First as a quick reminder, the ability to join the Wait List for “The Exceptional Experience” is going away on Sunday, as is the ability to get the biggest discount for the class! So, if you haven’t already signed up, now is your last chance to join the growing list. Access the wait list sign up here and don’t miss out!
Avoid Over Complicating Your Process
Now onto this week’s post, the big mistake to avoid when designing your design process. This is actually going to be one of our topics in the class and we will be going much, much deeper into this during that time. But for today, we’re going to focus on the big mistake to avoid – over complicating the process.
In my work with designers I’ve noticed a myriad of design processes, some strikingly simple, some strikingly complex, but most are somewhere in between. And my advice to almost everyone? Keep things simple and straight forward. For your sake, and the client’s.
The more meetings you have with clients, the more steps in your design process, the more confusing everything gets. The client gets lost in where you are, where you’ve been, and what’s left to go. Not to mention that they also have to take more time off work, or reserve more babysitters for their children, or have to clean their house more for more in home meetings.
And you get lost in “what have I accomplished, how do I need to prepare for this meeting, have I sent out a meeting reminder, oh what time is this meeting again, am I billing too much for all of this oh I just won’t bill them all?” It’s all a lot to handle and remember.
Adjust According to Your Typical Project Scope, But Still Keep It Simple
So the key is to scale back your design process to just a few understandable and entirely necessary steps. Now there is no exact formula of how many meetings are just right, how many are way too many, and how many are way too few, as the number of meetings necessary for a project will understandably adjust with the project’s scope. If it’s a commercial space and you’re completely gutting the entire lower floor of a warehouse, you’ll obviously need to meet more often than if you’re updating curtains, paint colors, and accessories in a living room. So saying that there should only be two meetings to plan the design of each project, one for the design concept, and one for the design presentation, is obviously silly. Scope, budget, residential or commercial, etc. will change how many meetings are necessary. But what doesn’t change is the need for simplicity.
When you’re thinking through your typical design process, it’s often wise to follow Coco Chanel and translate her advice from fashion to the design process, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” The same goes with your design process. It’s usually better to reduce the amount of meetings you have, by at least one. Almost every designer I’ve worked with, I’ve suggested they cut out at least one meeting.
Clients want progress from one meeting to the next. If you hold six meetings between the client signing an LOA and you presenting your selections, your progress with each meeting is likely incremental. And the client would start to wonder why they’re paying such high design fees, but feel like the project is getting nowhere. Clients want to see that their money is being put to good use and that the project is really progressing, rather than meeting again and again to approve more and more small decisions.
Make Every Meeting Prove Its Worth
So when you’re designing your design process or are taking a look at the one you already have, think to yourself, does every meeting that I have add consistent value? Does it add to the experience? Or take away from it? Are there any meetings that can be combined? Or is this better as a phone call rather than a meeting? Or, even the opposite, instead of a phone call, is this actually better switched to an in person meeting? Each meeting needs to prove itself to you that it is in fact worth both you and the client taking that time away from your schedule. It needs to provide real value to both of you.
It’s not about the exact number of meetings you’re having, it’s about having the right number of meetings for the usual type of project that YOU have. It’s about making sure that each meeting has a very real and significant purpose, that a meeting is the right format (rather than a phone call or video chat), that great progress is made from having those meetings, that great progress is made from one meeting to the next, and that your overall design process is easy for both you and your client to follow along with. No over complications. No wasted time. Just clear agendas, clear reasons, and a clear path from dream space to reality.
And if you’d like to join us for even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client experience that gets you greater loyalty, efficiency, and profits, get on the Wait List for the next session of “The Exceptional Experience” before the opportunity is gone!