Always fish for the ‘dream and vision’….even if there is not budget for it! Give plenty of time to think, listen well, and let the clients ideas tell the story. Visualise, compliment and complement the client! That’s the key to a productive client meeting.
I like to walk with the client, ask most of the questions, as if the client inspired them, to get to know the client, their preferences, dislikes, budget if possible, ideas, dreams and ultimate vision.
I give the client professional advice based on years of experience, and my short cuts too (no need to go to China to have Chinese food) but never compromise quality or quantity. Less is ALWAYS more !! ….well, enough anyway.
My presentation of my visual interpretation of what the client and I decided is basic and with common names of plants (no Latin or botanical names now, not yet), basic description of materials, tools, etc to be used, time it should take, always allowing days for the unforseen and unknown, and a estimated start date.
I keep to my word and my word is still my honour. Clients need to feel important. They must trust me with their dreams and passion for gardening as well as their money ! Not too much deviance from what was discussed and agreed. The client must be able to deviate with budget constraints, or extra ideas/features thought of after I left the meeting and before submitting my design and estimate. I do not over- nor under-quote any other than might be applicable. My design and visual portrait must represent exactly what the client dreamed of and wanted for a long time, must excite and inspire a client to look past small monetary amounts and schemes of my competitors. THE ONE WHO LISTENED & INTERPRETED THE CLIENT’s VISION closest, should get the job most of the time. BUT NOT ALWAYS.
And I do the basics perfectly:
I follow up ALL missed calls, voice mail messages, telesales leads, any message left to return a call for new client or business.
I do my homework, look up, Google and study or learn whatever I might lack or if I need more information and details for that Client’s requirements. I pray to God that he will keep me wise and full of knowledge from years of passionate experiences as to serve Him and the client and my profession.
I make sure I know what the client requires and get all the details, full address, alternate tel.no. from cell number and a time that would not only suit the client, but myself, taking in account the weather, peak traffic periods, road works in area and for me not to hurry, AS I AM ALWAYS EARLY !
I dress very neat, smart casual, clean shaven and smelling the look… lol
I make sure I know how to get to clients address, with Google maps, GPS or Map Studio book.
I always arrive early, 15-20 minutes. 10 minutes before the agreed time is a good time to walk up to the house or meeting place. If you are gonna be late, up to 10 minutes is allowed, later than that, I phone or send a text message, making sure its delivered, even acknowledged, well before agreed time, THE CLIENT’s TIME IS MOST IMPORTANT.
So is mine. I bill accordingly. lol.
I assure the client that they would have my estimate within 3 working days, if not too busy a period, but it can stretch to 7-10 days BUT it includes computer/laptop software design program WITH 2D/3D Landscape plant plan as per Vectorworks Landscape Design, AutoCad Landscaping, Landscape Design Pro and AutoCad Architecture, AutoCad Civil design for construction and building work.
BE INSPIlRING, BE FUN and even FUNNY, BE PROFESSIONAL, BE FAIR. BE REASONABLE , SMILE & LAUGH ALOT
DO NO HARM; environment, profession and not the Client’s wallet.
Word of Mouth references serves and pay me well still after 31-Years.
Thank God always and everytime, even if estimate is Not accepted. All meetings of people are meant to be, is placed on our paths, both parties or just one learns or take something forward from that meeting – Say I.
WALDO VILJOEN. Passionate Christian, Horticulturist, Agriculturist and Environmentalist and Living Life Participant.