What kind of questions do you ask during the first meeting?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MJK, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 356

    What kind of questions do you ask when your first meeting with a potential client? How do you go about doing your sale? Thanks a ton for the help.

  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    The first thing that I ask is how they want to use the site. It gets them talking about their ideas. Then I just keep them going. Even if the thoughts they have are not the best ideas, I can get a feel for the budget, what they like, how they live, and a real lot of info about them. I'll point out major flaws in their ideas in a subtle way and expand upon them from my own knowledge and experience.

    I'm not a questionaire kind of guy. I know that a lot of designers like to give the potential client a questionaire to get as much info as possible. I like to think that I am a professional and darn good at getting enough of a feel for them from the initial meeting. I also believe that this does not go unnoticed. The biggest reason why someone is going to go with you is that they have confidence in you in that you are listening to them, seem trustworthy, have some evidence of successful built work, and you seem to know what you are talking about whether they know what your talking about or not.

    A lot of designers don't want to give away their ideas, so they don't demonstrate a lot of reason to believe in their abilities. I've been doing this for over 25 years. If there is one thing that I have learned is that no one can get all of what you bring to the table from you slipping up and giving too many ideas. Talk is cheap in that anything that is easily communicated and easily duplicated by the homeowner or his low budget landscaper really could not have been an extremely valuable piece of information in the first place. I will give my ideas very freely and can easily walk away with the prospect that I will not get the job without any feeling that I gave something up. The fact is that by doing that I usually get the job because people easily see what they are goingto get by having me design their landscape.

    After you hear them out and walk the site, break out your portfolio and show them things in it that has some specific tie in to their project. Then let them turn the pages through it so they can stop on things that interest them and blow over what does not. Be careful to point out anything that relates directly to their project as they flip through it. This is a good time to bring back things that they discussed with you in order for them to clearly understand that you listened to them.

    It is all about them being confident that you have listened to them, that you have done other similar work very well, that you are knowledgable, and that they are comfortable in doing business with you. You should leave them with the feeling that they want you to do the work more than you need to get the work from them.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I ask them how they would like to utilize their space.
    Do they entertain outside alot?
    Are there children to be considered?
    Do they like to get out and work in the garden or are they more into low maintenance landscaping?
    Do they travel or are they at home most of their spare time?
    Do they have a certain amount they want to spend?
    Do they like water features?
    Do they intend to sell the house in the near future?
    Have they noticed any drainage problems?
    Are they on water rationing ? If the have a well, what GPM do they get from it?
    Do they have any ideas about what they want to do? Any pictures, magazine clippings they have saved with ideas they like in them?
    These are questions I ask as I am doing what ALGA does, walking the property and talking to them about the job in general, listening to what they have to say and taking notes if I need to.
    Sometimes some of the questions are answered as you talk to them..if not then I ask them.
  4. SOMM

    SOMM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 426

    what do you want to acheive, in what timeframe, and in what budget parameters?

    this costs them $45 for an initial on-site consultation by a pro like us, well-versed in local codes and permits.
    it's applicable as deductable to the signed deal, if they're willing to move ahead.
  5. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 554

    I listen to what they say. older people say I live on s.s. run or give them to a sub. all i have is two days to get this done( for big project). the first thing out of their mouth is i've got a small budget. ask what it is right off the bat. I only need you when I'm out of town (charge double) because he will only call when its deep. the first thing they say the other guy only charged me xxx I always say where is your other guy? they will say he just stop showing up. I say maybe he should of charged more and I will double the old bid. I have one guy time me twice a year for three years to Finally have him say ok do a fall clean up

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