The topic of efficiency has been on my mind after a recent conversation with one of my clients. We were discussing our client processes, and I realized she had a completely different way of doing things. While there’s not necessarily one ‘correct’ process or way to run your design business, it’s important to constantly be analyzing what we’re doing and thinking of ways to improve. Here are a few tips that will help you increase your efficiency, and save time and money in the process when dealing with clients.
Have a proper intake process
As a K&B designer, you’ll get all different sorts of clients. Some will know exactly what they’re looking for and will be able to properly articulate it, others will want you to take the lead. Every once in a while you’ll get a client who doesn’t seem to know what they want.
While having a good intake process won’t help out with every difficult client, it will certainly help clarify things across the board. Make sure you’re asking specific questions about their style as well as their unique needs. Ask for specific samples of what they like – you can have them create a board on Pinterest or Houzz with their favorite styles.
By having a proper intake process you take every client through, you’ll not only appear more professional, but you’ll save time down the line, as there will be less back and forth trying to agree on a plan if you already have a solid idea of what they’re looking for.
Present a couple of design options
After I have the intake form/call, my process has always been to present the client with a few rough design concepts. I don’t overwhelm them with options – but I usually do like to show them two-three rough designs to choose from.
This is where my process differed with my client. She had spent lots of time presenting one initial design to her client. It ended up working out well for her, as the client loved the design. But I couldn’t help but wonder – what if she hadn’t? Would all that time, energy, and money spent working on the initial design have been a good use of resources?
Do not put too much detail into your initial renderings
If you want to ensure you don’t end up wasting any time, make sure to not put too much detail into your initial sketches. Present a rough draft with minimal detail and then slowly add to it. This way, you might have to make small tweaks, but you’re never having to fully re-do parts of the process.
I don’t proceed in doing complete technical elevation drawings, tile detailed drawings, construction drawings, etc. until I have given the customer a choice of what they like and we are in agreement on the direction.
With my mentoring client, I know she put in a lot of effort and finances into her initial presentation, and while it worked out for her this time, I cautioned her against doing it again. If you put in too much time into your initial idea, and then the client is dissatisfied, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch.
I sometimes get this impression that designers want to ‘wow’ their clients with pretty drawings. But I want you to remember – it is not about wowing them with pretty drawings, it is about wowing them with the concept and a well designed final project!
So drop the need for perfect aesthetics when presenting your initial designs and sell them on the concept instead. You’ll save yourself time, money, and energy and make sure you’re never getting too far ahead of yourself.
I’d love to know…what does your client process look like when presenting ideas? Come let us know over in my Facebook Group, Kitchen, and Bath Design Tips for Designers.