So, you learned about some new tools and terminology in my last post. Now, you are ready for the first touch with the client. That is the essential part of the process from client inquiry to delivery. Our company mostly gets clients through website/contact form. In this article, I will reveal you my approach and experience.
Great way to reject your “non-match clients” before they even start typing an inquiry e-mail is to have a piece of content like this one below. A useful lesson I learned from an experienced web designer, Emanuel Blagonic. Of course, we implemented it on our design/development service page.
Now, your potential client decided whether he wants to work with you and you receive his first e-mail.
Hi Kontra, my company XY Ltd. works in the tourism industry for about ten years. I want to build a new website as soon as possible. My existing website is in the link below. I need your quote and deadlines. I want a modern website with a clean design.
Company X Ltd.
First, touch. Before the meeting.
Great, but now what? We don’t like e-mails like the previous one; it’s not a good sign. But be aware, most of your potential clients don’t know too much about website development and design process. Of course, you need more information on the best proposal and estimations. So, I would usually write an e-mail like this one:
thanks for contacting us.
In the attachment, you can find our questions. After that, I can get back to you with an approximate quote.
Also, here http://www.example.com/ you can find our prices / and services.
Here you can download our set of questions for web design). Of course, you can always add some specific questions depending on your company’s workflow.
As you can see, I pointed out two thing to the potential client:
In this step, you can see how serious is your potential client. If the client doesn’t have time to fill this questionnaire, most likely (99% from my experience), he isn’t the right client for you. Web development project seeks an effort from the clients too, and this is the first, subtle sign that you could have problems with them during the project. What about the delivery of other materials? (such as content; texts, visuals, etc.). What if he doesn’t have time to answer, and approve an additional step? You wait for him for about three weeks, and your people (reserved for this project) are without a job. Maybe, he won’t tell you the budget. Unfortunately, this is not your client. How can you build a house or buy a home if you don’t have the necessary budget?
Without this questionnaire filled up, there is no step (meeting) forward.
Maybe the potential client isn’t aware of how much a project like the one he’s asking about might cost, or what does it take from his side. It will be a good “filter” to let you know whether this client isn’t for you or doesn’t have a proper budget. That is ok, no hard feelings. If you don’t have the money, you never go to a Mercedes store. Right? 🙂
If a potential client sends that questionnaire with all answers and he has a proper budget, it is time for the first meeting.
When the first meeting is due, it’s time you meet your clients in person. Keep these few tips in mind while you’re at it.
#1 Questions, again.
First, you should ask the client all unanswered/unclear questions. Ask them to talk about their business, processes, etc. What kind of content is on those pages? What are their roles and possibilities, who is responsible for content delivery and creation? Generally, who is the person in charge?
More questions will create more answers, and the project will flow more smoothly during the realization phase.
Try to define deadlines with your clients. First their wishes, and then your possibilities according to the availability of resources. There is always some “We need this immediately” situation.
Never promise anything before you check everything with your team.
#3 Talk with the client about important, elementary things
Work processes, additional hours, and project scope are some critical parts to talk about before you send them in writing to your client. What if your client wants something which isn’t included in the project scope and your offers? Maybe there’s a delay in answers, and this causes an overlap with your next project? What are your rights, and your client’s rights?
Try to emphasize all the procedures and work processes up front. Explain why are those important to you and your agency.
#4 Your Gut
Is this a client for you or not…? Believe in your gut feeling; sometimes it is better to say “Thanks, but no thanks” than venture into a cooperation that will result in stress, and potentially failure for both sides.
The first touch with a client is essential. If you define all the things right, the project will flow smoothly and without problems. As you can see, I mentioned only one meeting, but it depends on project’s complexity. Sometimes it could take up to three to five meetings before you define everything. But don’t start a project before you set everything.
In the next article, I will focus on the agreement and offer creation.