Here are 5 ways to make it easier for clients to say yes to working with you. These things will also help you get more respect, enhance your value and charge more for it, and stand out from other designers.
- Better Proposals (affiliate link—I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on this link.)
- Episode 8: Improve Your Processes and Your Client’s Experience
- Free guide: 17 Questions You Must Ask During a Design Consultation
In this episode of Design Domination, I am getting into 5 ways you can make it easier for clients to say yes to working with you. These things will also help you get more respect, enhance the perceived value of your work, and stand out from other designers, so that you can more easily get more work.
1. Understand the Client’s Needs
First off, demonstrate that you understand the client’s needs.
You can do that by posting content on your blog and on social media. This shows you know your stuff—either the type of work that you do and/or that you know their industry well, that you truly understand their needs.
You can also show relevant work in your proposal, on your website and on social media, so that they see right away that you’ve already done the type of work they need done. That shows them you’re capable of doing it and familiar with it, and so you know what’s involved.
Both of these things will build trust with them right off the bat.
The more effort you put into making your marketing more targeted—before you even talk to a prospect—the easier it will be to show that you’re the right designer for them.
2. Have Plain-English Terms of Work
The second thing you can do that makes it easier for new clients to say yes to working with you is to have terms of work in plain English.
You don’t want to make the client have to think. You want things to be as clear as possible and leave little to question. It really should just be reiterating and putting into writing what you’ve already talked about. None of it should be a surprise.
Create a clear scope of work that details what you will be doing, any outcomes they are expecting and the timeframe you’re going to do the work in.
Write contract terms in plain English as opposed to legalese.
Think about it: if they have to get a lawyer involved to read the contract, how much will that cost them? They probably didn’t anticipate having to pay legal fees to sign your contract.
How long will it take for their lawyer to review your contract? And then what about them coming back to you with any modifications they might want? How long will that add to the timeline?
All this extra cost and time gives them opportunities to change their mind about working with you. You want to avoid that at all costs.
You want to strike while the iron is hot. You want the client to be excited about working with you and ready to go. You don’t want them to doubt working with you before you even get started.
But if they can understand the terms themselves, they can sign your contract sooner. That also leaves a better impression, because you’re not getting into a battle about contractual terms before you even work together. That can leave a bitter taste in their mouth and yours.
You’ll want to address how many design drafts or revisions are included. And what happens if they make any revisions out of scope? Will they be charged by the hour? What hourly rate will that be?
What happens if they cancel the project? Do they get a partial refund? Do they need to pay for any expenses you’ve incurred up to that point?
What about file ownership? Do they own the source files? What are they getting for deliverables?
How much money do they need to pay up front, and when is the rest of it due? What happens if they pay late?
If it’s a website, who is responsible for paying for premium plugins, hosting, etc.?
I also include a limitation of liability not to exceed 50% of the project fee.
You might also want to address showing the work.
The more details you can include, the better prepared you will be in case something does go south during the project.
3. Set Expectations
Setting expectations is also important. You’ll want to do this at every stage of the process. Just let them know what’s next, so they aren’t left guessing or wasting time. Time is always of the essence.
When you’re talking to them about potentially doing the work, let them know what they need to do next if they want to work with you. Do they need to sign a contract and pay 50% up front? Great. Let them know that and how easy it is to do so.
You also want to let them know what happens after that. Will you get started now or later? Do they need to send you any content? If so, how do you want them to do that?
Having these processes in place and setting these expectations just reinforces that you do this all the time, that you are a professional, and that means you get more respect too.
4. Get Electronic Signatures
This might not sound like a big deal, but giving clients the ability to sign contracts or estimates digitally can make a huge difference in getting new work from new clients. As always, I speak from experience.
Years ago, when I went from sending contracts in PDF format to new clients to using Better Proposals, I noticed that my acceptance rate in getting new work started going up. But I also got signatures much faster than in the past too.
Prior to that, I had been asking clients to do a lot of work—print out the PDF, sign it, take a pic of it and email it or fax it back. Digital signatures were just becoming more prevalent at that time, but that’s crazy, right?
That’s a lot to ask them to do before we even start working together. You don’t want to give the impression that it’s difficult to work with you. The contract signing is just the beginning, so you want to make it easy!
I moan and groan when companies send me something that I cannot digitally sign and have to print it out and then email it back. It’s so tedious and because I dread it, I don’t do it right away.
To get digital signatures, you can use any kind of electronic proposal software. There are a lot out there with different bells and whistles and pricing. Just be sure to use one of them.
I went into more detail about quite a few of them in episode 8, Improve Your Processes and Your Client’s Experience.
5. Take Online Payments
Being able to take a payment online, especially for new clients, is a big deal. If the project has an urgent timeline, they need a way to pay quickly.
Now, I actually prefer paper checks or bank transfers because there are no fees involved. But I require 50% up front, especially when working with new clients. So I provide several options and let them decide:
- bank transfer or
- credit card.
Again, the faster you get paid, the faster you can get started. But, also, giving them the ability to pay online, especially with a credit card, can instill trust in a client you’ve never worked with before. They may feel safer paying that way because they potentially have some protection, as opposed to paying with a check or bank transfer, where once the money is gone from their account, it’s gone.
Those are my top 5 ways to make it easier for clients to say yes to working with you.
Are you already doing any of these things? If so, how have they been working out for you?
If you’re not already doing any of these things, are you going to start incorporating any of them into your process?
For more ways to make it easier for clients to say yes to working with you, download my free guide, 17 Questions You Must Ask During a Design Consultation, to help you get more respect, enhance the perceived value of your work, charge more and stand out from other designers.