New freelance web designers and small firms are often very good at building websites but terrible at finding clients.
Us tech-design types are naturals when it comes to software, building and working on our own, however when it comes to positioning ourselves to make money do the work we love, we often fall flat.
Here’s a three-step model to help you see the main steps you need to take in order to get web design clients. There’s likely one of the three spots that you can focus on now to increase your number of client significantly.
Here’s the three-step model for finding web design clients:
(1) Outreach –> (2) –> Trust –> (3) Sell –> [then design and build of course]
Simply put, you need to be “out there” in order for clients to hear about you. If clients don’t know about you they can’t begin the exploration process to learn about what you do and find out if you’re a good fit for them.
Here’s a small handful of common things web designers do to “get out there.”
- Go to network events where clients are
- Talk to friends, family and past business contacts
- Meet other people who can refer business to you
- Setup online profiles in social networks and job boards
- Partner with other professionals that complement you
(ex. a designer partnering with a coder)
In some way, shape or form, a client that needs your help needs to discover that you exist. There is some initial point of mention, contact, or noticing that gets clients to know you exist. You need to reach out and make these happen often enough to keep you in business.
Clients will need to trust that you before they will pay you for your time. Clients need to like you as person, need know you have their best interest in mind, and they need to feel comfortable that you can help them get things done.
Some trust-building activities include:
- Having a well-written, professional site that highlights your value
- Get well-known in the hangouts of your ideal clients
- Have helpful, educational articles available
- Be in touch and follow-up with possible new clients
Part of the trust-building phase will occur before you’re in communication with them and the rest will occur during your direct communications – like email and phone calls.
Once clients trust that you can help them, you’ll need to sell them. You’ll need to structure an arrangement (a proposal, contract – a service offering) that will help client get what they need and works within their budgets.
Here are some good selling skills to have:
- Be a good listener and show clients you’ve listened to them
- Help clients clarify their website and business needs
- Get clients pumped up about reaching their goals
- Structure your services (proposal) in a compelling way
- Highlight the value you bring
Essentially, you want to put the client in a position to easily and simply say, “Yes. Let’s get started.”
Which of these questions gets you thinking?
Do people know you exist?
If not, you’re probably lacking step 1.
Are people showing interest in your help? Are they coming to you to see if you can help them?
If not and you find yourself chasing a bunch of dead leads and find that prospects are disappearing off the planet, then you’re probably struggling in step 2.
Are you getting a lot of last-second NOs?
If you’ve got people to notice you and reach out to you for help, but most of them are not getting started with you, you’re probably not offering your services in an effective way. You’ll need to improve your sales skills.
Which of these three areas are you struggling with the most? All?
What are some possible options to improve those steps?
I’d love to hear your ideas. Maybe we can hash out at easy way to get you more clients. Comment below.