I remember on my earliest client calls a couple of years ago, I really struggled to close clients. I remember I had a portfolio with a small number of projects, my Webflow skills were good enough to build a project (I thought) and I had watched every sales call interview YouTube video I could find.
So what went wrong on those early client calls?
- I didn’t spend any time building rapport at the start of the call because I was nervous
- I tried to sell my skills too hard talking about how I was fast at building, how thoroughly I worked and how responsive I was
- I clearly followed a script so it looked like I didn’t know what I was doing (which I didn’t)
- After asking a few questions about the specifics of the project eg. how many pages, I went straight in to talk about money without providing any value to the client.
After failing to get clients for months, I eventually joined Crafted Studios, an award winning agency based in LA, lead by Dexter Washington. This was invaluable for me because I sat in on sales calls and watched him close big clients effortlessly.
How was Dexter able to do this?
Of course, he built rapport, he didn’t follow a script, and he didn’t need to sell Crafted Studios skillsets since people were well aware of what the studio could do. But the killer question he asked early in the call was ‘What are the problems you are looking to solve?’
What are the problems you are looking to solve?
Why is this so effective?
It’s incredibly simple but clients don’t hire you over other Webflowers because you check your classes thoroughly, or you build fast, or you use client first.
Clients are hiring you to solve business problems for them.
So by knowing what problems the client have are, Dexter worked out the problem the client was trying to solve before talking about any project specifics.
What problems do clients generally have that they are looking to solve?
- They want to be able to edit the site quickly without having to pay anyone else to make the changes for them
- They want multiple people to be able to edit the site without having to know how to code
- They want a powerful CMS that allows them to upload blogs, and have filters for content on the website
- They want to have a more professional looking website that reflects their professional business
- They want a website that is responsive because it currently doesn’t look good on mobile
- They want a website that is their most powerful sales and marketing tool and currently, it’s doing neither sales nor marketing effectively.
Ideally, whatever the client says, you can then draw on any project experience you have and explain how you solved that same problem for another client. Whether you do or not though, it allows you to dig deeper in to the specific project problems you are trying to solve.
Webflow generally solves a huge amount of client problems but if a client had no website and wanted to build a large e-commerce store, I would advise against doing that just because I believe it’s not the best solution to their problem. You might think you are losing the client if you dissuade them against using Webflow but I find if you have your client’s best interests at heart, they are likely to trust you as a reliable and fair webdesigner and will recommend you for work or hire you down the line.
It’s vital to dig in to the clients problems to work out how you can best help them (if at all) rather than talking about anything related to aesthetics too. Sometimes, clients say that they want something with animations that’s “clean and modern” which is all well and good but if you focus the conversation on their business problems, you ensure that the client knows you don’t just make things pretty. You have their business interests at heart.
Only once you really understand the client’s business can you truly know if you can help them or whether you could recommend someone else for the job.
The next killer question that Dexter asked after understanding the problems related to the business.
Why do you want to solve these problems now?
This is a great question because it paints a picture of how important the website is in context of all the other things that are happening in the business.
Let’s say the client is switching from Drupal to Webflow because they want to create a killer blog content that has an easy to use and easily editable CMS. Then, they want to hire copywriters and have regular blog content and build an email list to distribute it.
Now, we know the importance of the website in the context of their business plans - we know their desired future state so now, it’s a question of helping them to understand that we are the perfect Webflower that can help them reach that desired future state.
You can also ask ‘How would it feel if I can solve these problems for you?’ to dig in to the relief that this website migration from Drupal to Webflow would bring.
Finally, a killer question Dexter asked clients was this:
What does success look like? If you decided you wanted to work with me, what would a home run look like?
This is incredibly powerful because you know how the client is measuring success with the project. Again, by focussing on helping the client solve the business problems, you are ensuring you show the client you are an ally to them achieving the business success they want to achieve. Also, by raising the importance of the website in the process since it could potentially solving a huge financial problem for the company.
Let’s say a service based client would like to increase traffic to the website by 20% within 6 months of the website being rebuilt. That is a hugely valuable increase of traffic to the website. Let’s say the website traffic is currently 5000 visitors a month. A 20% increase would be 1000 extra visitors. Let’s say the average customer currently spends £250 on the website and 0.5% of traffic coming to the website buys a service.
Hopefully, your website redesign would increase that conversion rate but let’s say it just stays the same. 0.5% of 1000 extra visitors is 500. If those 500 extra visitors bought £250 of services, that £125,000.
For a general rule, if you can 10x the client’s investment with you then you have done a good job for them.
So I think it’s fair to charge approx £12,500 for a project like this example. If you said you could help the client increase traffic to their website by 20% and charged much less (say £5000), the client might doubt in your abilities. As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true so it probably is.
With this knowledge, you can put together a proposal that reflects value-based pricing.
Hope these questions help!
Ps. Want to know how I approach making a proposal? Have a look at this article here.