Do you build websites for clients using WordPress as a content management system? Have you ever worked on a project you didn’t care about, bored you to death or you just knew was doomed for failure? Have you ever been to coffee, or even worse, lunch to listen to someone’s new idea for some great big website that’s going to take over the world only to learn they have no budget – but they’ll cut you in the future profits?
Would you like to double your fees? In this article, I’m going to show you 3 very practical things you can start doing right now to build the business you want, work on the projects you want, with the clients you want and finally get paid what you’re worth – Because life is too short to do otherwise;
Say “NO” to initial meetings
Stop wasting your time by running along optimistically to a meeting with every potential lead that pops up.
Only agree to meet with a potential client once you have qualified that they;
- are someone you want to work with
- have a project you want to give one of your coveted 12 slots to and
- have a budget allocated which is consistent with what you know you are worth
By being unavailable to meet with a client until they have been qualified shows that you are serious about your work and your business. It also gives the perception that you are very busy. This is very attractive to potential clients.
Ask better “Quality” Questions
Simply send them a website worksheet or pre-sales questionnaire and ask them better quality questions than any other web designer. Don’t ask them what features they want on their website. They are not experts and they will not have educated answers for you. They will tell you they want a blog without any idea as to why, only that they have seen other websites with great blogs and they think they should have one. It is your job to tell them what features they need based on their answers to a series of questions.
Three of the best questions you can ask are:
- Why do you need a website? Remember not to jump to conclusions and start talking about image galleries, social media integration, etc. The key is to understand what the business and their target audience need from the website.
- What does a successful website strategy look like 12 months from now? Has the client thought about measurable KPI’s? Do they have monetary targets? Are they using the website to collect email addresses? These questions will elevate you above your competition because it shows that you care about their return of investment.
- What is your budget? Ask the client what their budget is for this project? This illustrates that you are a business consultant and not a freelancer who is just happy for the work.
Meet up and do business
The next thing you can do is very powerful. Once you have qualified them and have determined that they are not a tyre-kicker, they have a project which will not bore you out of your mind and they have sweet cash to spend, then it’s time to get together, assess if you’re a good fit for each other and decide to do business.
During this meeting, one very cool way to come out smelling like roses is to understand one of the most common fears of clients embarking on a new website. That fear is that they are going to end up with a new website that they will have no idea how to manage and you’re going to disappear into the mountains with a backpack. A great way to help them overcome this fear and position yourself as the smartest monkey on the block is to use the White Label CMS plugin to simplify the login screen and dashboard and show them how easy their new website will be to use.
So to recap, you start by “saying no” to initial meetings until you have qualified the lead with a website worksheet. In the website worksheet ask better quality questions like “Why?”, “What does success look like” and most importantly “What is your budget?”. Once qualified, turn up to the initial meeting and knock their socks off by demonstrating a rebranded login and dashboard.
After verifying if there is interest in the customer and point the benefit he can expect with your solution, emphasize the strengths that the solution has differentiating it from the competition, as Holly Chervnsik says with a portfolio of work done, or the portfolio of products and services you offer.
– You have to have confidence in what you do.
– Convey an image of trust through a commitment to the client and to the project. Argue that the success of the project is important to both.
– Provide uptime guarantee and support included in the service contract.
– Present very clearly the price and payment methods. I agree with Amanda Mayne, in which the project should start with the initial payment of 50%. I add that 40% should be paid in near the final and the last 10% when the project is completed.
– Finally, provide the training. It is known that training is critical to the success of a project. May be initially provided in person to the client on a desktop or multiple users in a group session. It is always necessary, or provide documentation of user manual, or be giving constant phone or local support whenever a user does not know how to do any operation, because they have forgotten or otherwise. So this last suggestion is the to use the Video User Manuals plugin by Troy Dean. Video User Manuals service can improve the perception the customer has of your image, but it sure is the best way to ensure continued support for the training of users.
Don’t be a dog that’s all bark and no bite. SHOW the client what you are worth by providing high quality examples of your work that showcase that you were able to achieve all the clients “wish list” of goals for the site. This is why authorship of a site is so important….no better way to prove your worth than to be able to prove that your web development is the best thing since sliced bread.
To increase your fees and get paid what you’re worth – the first step is ensuring that you get paid for your work.
Prior to meeting up with the client, research their business and run a company or personal credit check. Credit checks vary by country and government-run websites will provide information free of charge. Credit indicators of interest include how long the company or client has been trading, if they have a good or poor payment history, if they have bad debt, and flag if the client is insolvent or has been liquidated.
For smaller projects insist on the full fee prior to starting work – for larger projects take 50% up front (assuming the client’s credit is good) and agree payment milestones. Without an agreed payment structure the client will not want to pay until the site is complete – at which point they have no incentive to make sure you get paid what you’re worth … or may even offer you less than the pre-agreed contract value.
Having clear payment instructions (including payment methods accepted) on your ‘Invoice’ and your ‘Business Terms & Conditions’ will set the legal framework for any challenge in the case of dispute.
Take these steps and less time will be spent chasing payment or expended on litigation which will increase your overall $ per hour fee.