I will admit, even after over a decade in the stationery game, I still get butterflies in my stomach before consultations. And honestly, I think that is ok! I really think it’s normal when you’re meeting someone new for the first time and trying to make a great impression and have all the answers ready to their questions.
When I set up a consultation with a new lead, I already have quite a bit of information on them. I am not going in completely blind. They have filled out my inquiry form that allows me to gather their information, their ideal budget, their quantity, what details they would like to see in their suite, and more. This allows me to come into the consultation prepared. If I know they are interested in letterpress printing and wax seals with calligraphy, I will make sure I have plenty of samples to show based on what they’re interested in.
That’s not to say I don’t have other samples in case we go another direction, but I definitely want to show them what they’re interested in! And odds are if they were iffy on their budget, but then see these amazing letterpress suites with perfectly matching envelope liners, they fall in love.
Plus if you know their ideal budget and they start picking out items that will put them well over their budget, you can gently guide them (they may not know how much foil is!) in a different direction that better fits their budget or chat with them about their budget more in detail to see if some of these details they’re picking out will work!
Having them fill out that inquiry form also allows me to take what they’re asking for and put it into a preliminary proposal for them to see, so they can get a ballpark of what their vision will cost while working with me. I know there is a lot of back and forth on whether you should share prices with your clients before meeting them, but I have seen pros and cons to both. When I first started out, I wanted to get in front of the client prior to giving them a proposal, this allowed me to get to know them (and them, me) and show them what I was capable of.
The benefit of sharing pricing or a preliminary proposal with a potential client is that it will quickly weed out those that are just window shopping and are not ideal clients based on your pricing.
If they’ve seen your pricing for their vision and still want to schedule a consultation, I can almost guarantee you, they will book.
Knowing what they’re interested in ahead of time is one of the main things that can make consultation go smoothly, it really helps lead the conversation as you’re showing them the details they love and y’all start building their dream suite.
One of my favorite pieces that I created for my consultations is my consultation form. In the beginning, when I would meet with someone, I would just have my blank notepad and pen and jot down tons of notes and hope I had everything I needed to come back to them with a proper proposal. Then I wised up and put together a consultation form that had all the boxes that I needed to fill in along the way (their info, quantity, dates, paper types, print methods, colors, etc) and I allowed that form to guide my questions for the consultation as well.
If I see we haven’t chatted about their quantity in-depth or what date they need their RSVP back by, I can chat with them about that and make my recommendations and fill in my form as we go. So I know that at the end of the meeting, I have covered everything that I need to then go do my job of putting together a proposal for them to review.
And the amazing thing with these in-depth consultations (maybe 45 minutes!) is that we have pretty much “built” their suite from the inside out by going through all the details and most of the final proposals I put together after consultations are accepted with very few modifications.
If you’re interested in a complete template of the consultation form I use for both my in-person and virtual consultation for every single consult, you can grab it for just $9! It is a PDF and IDML file for you to adjust as needed and print onto 8.5×11 for each of your consultations so you never forget to cover anything again!
I hope you enjoy!
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