Paper Cuts: Rock The Consult! 5 Important Things to Cover During A Client Consult

It looks like a lot of you did some profile updating after last weeks Paper Cuts post on the three most important things to include in your Instagram profile! I've loved checking out your new profiles and feeling like I can connect with you that much more.

This week I want to chat a little about what you do, now that clients are reaching out to you thanks to your easy-to-connect with profile, when you're having an initial consultation meeting. As you know, I am a huge fan of structure and process, so it probably doesn't surprise you to know that I have a bit of structure and process to help me when I have my initial consult with clients.

First things first, THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to sort out is your MAIN PURPOSE for the consult meeting. For me, the ultimate purpose of a consult meeting is for me to be able to provide my potential client with a comprehensive price estimate that's reflective of their unique invitation needs. There are a lot of other very important things I need to cover during the consultation meeting, but being able to provide them an estimate is my ultimate goal, and it's also the most important bit of information they need from me in order to book me.

Here are all of the other important bases that I cover during a consult:

1 - INTRODUCTIONS: While clients reach out because they've found me somewhere, and might have browsed through my website a bit, I always like to connect a little deeper. I introduce myself and then ask them to share a little about themselves as well as all the fun details about their wedding day. Weddings are my favorite, and I feel like I get to live vicariously through my clients!

2 - SHARE YOUR PURPOSE: I ALWAYS tell my clients that my main purpose is to gather enough information from them to be able to provide them with a price estimate. Whatever your purpose, be transparent and share it.

3 - EDUCATE: There are tons of nuances and details when it comes to paper and printing. While I don't want to bore my clients with every nitty gritty detail, I try to give an overview of the available print methods, paper options, price points, etiquette, etc. This helps narrow down what it is exactly that my client wants, and then we can focus more on that one thing. It's easier to explain letterpress if I know that's the method my bride wants. It's also pointless to spend a lot of time talking about engraving if it turns out to be completely out of the budget. I try to focus on educating my clients around the things that are most helpful for them. 

4 - SHARE YOUR PROCESS: After chatting with my client about their invitation details, it's important for me to explain to them my overall process when working with a client. I spell out exactly what to expect white working together; from the contract & deposit, to the digital design process, to the final file approval and printing. This is also where I set some boundaries and ground rules - it's important for my clients to know how long things take, what my hours are, the number of revisions I usually provide, acceptable payment methods, etc.

5 - EXPLAIN IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS: At the end of every consult I do a few things. I summarize the meeting, repeating back all of the details I wrote down; and I let them know the very next steps for booking. For me, all of my clients can expect their price estimate within two business days of the consult, and I also provide them with a copy of the paperwork for booking (contract, invoice for deposit, questionnaire, etc). Each client also gets a custom timeline so they know what all of their important invitation dates are (when to leave deposit, when to start & finish the design process, when to approve for print, when to pick up invitations, when to mail invitations, etc).

6 - THANK THEM!: It's always a bit humbling for me to think that people take time out of their busy days to chat with me and allow me the opportunity to share my passion with them. I always thank my clients for their time, and invite them to reach out (via email) if they have any other questions.

Another side note is that it's SO important to talk live with somebody - either in-person or over the phone. Email is difficult and can be really confusing. I always prefer to grab a 15-20 minute call than to spend 1-2 weeks answering questions via email.

Wednesdays here on the blog are all about sharing Paper Cuts, which is a behind-the-scenes, down to Earth business advice series. I hope you've enjoyed today's Paper Cuts topic, and look forward to having you back next time! To read past Paper Cut posts, click here.