Prospects – What to Take to the Meeting

Don’t get caught having to ask the prospect for a pen – or directions to the loo.

Computer

I see young web designers always carry a laptop/tablet to meetings. What for?

I have loaded my portfolio onto a laptop with the idea that prospects will be able to browse through them. Or, I can quickly lay my hands on a specific example of the sort of website they might be wanting.

It doesn’t work. However, I still take the netbook to show that I am something to do with computers. There is simply not the time to fire up the Internet and scratch about for the site you think they may be interested in.  They’re usually not, after 5 minutes of frantic searching. Then the battery goes flat.

Murphy’s Law will also ensure that if you want to show the prospect one of your sites, there will be a great big error on the page you choose. Even worse, a 404.

Portfolio

I used to print screengrabs of my portfolio and put them in transparent pockets. The screengrabs were printed on coated paper for colour density and simply glued on the page.

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Lately, I upgraded the folder. I either printed my own postcard sized screengrabs or got them done at a Postnet. And stuck them on black card. And bought a plastic comb binder. And put a transparent sheet as the front and back cover.

Now they look presentable. I also made sure that the visually appealing sites were at the front. As new sites arrive, I can print grabs and add them.The folder of screengrabs always gets attention if you remember to leave it out on the table. And you can still lay your hands on that site.

Company Profile

What else? A company profile is worth putting together and leaving behind. One thing that is useful is a file of AWStats printouts to show the prospect what he can expect both in terms of traffic and general information.

Emails

Also take any relevant emails – they’re more useful than you think.

Stationery

bagsI also take an exercise book and couple of pencils. I bought a very fancy plain paper, leather bound book in India. Very striking. I usually make notes in it and prospects do remember that book. It’s got a huge clasp on the front that presents a massive lump that is almost impossible to write on. But they remember that book.

Business Cards

bcardEasily forgotten. Have one ready to produce in your top pocket. Don’t rummage around in your wallet for some filthy, dog eared scrap.

Hundreds of books have been written on card design.  Mine is simple but unique.

Your Bag

As long as it’s not shabby and unprofessional, anything will do – even an old leather briefcase. I use a black nylon laptop bag that will take the laptop and also has a bunch of pockets for things like a laser pointer, the cellphone (ALWAYS turn it OFF) and car keys (don’t have them bulging out of your pocket). I also have a simpler document bag, also black and nylon for short non-prospect meetings. In both bags is a supply of business cards. I also put my wallet in the bag and try not to look like a refugee from a shoplifting trip.

OK, You’re cool and out the car. Carry your bag in your left hand. You’re going  to shake hands. Prospects will not like to shake hands with something that’s hot and very sweaty.

Your Cellphone

SWITCH IT OFF! Before the meeting. Not even on silent. SWITCH IT OFF.

Checklist

  1. Business cards
  2. Portfolio folder
  3. Empty bladder
  4. Computer – perhaps
  5. Pen/pencil
  6. Notebook
  7. Email correspondence
  8. Critique of his present website if any
  9. Suitable bag
  10. Quotation – if you’ve already quoted
  11. Company profile
  12. Phone (switched off)