INITIAL CONTACT BY POTENTIAL CLIENTS

If the potential clients are positively affected by an advertisement or properly informed by a brochure or Web site, they are very apt to follow up by contacting the designer or firm directly. This most typically occurs by means of a telephone call or e-mail, though it sometimes takes place with a visit to the firm’s office or jobsite (Figure 5—3). The clients make this inquiry to get more information, to have initial questions answered, and to schedule an appointment for a more serious discussion about retaining the de­signer or firm to develop a master plan for their site.

The designer in turn must spend whatever time is necessary to answer the po­tential clients’ inquiry. This might include reiterating information already given to the clients by other means because hearing it explained by someone in person can some­times prove to be more effective. The designer should respond to the potential clients’ questions in a manner that is informative and reassuring. The designer might also need to ask questions of the potential clients to make sure that they are properly in­formed and that they seem to be the type of client that is desirable to work with. If the conversation goes well, the designer should conclude by scheduling a meeting with the clients at their home.