as lasting as the homes we create. The other thing I do is make sure the process is fun. When there’s professionalism and a project process set up for success, it makes the experience fun throughout. Yes, I keep in touch with notes and intermittent communication, but the real secret starts before the project ends.” —Celeste Robbins, Robbins Architecture, Chicago

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Mark KaufmanCourtesy of GTM Architects

Follow Up
“For almost every house we work on, I like to reach out to the client about six to 12 months after they move in to see how the house is living, understand if there are any critiques or elements they wish were different, and at the same time get an overall sense of whether the home is living how they expected. It is important to hear both [kinds of feedback]—the critiques to help me understand and refine my personal design process, and the positives to help reinforce planning concepts we use on a regular basis. The design and construction of a custom home becomes a very personal journey between the architect and the client. We talk and discuss the drawings on a regular basis. My goal as the architect is to try and understand what the client is thinking about their personal way of living and transform that into the physical world. Staying in touch with a client in the end feels like catching up with old colleagues or friends.” —Mark Kaufman, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Gideon MendelsonGabriel Everett

A Positive Reflection
“To maintain strong relationships with clients, it’s essential to engage with them on various levels. I love to meet with my clients socially, such as inviting them to gatherings at my house in the Hamptons, a night at the theater, or getting our kids together. I also try to keep in touch through email or text—sending personalized messages like sharing articles or suggesting items that might work for their home demonstrates thoughtfulness and keeps the connection alive. Moreover, keeping clients informed about the latest developments at the Mendelson Group ensures they feel involved and valued. Leveraging social media platforms allows for additional touch points and opportunities to interact. Additionally, we created a ‘project reflections’ book a few years ago and gifted it to clients. We hope it’s sitting somewhere in their home and can perhaps be a conversation starter with others!” —Gideon Mendelson, Mendelson Group, New York

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Glenn MidnetCourtesy of Design West

Show Your Appreciation
“We send our past clients yearly holiday gifts to stay in touch, we actively engage with them on social media platforms, and we send personalized follow-up calls or emails. Moreover, we host client appreciation events and implement referral programs to foster enduring relationships with our clients and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to their success and satisfaction.” —Glenn Midnet, Design West, Naples, Florida

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Sarah TractCourtesy of Sarah Tract

Keep It Professional
“I maintain all relationships with clients for many reasons, including: I always want them to feel comfortable if there is an issue, or if they need to reach out to change up a part of their home. It is a long-standing relationship, and I would never want them to feel abandoned or forgotten. As long as we are in touch, I hope that we mutually would have positive feedback in regard to referrals and connections for future projects. Sometimes people move or look into getting another home. If you already had a good working relationship with them the first time, then you can assume the second time around will be just as great—maybe even better!” —Sarah Tract, Sarah Tract Interiors, New York

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Mark SchubertCourtesy of Phillip Harrison Interiors

Build a Foundation
“We strive to build foundational relationships with our clients [starting] at our initial meetings. This not only lets us dive deep into their personalities, but also creates a bonding experience where our best clients become good friends of ours. We keep in touch with our clients through various mediums, such as social media and email campaigns, but we do enjoy catching up in a more comfortable and casual setting, such as grabbing a cocktail at one of the many rooftops here in Chicago and enjoying an evening out at a restaurant we have been wanting to try.” —Mark Schubert, Phillip Harrison Interiors, Chicago

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Kristin MarinoCourtesy of Kristin Marino

Social Engagement
“One of the ways I stay in touch with old clients is through my newsletters. I send out a monthly and an end-of-year recap to all my clients from that year. The end-of-year recap is a fun and joyful letter in which I detail my projects from that year, introduce any new employees, and share any other new news. I like to divulge some personal news as well, so that my clients feel like we’ve built a relationship throughout the process of working together. I also love following clients on social media and taking an active part in engaging with their posts. This allows me to stay up to date on any new life updates in hopes we can work together again!” —Kristin Marino, KozyKasa, Austin, Texas

How do you stay in touch with old clients?
Alissa JohnsonCourtesy of Alissa Johnson

Lasting Connections
“We maintain a dynamic engagement by actively following and interacting with their Instagram accounts, appreciating the opportunity to share in their personal and professional moments. Additionally, during special occasions and holidays, we like to extend our gratitude and well wishes through thoughtful gifts. These intentional touches allow us to nurture long-term relationships, ensuring our clients feel appreciated and connected beyond the completion of our projects together. As we continue to evolve and grow, we cherish the chance to reminisce about past collaborations and celebrate new milestones with our clients.” —Alissa Johnson, Alissa Johnson Interiors, Chicago

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