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What to expect in a meeting with a service provider and how to prepare for one
What to expect in a meeting with a service provider and how to prepare for one

What can you expect during a meeting with a service provider on the Sortlist platform and is there anything you should prepare?

Anne-Gaëlle Sy avatar
Written by Anne-Gaëlle Sy
Updated over a week ago

You have sent your project brief and our advisors have sent it to relevant service providers who fit your preferred requirements.

You may have already started receiving some applications and have some meetings booked. So what’s next, and what can you expect?

What does a meeting with a service provider look like? 🤔

The Sortlist Process

When you receive an application from a service provider who is interested in a potential collaboration, they may or may not have already booked a meeting slot with you depending on whether you communicated your availabilities in the initial brief.

Whether or not they have booked a call with you, you can always either:

  • Accept the application as well as the meeting slot they have booked

  • Accept the application but reschedule the meeting slot

  • Decline the application (which in turn also rejects the meeting)

If you are convinced by the application of a service provider and have accepted a meeting set up, the meeting will appear in your calendar. If you are not convinced by the application, it’s okay to decline a meeting with a service provider, but please make sure to hit the thumbs-down button to let the service provider know of your decision.

On the day of the call, you will receive an e-mail from Sortlist reminding you of your meeting.

If you realise that you cannot make the call, please reschedule as soon as possible. We know things can come up, so don’t worry about having to reschedule, we just kindly ask you to do so rather than leave the meeting as it is and contact the service provider after the initial meeting time.

Meetings can take between 10 - 30 minutes depending on the type of call you have. Let’s take a look at the types of calls you can expect:

Discovery Call

One type of call you may encounter is the 'Discovery Call'. As the name suggests, this call is all about introductions and clarity. The service provider's aim is to get to know you better, understand your project requirements, and gauge your time and budget constraints.

Before the actual call, the service provider will have thoroughly read through all the details you have previously provided in the project brief, ensuring alignment from the outset. But they won't stop there - they'll do additional research, digging into more information about your business to get a better understanding of your background and who you are.

During the call, you may find that there's more than one person from the provider side: specialists or even the owner of the service provider - because they take every client seriously, regardless of the size of the project or the size of the agency.

The purpose of the discovery call is to give the client initial assurance that the service provider can effectively deliver the project. If you feel that the supplier is unable to give you this initial assurance, keep this in mind for your post-call evaluation.

Pitch Call

A pitch call can either be a follow-up to a discovery call, or it can be the first call you have with the service provider. This is where the provider presents you with their full proposal, including details of their capabilities, relevant experience, and past projects. This presentation will include details of the project scope, objectives, timelines, and budget estimates, as well as the supplier's approach and potential strategies.

As with the discovery call, you will be able to take an active part in the discussion, asking questions and seeking clarification to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the proposal. Although the service provider is here to present you with their proposal, the call is a collaborative space for you to challenge any elements you are unsure of, want further clarification or explanation, and present any new ideas or objectives you may have!

The service provider will also introduce key team members, share case studies or references, and demonstrate their commitment to understanding your unique challenges.

At the end of a pitch call, you can expect to receive a clear outline of the next steps in the process, together with any follow-up actions and documentation that may be required to facilitate an informed decision.

How you can best prepare for a meeting with a service provider 📝

As you prepare for your upcoming meeting with a service provider, here are some things you can do beforehand to get the most out of this important interaction:

Brushing up on your project brief

1. Review your objectives

Before you go into the meeting, it's important to have a clear understanding of your objectives and what you want to achieve from this collaboration. Are you looking to boost your online presence, redesign your website, or improve your marketing efforts?

Having well-defined objectives will guide your discussion and help you assess whether the service provider is aligned with your vision.

2. Update your project brief - have a clear list of specific needs

Rather than bringing a comprehensive list of project requirements to read to the provider, simply ensure that your project brief is complete on your Sortlist profile.

Providers will have access to the brief before entering the meeting. This will act as a valuable reference during the meeting to ensure you cover all the key aspects of your project. Try to be as complete as possible as specificity is key to receiving accurate proposals and solutions.

3. Review your budget

Review your budget and make sure it is in line with the scope and objectives of your project.

4. Research the provider

While Sortlist will provide you with the basics about each service provider through their application, taking the extra step of doing some background research can definitely pay off. It demonstrates your commitment to the potential collaboration and allows you to come prepared with questions and insights tailored to the provider's expertise.

5. Have relevant materials ready

Bring any relevant materials or data points that might help inform your discussion. This could include market research, competitive analysis, or specific project data. Having these resources at hand can enrich your discussion and provide context for the service provider.

Questions to ask during the meeting

In order to get the most out of your meeting, here are a few questions that you may want to consider asking the service provider:

  • Can you provide examples of similar projects you've worked on?

  • What is your approach to project management and communication?

  • How do you deal with unexpected challenges or changes in project scope?

  • What is the expected timeline for project completion?

  • Can you provide references or case studies from previous clients?

You can also refer to our article “Why it’s important to compare multiple service providers” for some more question ideas.

Things to look out for 🟢 🔴

During the meeting, look out for both green and red flags:

Green flags:

  • Demonstrated familiarity with your project brief.

  • Clear alignment between the service provider's capabilities and your project needs.

  • Openness to collaboration and willingness to understand your unique requirements.

Red Flags:

  • Lack of familiarity with your project details or objectives.

  • Information provided by the service provider that doesn't match their application or portfolio.

  • An unrealistic promise of guaranteed results without a solid plan.

What additional benefits can you gain from meetings with service providers on Sortlist? 🍀

Sortlist's unique approach includes a human touch throughout all of our product. Together with AI, our team of advisors use their industry knowledge and years of rapport with our service providers to find you the best match for your project.

But even before getting to the matchmaking process, when looking for a service provider via our platform, we guarantee you a list of providers who have undergone quality assurance before making it onto our directories. And our Business Consultants maintain ongoing communication and evaluation with them throughout their time using our product to ensure a consistent supply of quality options for project posters like you.

Back to the selection process, when our service providers are presented with a potential project, they have to pay to apply for the opportunity. This means that you'll only receive proposals from professionals who are genuinely interested and able to meet your project requirements. This process increases the likelihood of finding the right partner for your project and ensures that providers are committed to your project.

With your active involvement by attending the meetings with the providers, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable insight and advice for your project, all for free. You can even do this within 48 hours of posting your project, something that could have taken weeks or months and potentially cost you money if you had done the search on your own.

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