When to have a consultation meeting
Hello Team Flower friends! I wanted to share with you a question that I had when I first started — “to consult or not to consult?” Consultations, how do you even dive into that concept? Now, when I started, we didn’t have the amazing community such as Team Flower, nor did we have a quarter of the resources available. I learned by freelancing at various floral companies and observing diligently, along with basically winging it. So to help those starting out, or to help those that feel like they plateaued, I wanted to share with you a few of my tips. These will help your consultation process be as smooth as silk and to help you find your ideal client.
Do I need to meet with the client? Where do I meet someone if I’m home-based? What do I talk about at the consultation? Those were the many questions I had when I first started. At the meeting, I would try to look as professional as possible in the corner of the coffee shop with my fancy notebook and folders. And I would choke as soon as they sat down to start the “consultation”. Fumbling for a pen, and starting to think of everything I wanted to know. I’m sure my early clients could feel my nervous energy. I learned how to design, but I never learned how to have a consultation.
This is my disclaimer: “Don’t forget this is your business, and it’s on your terms.” Meeting with the client is a personal preference. Some clients like to meet face to face, go through a Pinterest board, and work up ideas from there. Others will email you an inquiry, and request a quote. This is where you need to decide how you want to proceed with an inquiry. Are you a people person? Do you want to meet? What services do you want to offer? You can rent an office, share with other vendors, meet at coffee shops, or if you have a studio, meet from there.
What I do, and found most successful for me is to have a client complete our inquiry form, then have a phone chat to ensure we are a good match. If we are a good match, I review their Pinterest board or images sent and have a quick meeting to show vase options, props, and anything else they’ve considered for their event. I pretty much weed out my clients with the inquiry form by asking a lot of questions — just to ensure they are interested in working with me. I then dive into the details and ask questions that I still have concerning their event. If I feel the conversation is not a match for me, I let the client know and refer floral friends that I feel would be a better fit. This is not to offend the client, but I’ve decided to work with people that really fit my aesthetic and style, and I want to share my passion with clients that appreciate my passion.
When starting out, know that your client doesn’t know if you are doing things right or wrong. You are doing things your way because you are running YOUR business. That was never taught to me, and I never knew it was ok to do what felt right for me. Be open to feedback from your clients and make your process the right process for you. Feel free to try everything, and see what fits into your method. If you decide not to meet with clients, don’t allow it to become negative — remind your client that you are conscious of their time, and you’d like to save them travel time or whatever benefit you are offering yourself and your client.
Wishing you all the success with your floral company!