Sharing About Your Firm—Only If Asked
We think that by being given the opportunity to meet, we’re being given carte blanche to talk about our firm, our projects, and the impressive client list we’ve amassed over the years.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There is a critical point in a client-to-be meeting where we are “given permission to sell,” and you have to wait for it. Unless the prospect asks about you, your firm, your projects, or your services, please remember: you are not there to talk about yourself or your firm! You are there to learn about the prospective client to determine if it is worth further cultivating the relationship.
Assuming the client does become curious enough about who is sitting across the table, there will be a point in the meeting when you are invited to share about your firm. Only then is it okay to convey what is important for your prospect to know.
A very brief introduction to your firm, your own background is appropriate. What’s most important is explaining why you’ve decided that the potential client fits the profile of your firm’s ideal client, and how you selected the organization as a potential client. It might sound something like this:
Every year our firm selects a handful of small private colleges to get to know to determine if there’s a fit. We look for institutions that value design, have historic buildings, do not have campus architects, and may not have engaged in a master planning process, or whose master plans are dated. Since we offer master planning, as well as architectural design for historic preservation, renovation, and adaptive reuse, Oberlin fits the profile for us of an ideal client. We wanted to meet to see if there is a fit culturally between our firm and your institution.