I've had a flurry of first meetings recently, including one I just got back from. It's a dance to get to know one another. I think if the proper steps are followed, the dancing part will soon feel like we are "Dancing With The Stars" (apologies, I could not resist that). It is these intial steps, too, where manners are very important, along with other tips for a successful first meeting. Here are some dos and don'ts for the Kitchen Designer, (first) as I see it:
- When a client calls, DO hear him/her out, and if the project is not for you, turn the client down gently and diplomatically. That's a biggie!
- DON'T name drop or go on about all the huge projects you do, it's a turn off. The work you show speaks loudly and clearly.
- DON'T dominate the conversation, be a good listener!
- DO have adequate examples of work you've done on hand.
- DO speak to, and pay attention to, both homeowners equally.
- DO be on time, respectful, courteous and establish an approximate meeting length beforehand.
- DO show where the financial flexibilities lie when speaking of the project's budget.
- When the dog's nose goes where it shouldn't, DO keep smiling...
Dos and don't for homeowners:
- DO give the kitchen designer time to tell you their (short) story about the firm and his/her approach to your project
- DO have both homeowners available to speak with the kitchen designer if that was requested. If one party cannot make it, call to reschedule the appointment, even if it is 1/2 hour prior to the appointment.
- DO tell the kitchen designer if you have decided not to go with him/her if the designer attempts further contact with you to find out the status. Don't not reply to calls/emails for a status request. THAT is a biggie!
- DO evaluate the kitchen designer not on the product they supply, but on their body of work, their credentials, professionalism, and that important "gut feeling" you'll get!
- DO feel free to ask for references.
- DO evaluate if you are respected and listened to. Nothing good will happen for you if you feel you are not respected.
- DO speak frankly and openly about your budget and how/if there can be a financial "fit" between you.
There are definitely many more....this is a good starting point. What are turn ons and turn offs for you when first meeting a design professional?