Monday, July 13, 2009

How much is too much ?

I just got home from meeting a new potential client and I am contemplating my follow up letter.

The meeting went nicely and the clients appear to be greatly committed to creating a fun loving landscape for their growing family.

While in discussion, the clients generously informed me that they would be interviewing three other design candidates for their project.
This is nothing new to me, I occasionally find myself in competition for a project with other highly regarded designers, but in this current economy, with its lack of work for so many in so many different fields I was wondering if I should beef up my resume and list all my publications and other accolades ? ( which currently I do not do )

Normally after a meeting I write a follow up letter that is client specific. I address specific topics that we discussed in our initial meeting and provide several references that the potential client would be familiar with either from their social net working center or from their business associates. There is usually some 6 degrees of separation that I can link both the client and myself to .

But the rest of the stuff ?
The publications in books, magazines, and video media ? Awards ? Association Affiliations ? Philanthropic and or Pro Bono work within the community ?

How much is too much ?

Currently I don't list that stuff.
I like a nice clean stream lined looking and reading letter. Not too many words, just to the point usable information.
That is why in the past I haven't muddied it up with lots of ( un-needy ?? ) information.

If you're in the biz, do you include all your recent publications and accolades ?

Photo below : That's me and Rebecca Cole. Rebecca won the 2009 Best of Show Golden Gate Cup award from the San Francisco Garden Show.
I won the same award in 2008 . We were having some fun fighting over the trophy. .... "No , No, It's Mine ! ".

From San Francisco Garden Show 2009


danger garden said...

I hope that you get lots of useful responses to this question, it's a tough one. Personally I would say yes to using some of the "xtra" info. Do they seem like the philanthropic type? Or the type impressed by awards? Maybe tailoring what you share just like the rest of the letter is the way to go? I definitely agree that in most cases less is more. Good luck on getting the job!

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Hi Michelle,
Yes, business is tough. Especially getting paid on time!

I would include your awards, publications and affiliations in your resume. You have earned them and they speak to your talent and qualifications. They also distinguish you from the competition.

I don't believe this information is unnecessary, it is important.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Hey danger and Shirley,
I really appreciate your input and points of views.

This subject is one that I am obviously wrestling with.

In my personal world I go by the mantra that less is more.
But in this current economy I am debating that a little more information in regards to my professional make up that more info might be beneficial.

Thanks again for your perspectives.
much appreciated.


John in San Diego said...

Michelle, I happened to come across your blog and your interesting question. While not in "the business", at least not yours, I did spend a fair amount of my life working on proposals for government contracts where tooting your own horn (or at least the company's) was an art form. By all means provide your clients with everything. I would do your normal follow-up letter as you've described, reinforcing that the client's vision is also your vision, but then also provide as a separate page (or pages) enclosed with your letter a thorough resume that includes all the accolades you've achieved. In my mind this does two things. First, if the client has any doubts, this provides them the comfort of knowing your expertise has been well recognized by your peers, and second, it could be a tie breaker, should the decision come down to two of you being under consideration. After all, who after spending a considerable amount of money on landscaping, would also not want the ability to brag that their landscape design was by an award winning, well published and extremely experienced designer.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Thank you for your well articulated perspective.

Now, I'm off to artfully toot my horn.

tout tout !

MulchMaid said...

An interesting question. To me, there's no doubt that awards, affiliations and pro bono work would enhance your appeal and belong somewhere in your presentation.

I also am not in the business, but I have hired a landscape designer. His appropriately personalized follow-up letter made an impression, but what really convinced my partner and me (aside from the interactive meeting we had) was the 4-page brochure he brought. It was attractive, well-organized and comprehensive. It allowed him to highlight his professional affiliations, awards and teaching in a way that painted a more complete picture than just a design proposal could do (or even should try to do.)

I think a separate, leave-behind or subsequent mailed piece could do the job you need. It need not be a slick production, but it should be well thought out and highlight different information from that of your proposal. And, speaking as a graphic designer, it's a bonus if it's beautiful!

Good luck!

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Thank you for your thoughts and experience.

Having a well presented brochure is a wonderful idea.

I've recently started to leave a mini portfolio of images with a potential client.
It has sealed the deal with most of them.
I think I will now mention the various publications, affiliations and awards.

thanks again to all who have generously contributed their opinions and experiences.

Your input has been greatly appreciated.


Susan aka Miss R said...

Here's the flip side...sometimes the idea of working with an award winning designer who is well published can be intimidating to some potential clients. So I think you have to walk a fine line when tooting your horn. It's obviously going to work for some and others will think you won't want their project for whatever reason...too small, can't afford you, etc. You know in your heart/head who needs that prod and who doesn't. It's a slippery slope. I've had both sides this year--project went to a client who tooted their horn louder and another initially thought they couldn't afford me--I did get the last project after I talking price with them.