How do you go about finding out what a client really wants?

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wrote:

Sure she does. She has a VAGUE idea. She wants something like the one you did for your sister. Use that as a starting point.

Which artisans? Where did she find the things that she 'likes'? Just like you've done with your family over the years, you need to find out more about her likes and dislikes...her decor...etc.

Call her.

Bad idea...IMHO. And it doesn't sound like its working, either.
YOU pick something...YOU push...YOU design...YOU set deadlines, etc. She obviously doesn't wanna be bothered. Most customers don't.
I'm just guessing here...but I don't think whatever you make for her will be as important as the fact that she had it ESPECIALLY made by you for whomever she gives it to. It'll be a SPECIAL gift...made especially for her friend...as opposed to something she could simply have bought over the shelf.
If she already has the recipient in mind, suggest that you sign it to include the recipient's name.

You need to take the initiative, Leuf. She is definitely more inept at this than you are. She's looking to you for direction. DON'T ask her to make too many choices. YOU put the project together...the ENTIRE project...and then get her final approval.
I wouldn't worry about getting any money up front, if I were you. Just build it...and let her know approximately what it will cost. If you get stiffed for the materials, it shouldn't be the end of the world for you.
And this whole thing will be a great experience for you...especially if you plan on future endeavors like this.
Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
P.S. If things go well, get some business cards made. Later, ask her if you can use her as a reference.
Have a nice one...
Trent
Budweiser: Helping ugly people have sex since 1876!
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I was making things more complicated than they needed to be. It took less than an hour to come up with a rough sketch based on the first one I did, scaled down with a different top and using the materials I have on hand. I sent it along with a photo of the woods this afternoon and have already gotten an enthusiastic go ahead from her.
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze3kkvm/proposal.html
I was thinking about putting together a little photo album of pictures taken along the way with my contact info at the end to send along with it. I can send a few to the client to keep her updated, and then perhaps the album will bring another job.
-Leuf
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Tue, Nov 2, 2004, 5:30am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@dontemailme.com (Leuf) I was making things more complicated than they needed to be. <snip>
Told ya so. Most people do.
JOAT When you choose an action, you choose the consequences. - Unknown
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On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 01:59:37 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

I try to use the old KISS method.... "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"
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Nice.... the leaves make it "New England" in the fall.
Bob S.

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get her to sign a printout of your pattern and mail it to you with her deposit check. also let her know that any design changes after you start production will cost her something. this is what i have to do when designing and producing stained glass projects. otherwise the customer keeps coming up with changes in pattern or color, and you're trying to hit a moving target.
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wrote:

Good solution and good job... You could have been more professional in your proposal, but IMHO, informal is better if you want "artisan" prices, professional is great for bulk or volume items.. Like most things in life, it's the selling as much as the quality that makes people feel good about the decision to use you, and referrals follow..
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wrote:

I agree that it could have been more professional, but I tried to do it as if she were in the room as a sketch to further discussion, with the intent to follow up with a more formal drawing. It doesn't appear that will be necessary, though I think I will go through the process just for my own sake.
Interesting comment about the process being different for "arty" work. I'd just gone looking at some websites with jewelry boxes and stumbled across this one site where I read, "Peruse my web-site, and see what truly fine woodworking can be. (Woodworkers will likely learn a thing or two.)" And on and on like that. If that's what being an "artisan" leads to I think I'll aim for glorified carpenter instead. Though actually the guy's prices were reasonable, go figure.

I think it's a skill that needs to be developed along with your technical skills. I guess it comes naturally to some people. My parents are building a new house and in talking with the builder within 2 minutes you know you want to work with the guy. I tried to just pay attention to him and learn a few things.
-Leuf
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wrote:
Leuf.. I think we're coming from the same direction, I just didn't explain what I meant by artisan prices.. I was thinking more of how you want the client to perceive your work than how you/we do... folks just pay more for something made by an artist... and to someone like me or to a client, the skill level and talent to make a good jewelry box (which I hope to develop) is an art... When you do or know something well, you tend to take it for granted... like "doesn't everyone do this?"... but to folks that have never ripped a board on a power saw, what you do is damn near magic... and it helps your checkbook to let them believe that.. *g*

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I was always interested in what potential customers already had.
Most of them already have some design boundaries set up, even if they don't know it.
Then I wanted to know where it would go. That can tell you a lot.
Then I wanted to know what it would be used for.
Then I wanted to know how much it should cost.
It was at this point that the conversation usually ended.
Regards, Tom.
"People funny. Life a funny thing." Sonny Liston
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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