Why Every Interior Design Project Needs a “Reveal Day” (And How to Plan One)
As you prepare to complete any interior design project, a sense of excitement begins to build.
It’s almost time to finally show the client the end result of all of the hard the work you’ve been doing, and, of course, to mentally prepare to move on to the next big project.
Don’t rush through this important time. Failing to take a moment to celebrate what you’ve accomplished can be a big missed opportunity, both personally and financially.
I suggest that designers not only plan to give their clients an actual “reveal,” but that they designate a few hours to relax and celebrate the end of the project with a “reveal party.”
An official reveal and accompanying celebration will wow your clients with the final results of your work and leave a lasting impression that will invite even more business.
Reveal Days Boost Motivation and Productivity
Part of the difficulty of working alone is that you don’t get the external reinforcement, motivation or accountability that comes from working on a team. (No one is going to show up and present you a “most valuable employee” award.) When you’re running your own design business, all of those things must come from within, or from systems that you’ve built yourself. (Related: Who is Holding You Accountable?)
Building in some time to celebrate your work and progress is a good way to help yourself stay motivated. It gives you some well-deserved recognition.
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But these breaks and celebrations aren’t just feel-good exercises. They also have real benefits for your business.
If you’re constantly in head-down mode designing, it’s more difficult to see the big picture and get a fresh perspective. Those things come from taking breaks. You need some time, especially before you move right into the next project, to reflect and assess. And you might just find that sitting down for a bit to really take in what you’ve designed — such as during a reveal party — is a good way to do that.
Reveal Days Boost Client Retention
Done right, reveal days are a great way to improve client relationships.
Meaningful human connections are valuable in and of themselves, of course, and are a big part of what makes interior design work so satisfying.
But good client relationships are also great for business. When you end a project on a high note, clients will be more likely to hire you again and refer you to their friends.
Once the project is finished, they won’t see or hear from you for a while. Leave a lasting impression by closing out the project with a glass of champagne together, chatting in a relaxed atmosphere in their beautiful new space.
Reveal Days Boost Visibility
If you plan things right, a reveal day is also a great way to get new clients and leads.
Savvy designers will encourage party guests to post photos of the party and the new space on Instagram using a project-specific hashtag and tagging your business. (For more on optimizing your social media use, check out my post: Avoiding the Self-Promotion Trap in Social Media Marketing.)
You can also post yard signs branded with your business name announcing the end of the interior design project. After all, the people who live in the same neighborhood as your client will likely have similar needs and budgets when it comes to their homes.
However, even without social media hashtag or signs, showing off your work to all of the party’s guests and meeting them in person can pave the way for additional client relationships.
I generally don’t encourage discounting your services, but you may opt to offer a short-term, event-specific discount for party guests. If they want to book their own design package to get the type of results they saw at the party, they can get a discount book within a certain number of days after the party.
The Essential Elements of a Reveal Party
Once the end of the project is in sight, it’s time to start planning the details for the final reveal and celebration.
Plan the Reveal Day Logistics
Arrange a time with your client where they will be out of the house for as long as it will take you to install the final pieces of furniture and decor. Then, make sure you have all of the staff and tools you need to get the job done completely while they’re gone. Plan down to even the smallest detail to ensure that the space makes a real “wow” impression when they return.
Arrange for Professional Photography
The most powerful selling point of a reveal party is often the before and after photos that tell the story of how the current design came to be. If you only have mediocre photos, the story won’t be very compelling.
If you don’t have expert-level experience with photography, hire someone who does. There are a growing number of other solopreneurs out there running their own photography businesses who would likely jump at the chance to partner with a designer offering regular local gigs.
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Ideally, you’ll be able to capture photos from the same angles at various points throughout the design process. You may even invite the photographer to come to take photos at the reveal party, too.
If you want to go above and beyond, a video can also make a powerful storytelling tool, especially for bigger projects. It’s easier than ever to get quality videos with phones and make a video on your computer or you can hire a professional videographer to help create the movie you want. Then, show the movie at the reveal party.
Nail Down the Party Details
Work with your client to come up with a head count for the reveal party.
They may want to invite friends, family, or neighbors, or they may just want to enjoy the new space with their immediate family and the design team. Once you know who will be coming, you can opt to send invitations on their behalf.
Then, you can make arrangements for plenty of snacks and drinks. Ideally, you can work with a caterer who can take care of the logistics and cleanup so that you can relax and enjoy the party yourself. For a nice final touch, see if you can make arrangements to use the client’s audio system to set the mood with relaxing background music.
Have a Parting Gift Ready
Because this party will be the end-cap of your work for this client, I suggest leaving a small parting gift, just as another, tangible way to say “thank you” and a way to remind them of you after your work is finished.
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Good ideas for parting gifts are small decor items (think candles or throw pillows), a photo book with all the photos taken during the project, or even a lovely, fresh bouquet. I discuss more about parting gifts, including how to use them to cross-promote your own product lines, in my post Land More Repeat Clients and Referrals With These Tactics.
If you want to learn more about how to plan interior design reveal parties for your clients, I hope you’ll contact me directly. I specialize in working with interior designers one-on-one or in small groups to help them connect the dots on the business end that will bring their visions into clear focus, and then to reality.