In a nutshell the Mandeville technique is modeled after how other professionals treat their clients. First they ask about your issue(s); and, when they have enough information, they prescribe a course of action. These other professionals NEVER present credentials. By comparison most architects act like used car salesmen, going on and on about awards, recognition, and name-dropping client names and projects. The typical architect makes a first meeting with a potential client all about themselves and their firm. The typical client that is about to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars would rather talk about their issues.
Whoever does the most talking feels the best about the meeting. Let the client do all the talking. Just guide him/her with the Mandeville questions to get the ball rolling. Oh, and you work from notes and MUST take notes. So you have your (limited speaking part) script in your hands the whole time.
Are you starting to believe me when I say ANYONE can do this?
Some other parts of the process are:
- Take notes. This is mandatory. All professionals take notes.
- Mystery words. The client will use words that are ambiguous or inexact. Go back to these for clarification when he/she stops talking.
- Summarize. When the client says "That's about it"; restate what you've heard and ask if you understand correctly. If YES, ask "Can you think of anything else?"; if the client adds a point or two, summarize the new information and ask again if you understand. Keep repeating this until there is nothing more that they want to add. By the way, this process takes time. I have never been finished in an hour. The longest was three hours. If you can't keep this going for over an hour, there is something wrong - with them or the project. The one time I experienced extreme reluctance on the client's part to "Get into all that", I am pretty sure they were already committed to another firm and were just going through the motions because, as a county government, they were supposed to.
- Go to the next topic. There are about 20 questions. The first few are critical. Some might not apply. The last couple are about timeline and budget. (See the download below.)
- Rinse and repeat until you are finished with all the questions.
- If you have to come back for a second meeting, that is great because the more contact, especially face to face, the deeper the relationship becomes. It is much easier to get hired if you aren't a stranger.
- When done, commit to a follow-up in writing. See comment below.
- In your written follow-up ask to schedule a meeting to present a course of action.
- This course of action is your proposed scope of work and compensation. Present this verbally in person.
- If there is any concerns raised during the presentation, do not leave a written copy behind. Revise and re-present.
It may seem strange to regurgitate all this back to the client in a written follow-up summary. The reality is that they have never seen their needs written down before. The first time I sent a summary and called to follow up, the client said, "This is just fantastic. This is exactly what we need." I'm thinking to myself, "Why is he getting so excited about me writing down what he said to me?" It was as though he forgot where this information came from, and I was getting credit for being a genius. If you are the only one doing this, the chances are excellent that you have just become the obvious choice to design their project.
A great investment in your career would be to buy the set of Mandeville DVDs from PDR. The process and background is thoroughly explained, and several scenarios are played out so you can see exactly what it is like to go through the process. Sharing my knowledge of the Mandeville process is probably the best information I have ever shared. To repeat myself, you really need to know this stuff if you ever find yourself in a sales situation - either full time, occasionally or by accident;. The beauty of it is that it is really easy for anyone to do. Get the disks for yourself or for your firm.
By the way I am not an affiliate.
I got permission from Stu to share the Mandeville forms, which you can download here.
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