The Art of Talking to Clients to Get Hired Fast
You're a web designer. You need clients. That's obvious. Everything that you should do before you get clients is not so obvious since they don't really teach that in web-design school. Fear not, though: That's why you read us. We'll tell you what it takes to successfully communicate with your clients so that they hire you fast.
Sure, you're a master of code. Sure, you're a master of both front- and back-end design and development. Yet clients are your main problem - specifically persuading them that you're the web designer for the job. You can be the best designer around, but if you can't smoothly talk to your prospects and make yourself stand out from your competition, then your clients will be few and far between.
Don't worry, though. Talking to clients to get hired fast is an art form that can be learned. Here's what it takes.
Probe Clients' Tech Knowhow
It just stands to reason that you should fish for some information about how tech savvy your prospective clients are. This is the first thing you should do when you open up talks with your would-be clients. Knowing this will arm you with a plan of action for how in-depth (or not) you have to explain web design to them.
To achieve this, ask them some casual fishing questions. The point of this is to understand their level of experience with regard to PCs and the Internet, their grasp of fundamental terms (operating system, etc.) and how they use IT.
Here are examples of brilliant fishing questions:
- What is your favorite browser?
- Do you know the operating system on your PC?
- What are websites you frequently visit?
- What do you know (if anything) about search engine optimization?
Don't Be Condescending
No one wants to be condescended to, least of all your prospective clients. There's a fine line between educating them and making them feel stupid about the finer points of web design. There's really nothing worse than failing to understand a person's level of knowledge. You'll surely land on a prospective client's bad side if you fail to do this.
So how can you find out a person's grasp of a certain topic when you're talking to them about your web-design services? Simply use the abovementioned fishing questions since they're the ideal way to plumb a prospective client's mind. Determine by his reaction whether or not your explanation was sufficient.
The Benefit of Real-life Examples
When talking to your prospective clients, it always pays to communicate with them by using real-life examples. That way, you can easily avoid any misunderstandings.
It's always necessary to have a PC with an Internet connection by your side when chatting about the particulars of a would-be project. For instance, let's say the two of you want to nail down the details of how your client's final site design is going to look and feel. This can take the shape and form of everything from minimalism in appearance to a user experience that's very practical and enjoyable. You'll get further with your client when you're able to actually demonstrate real-life examples of sites that are similar to what they want.
Focus on Conversion Rates Instead of Fancy Web-Designer Talk
Too many designers fail to get out of the mindset of trying to impress prospective clients with fancy web design-guy talk. When talking to your clients, remember they care more about how you can design a site for them that will aggressively boost their conversion rates instead of all your technical knowhow. So this means that you shouldn't use words like "HTML," "CSS" or even the dreaded "W3c Standard" when trying to persuade prospective clients to hire you!
They likely won't know what any of those terms means, and they necessarily don't need to. Most of the time, you'll be designing for businesses or entrepreneurs who need a lead-generating website of some kind. As a result, all they'll really care about is how you can help their business flourish with the design you'll create for them. So focus on explaining to them how you can create a page for them that will increase subscriptions, their client base or the number of sales.
Entertain Any and All Questions
Since being a web designer means you'll be working freelance much of the time, that means you're running your own business with you as the main product. You are selling your services, of course. The best way to make your prospective clients feel comfortable with you is by encouraging that they ask you all sorts of questions. Chances are that they'll be full of questions anyway, but not all will voluntarily ask them because they may feel unsure or otherwise shy.
In such a situation, encouraging them to ask questions makes them feel like they can trust you while, at the same time, letting you understand where they're coming from all the better. In the end, this lets you build good rapport with them, which may even translate into them becoming repeat and long-standing clients. If you are working freelance, having reliable clients who will pay you for regular jobs is a dream come true since that provides you with a degree of peace of mind and, more importantly, a steady stream of income.
There's No Substitute for Great Communication
Mastering the art form of communicating efficiently, intuitively and clearly with your clients will turn you into an unstoppable web designer. Sure, you'll have to be consummate at coding, development and design, but that'll only get you so far in the industry. If you can talk to your clients in a way that convinces them that you can give their business or operation real benefits, that you understand them and that you take all of their questions, then you'll do really well.
Success in web design comes from being well-balanced. Be a great designer, but also be a great communicator. If you currently struggle at dealing with clients, work on refining and mastering how you talk to them. Listen to them, understand what they want and then address all of their concerns.
Got any tips on how to talk to web-design clients, or do you have some memorable stories of problem clients? Whatever the case, don't be shy about letting us know in the comments section.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Schenker is a freelance writer, blogger and editor who's written on web design, conversion, photography and entertainment. You can find out more about him on marcschenkercopywriter.com.