As I prepare for an in-person new client meeting this morning, I’m reminded of an old college admissions officer’s saying: “The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant.”
It’s always tempting to bombard a prospective client (or employer, or college, or girlfriend/boyfriend, etc., etc.) with a mega-compilation of just how wonderful and accomplished you are. But if you’ve ever sat in the recipient’s chair — as a stack of unprioritized samples lands with a thud — you’ll know why that tactic doesn’t work.
Show me only your best samples. Respect my time. Better yet, show me that you did your homework, and that you understand what my business does and how we operate. If a magazine writer’s guideline says to send 3 pdfs or links of published works, don’t send 2 or 4.
All that said, I’m trying an experiment this morning. Over the course of the years, I’ve downsized from a large artist-style portfolio (which unhelpfully dwarfed my smaller samples) to a more compact 9″x12″ version. Today, I’ve loaded my iPad with a couple of key samples and links that can be clicked through and then files sent to the client post-meeting.
Interestingly enough, many of the best meetings I’ve ever had did not include a show-and-tell portion. My rule is to only open my portfolio if asked to do so, or if there’s something specific that will underscore my expertise in some respect.
Otherwise, my time is best spent by asking questions that reveal the client’s pain points and needs — and discussing how I can address them. And if the iPad remains shut, that’s just fine with me.
Photo courtesy of MamPrint.