5 Tips to Help You Attract the RIGHT Client

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In my courses and live events, I talk a lot about attracting your ideal client. Not your idealized client, but the one that is perfect for you and the way you do business. Many of you tell me all the time that you are getting clients, but for some reason they’re the ones that everyone warns you about, the wrong fit for you or maybe even one of those not-so-great clients that can drain you of energy and creativity. No one wants that!

So how do you avoid the bad-fit clients and attract the right ones for you? I’ll give you my top 5 tips to help you get it right:

1. POV. What’s your point of view, or your niche? What’s your specialty? What sets you apart from other designers? Do you know? That may be your entire problem! You need to differentiate yourself, and you need to point out HOW you’re different in your marketing and communications. That’s actually a two-part issue. For the first part, you need to define and refine your unique selling proposition. Even if you think you know what it is, take a hard look at your business, your brand, and your niche. Is it really solid? Do you believe it in it completely? Because if you don’t believe it, how in the world will you convince a great client to believe in it, too?

fit in

2. Tell them. For the second part of that tip above, I want you to review your website and your social media. What would those sites tell someone who knows nothing else about you? Are they sending the right message? For example, if you really want to attract clients who love modern design and super-edited rooms, is that what your portfolio shows them? Or are your photos all of traditional design? You might be confusing your message! You can always design a room or two in your own home, in a showhome, or in a friend’s home, to give you the photos and look that you want to show the world. And double-check your taglines and copy – do they clearly spell out your niche and your services? It’s difficult to attract the right client if they can’t figure out who you are and what you can do.

3. Remove emotion. It’s difficult to keep yourself from saying yes to every single client who calls or contacts you. That’s why I think it’s so important to have a screening system for clients – it helps you weed out the ones that aren’t a perfect fit without having you get emotionally attached to the client, or the money. If you can’t afford someone to answer your phone, at least have a client questionnaire on your website that asks some screening questions. On my site, I include a range of budget numbers so I can immediately get a sense of where that person fits. We also ask questions about the scope and size of a project, and my screener asks what they like about my work. If they say they haven’t really seen my work, then that client isn’t a fit. Find a way to keep from getting emotionally involved before you find out if that client is a fit for you!


4. Time for benefits. Studies show that people want to save time MORE than they want to save money. Their time is precious to them – so speak that language. Be sure you’re telling prospective clients exactly how your services will help them in their own lives, that you will save them time and energy on all the thousands of decisions that go into designing a stunning home. And if you have any other amazing benefits, be sure you’re listing those, too!

5. Be honest. However, if you aren’t the speediest designer around (and that’s ok!), then don’t say that you can create a room faster than anyone else. That’s a recipe for disaster for both you and that potential client. Instead, point out that you have the knowledge and talent to make the job run smoothly and efficiently, bringing it in on time and on budget. Honestly is definitely the best policy when you’re talking about your niche and your abilities!

And as you’re weeding through those potential clients, watch out for those red flags that tell you the client isn’t a fit! You know what those red flags are – and they’re different for every one of us. But pay attention to what your gut is telling you. And use these tips to be sure the right potential clients are headed your way!







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On the Road Again!

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I can’t believe it’s almost July! The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of travel for me, which has made the time really fly by. And as much as I want to be home working on my interiors, I do find lots of inspiration from my travels and fabulous finds for client projects! And aside from the amazing inspiration in the cities I visit (like Chicago last week), the events I’ve held and attended have introduced me to incredible people and let me visit with longtime friends.

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In May, I held my Designer MBA class at ADAC in Atlanta, where the Duralee team (above) hosted a fun cocktail reception for my attendees and my new fabric launch. Atlanta is so much fun, and the ADAC group was fantastic to work with, too!

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Then I got to meet up with my great friend Barry Dixon in Dallas and Houston as we hosted a presentation on the business of design, and also talked about his new line with Fabricut and mine with Duralee. I always love catching up with Barry!

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In Chicago, my Mastermind group met at the Eastern Accents headquarters, which are amazing! The Eastern Accents team also gave us an incredible tour of their factory where we were able to see their stunning designs under construction, like the pillow above with its pattern template. So cool!

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The group also heard from successful designers about how they do business, and I’m so thankful to Denise McGaha and Tiffany Brooks for being so open and sharing so much with the members. We also had fun doing a little shopping in Eastern Accents from their samples. And designer Rachel Cannon Lewis even spotted her client’s order, waiting to be shipped!

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And while I was in the Chicago area, I also hosted consumer and designer presentations at two Toms-Price retail locations in Lincolnshire and Wheaton. It was so much fun to meet everyone who came out to hear me talk about color and the business of design- and to see my CR Laine designs on the retail floor and get a glimpse at my Woodbridge collection hitting Toms-Price locations this summer.

Whew! It’s a good thing I’m heading to the beach this weekend. Yes, it’s more travel, but this time with family and friends so there’s a lot of relaxation waiting for me at the other end of this trip! And just for a week I am leaving work, my house and dog, plant watering, my home renovation and punch list and all my daily responsibilities to my fabulous team, sub-contractors, house-sitters and friends back home.

Happy Summer!







PS – If you’re interested in becoming a member of my Mastermind group, just click here! This amazing group of designers is serious about elevating their businesses with me, and I’d love to do the same for you! Click through this link, or email me at info@tobifairley.com to get started today!

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Shopping Guide: Patriotic Looks for Summer

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Red White Blue

Can you believe we’re less than two weeks from the Fourth of July?! This year has flown by, but I’m slowing down next week to really enjoy summer as I head to my favorite beach with my family!

Getting ready for that trip has me thinking about the fabulous palette of red-white-and-blue, and how I can wear it, or use it, for the fabulous Fourth. Rather than getting all literal with flag motifs, I like this gorgeous trio of colors for summer soirees and getaways! So if you’re getting ready for your long holiday weekend, pick up a couple of these fabulous finds – for you or for someone special.

Happy shopping!






  1. Lapis Lazuli Wall Art: Add shades of cobalt to your home decor with this beautiful pair of lapis lazuli hangings. I love the natural element of the lapis!
  2. Patriotic String Lights: String up your patriotism for all to see at your Fourth of July barbecue with these red, white, and blue string lights!
  3. French Fry Cup: Keep your party festive with these fun vintage-inspired french fry cups!
  4. Confetti Dot Napkins: Use your patriotic theme to dress your table for a party with these fun confetti dot napkins, available in navy or red!
  5. Chinoiserie Ceramic Lamp: Infuse your space with a little red and white with this gorgeous chinoiserie lamp with Lucite base!
  6. Reversible Leather/Canvas Belt: Finish off your holiday outfit with the perfect tailored accessory – a belt! This lovely belt is also reversible with red leather or the Gucci logo in canvas.
  7. Tory Burch Miller Patent Logo Sandal: I love my Tory Burch logo sandals, and this pair in vermillion would be fabulous for a casual outdoor party.
  8. Milano Dinnerware Collection: Serve your holiday meal in style with this classic navy and white dinnerware set.
  9. Tory Burch Pop Bag Charm: Add a little red, white, and blue to any bag with this summer inspired charm.
  10. Rouge d’Armani Lipstick: You can never go wrong with a classic red lipstick for any event or occasion. This fiery red shade will put your holiday outfit over the top!
  11. Patchwork Flat Clutch: Polish off your patriotic look with this patchwork inspired clutch. The classic red, white, and blue color palette will look great year round!
  12. Beats by Dr. Dre: If you’re heading down to the pool to enjoy this holiday, don’t forget these headphones to drown out the noise and relax to your favorite songs.
  13. Personalized Turkish Cotton Towel: I love giving individual gifts, and this personalized towel would be the perfect hostess gift for the Fourth of July bash you’re attending!
  14. Grand Lacquered Tray: Fabulous to serve drinks, hold magazines on an ottoman, or display those freshly baked cookies, this navy lacquer tray will never disappoint.
  15. Tricolor Tote Bag: This stunning Prada bag is sure to be your favorite red, white, and blue go-to piece!
  16. Reversible Enamel Pendant Necklace: Keep things casual at the pool or beach with this lovely enamel pendant that’s reversible for double the versatility!
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Tobi TV: Comfortable Family Rooms That Work

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Family rooms are great gathering places for the home – it’s the one place where you can get all the family members to hang out together! So you want this room to really work for the people who live there.


Whether your room is large like the one in this video or much smaller, all my tips for making your space function will still apply. Take a look:

Comfort and function – two of my favorite things! Let’s review those tips:

1. Multiple seating groupings in a room help you take advantage of all your square footage. Think about creating “conversation areas” within your space.

2. Swing arm lamps add the perfect amount of light for reading and are great when there isn’t enough room for tables and lamps.

3. Ottomans floating in your space can be pulled up to a variety of chairs and sofas or stand alone as an additional seat. They also add comfortable resting spots for feet when it’s time to relax.

4. Swivel chairs are perfect for swiveling towards the television or swiveling back into a conversation area, or two!

5. Recliners that look like club chairs are the perfect combination of comfort and style.

Try including these tips and techniques into your family room for the ultimate in function and beauty. Now leave me a comment and let me know which of these tips really resonate with you. And be sure to share this post with all your design-loving friends!







For more tips and ideas, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel, featuring every episode of Tobi TV!

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10 Tips for Winning Over that Skeptical Client

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We’ve all been there – we have a great client “on the hook” but they just won’t commit. It can be so frustrating, especially when you’ve practically designed their entire house in your head and you’re ready to jump in! So what’s a creative to do in this situation?

I have 10 tips that will help you move that client right off the fence and into your “current client” category! Try these to hone your art of persuasion:

1. Take it face-to-face. Often in this digital age, we’re talking to clients via email, text, and phone rather than sitting down together for a meeting. We use the excuse that everyone is too busy and that taking care of it all online streamlines everything. But what that also does is keep you from establishing rapport with that potential client, and that’s not good. So if you have a client that’s wavering, have a meeting where you can sit down and just talk!

2. Don’t make it personal. First, don’t let your emotions get in the way. If you’re pushing too hard, some people will naturally back away. I know you’re excited, but don’t let that overwhelm the situation. And on the other side of the coin, don’t get angry or frustrated because they aren’t saying “yes” right away. People can always sense that frustration.


3. Be strong. Okay, let me clarify: I do NOT mean that you should strong arm them! What I mean by this is don’t cave on your pricing structure or bend your own rules and procedures because you’re caught up in the moment of trying to get them to sign your contract. That’s not going to work out for you in the long run.

4. Show your knowledge – and confidence. There is one reason that people are seeking you out – you have knowledge and skills that they don’t. So be sure that you’re showing your confidence in your abilities. That confidence will make them trust you and your ideas.

5. Draw them out. See if you can get to the heart of their hesitation. What do they really want that they aren’t telling you? Do they need more time to decide? Are they feeling overwhelmed? Ask them how they are feeling about what you’ve presented, and tell them that you love feedback.

6. Listen. People can give you feedback, but it’s no good if you don’t actually listen to it. Be sure that you are really hearing what that person has to say and what they really want. Sometimes the very information you need to finish the sale is in what they’re saying – and not saying.


7. Use a little humor. This is always a really stressful time for people. Even if they have a lot of money, it’s hard for some people to commit to giving you thousands of dollars. And then you add to it the fact that it’s about their home, their most intimate spaces, and the emotion goes up 1000%. So try using a little humor to break the tension – but only a little.

8. Be committed. You have to commit to making the sale. What I mean by that is that this can also be emotional for YOU – and a real confidence sapper. So instead of following up with meetings and questions, you may avoid the hard work of getting to the heart of why the person is hesitating. But you have to commit to seeing it through. Go back and look at #2 – it isn’t personal.

9. Show you care. Everyone loves gifts, right? So be sure you’re giving something thoughtful and heartfelt to the potential client. Maybe for a meeting in their home, you could take a set of books for their child, or a basket of dog toys for their pet. Show that this is the type of fantastic client experience that they will have through the whole process with you.

10. Prove that it’s smart decision for them. This is really the big one. You want to show them how you will save them time, money, and headaches – and you’ll produce their dream home for them, too! Give them the facts and figures they may need to see why going with you is a smart idea. And of course, don’t let it just be about your fees because you never win when you play that game. It has to be about your expertise, your knowledge, and your contacts that will save them money in the long run – not a savings on your fees.

So what do you think of these tips? Do you think you can use them to get that ideal client into your pipeline? Let me know in the comments section below!








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