Three architects walk into a Google Hang Out On Air talking about the best ways to impress a prospective client. Their tips and tools are no joke. Take note.
For our October episode of How to Succeed in Architecture, we invited Marica McKeel, Evan Troxel and Emily Bello to share on Google Hangout on Air their best tips and practices for meeting with current and prospective clients. We learned a lot! Below are the highlights from their participation, you can also read all the comments on the event page for this event. And don't forget to sign up for our next Hangout on Air: How to Succeed in Architecture: Social Media to Get What You Want.
MEET THE CLIENT
Where should you meet a prospective client: their place or your place?
- When you meet at your place (or studio, or office) the space will be considered an extension of you and your level of taste (no pressure).
- If you meet at the client’s place, you'll get a sense of the client in her habitat (useful if you are doing residential work).
- Why not meet on site? Take a field trip and walk around the area where the project is going to be (Socratic approach, works like a charm).
- Meeting at a cafe’might be a great option for a first introductory get together (but please, pay for the coffee, will you?).
Put your best foot forward.
- Many architects offer a free first consultation, or a free first hour. As Evan Troxel remarked:
“You would be surprised what architects would do for free to get the job”
What to bring to the table (on top of a great attitude).
- Roll of tracing paper and pencil, or a sketch pad (just don’t let the clients walk away with any design until they sign a contract).
- Bring some ideas, but not all the ideas. Be open to their ideas.
- At this point in the meeting, you are mostly there to listen. It’s all about them.
- In future meetings you might want to impress the client by getting the project into their hands, literally.
- If you really want to make an impression, show up with a 3D printed model.
YOU ARE HIRED
Once you have convinced clients you are the best thing that has ever happened to them, and they sign a contract, keep up the expectations with some ninja tips for future meetings:
- Remember, most humans can’t read floor plans. Images, renderings and sketches will do the trick.
- It is more than OK to outsource renderings. Just be prepared to work as hard with the person rendering for you.
- Set goals and topics for each meeting and make sure to cross all of them.
- Set up a no grazing policy: all cell phones must be put in a basket during the session.
- Know your tools well and always have a back up.
- Take notes during the meeting, or ask a team member to do it for you.
- Make sure every phase of the project is agreed upon in writing.
- Preliminary questions or a questionnaire can be helpful to get a better idea of the client’s needs.