Whether you are a beginner or an experienced architect from a trustworthy company, the first meeting with a potential customer is always a special challenge. A lot of things depend on the success of architectural presentation: will you sign a contract? Will your cooperation continue in the future? Will they recommend your services to others? Will the good word about your talents spread or not? Even if you read the latest books on architecture and use the newest architecture apps in your practice, knowing a lot about your subject doesn’t mean being able to present it well. As they say, you only have one chance to make the first impression, and this is why your first meeting must have a clear plan.
Using our vast experience in negotiating with clients, we’ve created 13 tips specifically for you. This check-list can help you leave a good impression and increase the probability of a successful deal. The advice we give will be especially helpful for newcomers who have never participated in meetings before. However, experienced architects can also refresh their memories and make sure that they don’t miss anything during the meeting.
The Check-List for Architectural Presentation
Here is what you should consider before the actual meeting:
#1. Determine the right place for a meeting
You can conduct it on the client’s territory or in your own office, but don’t forget that it must look good and reflect your professional and personal reliability. If you don’t have an office, meeting in a cafe or another crowded place wouldn’t be a good idea. The noise will certainly disrupt your presentation and distract both of you. A better solution would be to rent a conference room in a business center.
#2. Gather relevant info about the potential client
Before meeting face to face, it’s better to know who you’ll be talking to. If possible, look them up – find out more about their job, the company they work in, your mutual interests or acquaintances. All of it can become useful for establishing a good rapport during your presentation.
#3. Check your appearance
This is what your potential customer sees before you even start speaking, so you must be ready to make a good impression. You can use the information from the previous tip to adjust your look accordingly. If the person you meet with works for a big company, it’s better to follow a formal dress code and choose a suit. If the company is small, you can be more casual and wear a pullover instead of the jacket, or dark jeans instead of pants. In any case, for a successful presentation you should look fresh and clean.
#4. Introduce yourself
Make sure to tell a little about yourself and your architecture studio. Of course, you shouldn’t share too much and talk for too long, so don’t forget to ask your client about himself and his business and listen carefully. After that, it would be relevant to exchange your business cards.
#5. Find out more about the client’s plans and expectations
After the introduction, you should make a smooth transition to more specific questions – ask about the person’s vision of the project and their expectations on your cooperation. It’s very important to be prepared for comments and to ask for more details, as this way you can quickly understand what is needed from you.