4 Elements for Managing Client Expectations Successfully

Good morning all – Jean and I had a great discussion during our video blog yesterday and we hope you enjoy it.  However, if you don’t have time to watch it or take notes, we’d like to share some of the key points made.  The next time you take on a new client, consider these questions or issues to raise, dialogue about and seek answers to in order to successfully manage your clients expectations.

1st Element: Understanding Who Your Client Really Is

A. Find out the type of personality they have & how they best communicate (email, text, telephone or in person).
B. Through discussions, try to extract the purpose of the website and their business goals even if they aren’t clear on them.
C. Stress the importance of branding & being clear about their business identity & its goals so that the website and/or branding efforts are successful.

2nd Element: Brand Identity & Strategic Marketing Initiatives

A. What’s the vision of the company?
B. Who do they believe their customers & consumers are?
C. What do they think their consumers & audience want to see & expect from them?
D. Take the initiative through dialogue/research to get a firm understanding of their product or service and how they want to market it.
E. What are the goals they want their website and branding to achieve?

3rd Element: Setting Client Expectations for the Project

A. What is the projected costs & overall budget (with wiggle room)?
B. What are the time frames for benchmarks and completion?
C. Are you requesting and receiving all relevant content for each page of your website upfront? Consider how this affects time & workflow of project.
D. Are their images web-worthy (i.e. are clear, look professional), of high-resolution and large enough to scale down for editing if needed?
E. Have you established a good client relationship that can endure project delays and/or disappointments?
F. Can that rapport endure if there are issues with responsiveness from the client that affect workflow, benchmarks & completion dates?

4th Element: Clients Expectation for ROI

A. Make sure you set realistic expectations of the actual ROI and timeframe in which they might see the fruits of their investment.
B. What do you do with a client that has unrealistic expectations of ROI?
C. Explain why advertising their website is crucial once it is launched and the need for continued marketing efforts.
– They need figure out how they are going to notify current customers about their new website.
– Make announcements via Social Media platforms.
– Invest in marketing materials that reflect an online, worldwide presence.
D. Encourage them to think outside the box to market their website.
– If you’re a Mom & Pop, consider Small Business Association meetings, posting marketing materials in coffee houses & restaurant/business lobbies.
E. All businesses need to focus on and execute strategic customer outreach campaigns to see profitable ROI.

The Wrap Up 
Bullseye  It’s important to set the expectations from both parties from the beginning.
Bullseye  Set your workflow & do your best to stick to it.
Bullseye Hold your clients accountable for their website’s success.  Help them understand that the success of their website requires THEIR initiative, drive
& passion for THEIR business.
Bullseye Remember, good content does wonders for customer engagement and willingness to purchase the product or service.
Bullseye Understand it’s about client relationship & the longevity of that relationship.

Design Theory References on This Topic
They Trust Me, They Trust Me Not? A Client Relationship & Retention Discussion
Navigating Troubled Client Waters in Web Design

Great way to cold call businesses that won’t be mad

Satisfied callRecently I visited a corner cafe in my neighborhood and couldn’t help but notice all the business cards and flyers on their main counter. Now I came into the cafe with intentions of buying lunch, but totally distracted by all of these eager businesses looking for my attention. Really they want my business, though when I say business I mean my services.

I can’t tell you how many people may pick up these cards and brochures in this cafe or any other storefront, but small businesses have been doing this type of marketing for years. Now let me tell you my strategy. I looked through every single stack of cards to see which ones did NOT have email addresses to their web domain and which ones didn’t even have a website listed. Why? Because they’re my target clients. They want more exposure, don’t have too much money for a bigger firm when it comes to design, and they’d be happy to hear their phone ring – even if its someone local looking to meet them.

How to approach the call: This part is a bit easy. Even for those of you who may not like cold calling. When you call their listed number from the card or brochure, address them by their name. “Hello, John” then tell them honestly how you found their information. Complement their card design and briefly explain what your design skills are and how you’d like to meet them for coffee. Chances are they will accept your offer for a brief meetup because you also will seem like a potential client for them. Though that’s possible, just be sure to maintain control when you actually do meet up. Be sure to schedule something either for that same day or the next. Never delay it for days or weeks because they’ll lose interest. You might too.

Sell them when you meet them: Arrive a few minutes before they do and have your laptop out and connected to the internet. This is so that you can quickly show them your work. Or have a rotating slide show of your work casually displaying to the side of the table and your own brochure or flyer on the table. When they show up just act natural and woo them with charm. Ask them first about what they do, how long they’ve been doing it.

The Goal: All you need to be sure to do is leave a good impression with these meetups from the cold calls. They’ll have your flyer or business card and if they don’t sign with you for business that day follow-up with them in a week via email. If nothing after that just shelf their information. If you have an ongoing mailing list, add them to it so that they see your work and updates.

Let me know what you think on this cold call approach in the comments below. I’d like to know how many of you try it and your results. Hopefully they’ll be like mine, success!