This post is inspired by Marie Forleo’s recent video on how to prepare for a big meeting.
Here are ways YOU can prepare for an important client consultation:
1. Do Your Research – If the event is at a venue you aren’t familiar with, read through the venue website and online reviews before the consultation. Search through Google images for photos from events at that location. You may even want to go see the venue in person before the consultation. If your clients have already hired a few of their vendor professionals, do the same online research for those vendors. You can also use Google to find out more information about your potential clients, but not in a I’m-stalking-you-kinda-way.
2. Add Value – During the consultation, focus your efforts on what you can do for these clients. Do you have a design idea you can share? Do you have a tip about one of their vendors that would help? Don’t worry about giving it all away. This is the time to show what you know and what you can do. Of course you don’t want to design their whole event or work through a budget before you are hired but don’t be afraid to share ideas and show your knowledge.
3. Listen – The clients should be talking more than you at the initial consultation. Really listen to what they are saying and what they want for the event. What subtle clues can you find when you really listen to what they say? If you can listen this intently, you will be way ahead of the competition.
4. Thank you– After the consultation, follow up immediately with a thank-you email or handwritten note. If you thought of a new idea since the consultation, share it with your clients. If you found an inspiration image they may like, send it. Show potential clients how much you care.
5. Follow up – If you have not heard back from the client in 5-7 days following the consultation, follow up through phone or email. Do they still have questions? Are they still considering you? Have they made a decision yet?
6. Become unattached – Believe it or not, this one event is not going to make or break your career. Let go of your expectations. If this event was meant for you, it will happen. If not, there is simply another event in your future that will be a better fit. I know how much anticipation can be there while waiting to hear back from a potential client. Take a step back and remember that if it is truly meant to be, it will.
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