View Full Version : Ways to land job after job...
08-14-2003, 03:09 AM
A post by Wenwilder spurred me to ask some questions on ways we should go to work, rounding up new clients. Not allot of us are priviledged enough that clients just stream in. A free report on a prospective client's current site is a good way to start, but it depends a great deal on the market at the moment. Over here we've got a quite saturated, competitive market. It's hard to tell a guy that he has to spend $ X000 on a redesign when the next guy he gets a quote from estimates 25% of that for "apparently the same" job. That's one thing that really hacks me off - when another company undercuts you with a totally inferior design and backend architecture just to "land the job".
So my question is - where do you draw the line? Any ideas for kick ass ways to approach new clients? If this is slightly off-topic I apologize - this was just related to a topic in this forum...
08-14-2003, 03:17 AM
This should be in the "Promotion Strategies" forum ;)
It's tough out there. My best way to land a job is by word of mouth to be honest. Your clients get to know you very well and therefore talk to their friends/business contacts about you.
I could try to sell until I'm blue in the face, but nothing compares to "word of mouth". Give your clients several business cards, hehe...
08-14-2003, 04:10 AM
The biggest problem I run into is people mistakenly think that I design websites. I don't! I have yet to find a web designer I would recommend, not that I don't think there are some excellent web designers out there......I just find web designers to be.....to put it nicely, closed minded.
Sorry all, I love your work, but really if someone tears apart your site how happy are you going to be to talk to them or about them?
I do what no one else seems to want to take the time to do and that's find out what the consumer/customer/suspects/end users like and dislike. What draws them in and what chases them off.
When I first started convincing customers that they needed my services seemed impossible. I could show them research, statistics, user feedback and information that I thought were useful until I had nothing left and they still wouldn't get it.
Then...I watched Disney's The Kid. Strange I know, but it opened my eyes. The scene where Bruce Willis is talking to the mayor/governer what have you...and he's anything but polite got me. I was trying to intice customers into thinking my way. In a sense I was convincing myself that what I was doing was useful.
I don't do that any more. The one and only question I ask at the end of my free evaluations is: Do you really plan to make money with this site?
It's simple, to the point and while it may piss some people off I always get a response. It reminds them that while they know their business well I know mine just as well, if not better and if they have a second of doubt they should listen to me.
The best way to get customers...honesty, straight forwardness, knowing your job, and determination.
It still doesn't beat word of mouth, but it helps. Talk to people, hand out business cards <extra one's was mentioned and that is a fabulous idea> make flyers, talk to local business's in your related field. Email a select list of businesses once a month reminding them of who you are, what you do, and why you are contacting them.
Contact, research, talk over and over and over again. When you get one customer aim for two. When you get twenty customers aim for fourty. Never settle for what you get.
There is also publishing ezine articles, being known for your knowledge, providing a very basic and free "sample" (this only applies in some cases)Get your name known within your industry, become an expert, just never give up.
Just a thought. ;)
08-14-2003, 09:24 AM
From what I read, it's a confidence thing. I must say being in the business for quite a few years also gives one some authority. I will firmly correct a client if they try and convince me of technology / metholodolgies which they think we should use in our design, yet he doesn't know how to use search engines etc.
My question still stands though - do you actually go out and find new clients (by say cold calling)? And what do you tell them - they're websites aren't up to scratch or do you offer them a free basic analysis?
08-14-2003, 12:50 PM
I built my own website in 1995 and make a fair living from it.
I often get emails from web designers offering to re-design it for me.
As I am an amateur I guess my website is pretty awful in he eyes of these professionals but if any of them approach me and tell me that my site is awful, even if I agree with them, they would not get my business due to their bad manners! You must offer prospective customers a carrot - not a stick!
08-14-2003, 01:15 PM
I work very hard employment portal. Jobs, recruitment and careers.
Looking for a job, a career, recruitment, employment, a vacancy? Who's taking on staff ?
08-14-2003, 01:53 PM
I stronly believe that these days - its definately a case of who you know!
I've been designing sites (In one form or another) since '94, when all I had was a small book, an Amiga 500+ and a text editor. Things have come a long way since then, giving even the most challenged designer the abillity to turn out a half decent effort if he knows what he's doing.
But for every 1 good designer, there are 10 (Or maybe more) bad ones and for some strange reason, they still get work! This is most definately down to who you know.
My client list now boasts names like Cisco, Nortel, Renualt and the NHS, which is pretty impressive when you consider I only started my company a little over a year ago and it is without question that I wouldn't have those clients if I didn't know certain people - word of mouth goes a long way!
Personally, I wouldn't quite know how to 'cold call'. I mean, how do you tell someone that their site would be vastly improved given the chance, in a diplomatic way without offending them or making yourself out to be a complete ass with an ego problem? I've not had to sell myself in such a way yet - but am dreading the time when I might have to!
Now would be a good time to reveal any secrets, bearing in mind Im not about to go after clients in SA Mtrax or the US Wenwilder! :)
I guess my point is that most of my business is through contacts and as yet - have not had to go looking for work - it has quite literally dropped in my lap and in that respect, I am a very fortunate fellow. I know it cant last (Can it?), but I do think that this is the way most work is obtained - through my own experience at least.
I apologise for going into waffle mode. This is just the way its been for me.
08-14-2003, 02:10 PM
We recently came up with a referral program for our current clients.
We sent out a cd which contains the applicaiton at the link below:
If they fill out 3 referrals, then they get one hour of service free.
If they call all 3 of those referrals and personally put in a good word for us, then they get an additional hour of service.
If any of the referrals become a client, they get $100 for each one that becomes a client.
I think this will work really well.
We just sent out (snail mail) about 100 of these multimedia cd's.
I will let you know how it goes down the road.
You can view the project here:
Feel free to imitate the "idea". But not my files. :o)
08-14-2003, 03:07 PM
trying to get clients to design for can be very problematic.think about it, you put a proposal before a client and he says some one as offered me something similar for $150 dollars you know. 2 months down the line you take a look at what he got for one $150 dollars you ask yourself is Microsoft paint brush the new design tool.
Companies are trying to cut cost but are cutting it the bad way,frankly i get my clients through word of mouth most of the time. i think the best deal is to treat your clients well and they would surely bring in more clients.
secondly if one offers superior products ,i think word would quickly get around and clients would be running to you.
08-14-2003, 03:09 PM
I have to agree that word-of-mouth and who-you-know are the most important marketing "techniques."
That said, I suppose the next logical step would be to get out and meet those in your business community. That's our current goal -- to get our name in front of people often enough so that when they do have a project, they think of us first. We're accomplishing that through e-mail newsletters, face-to-face networking, various sponsorship opportunities, etc. We're also looking into a referral system (very nice CD, kenzie) and partnerships with local, high-profile businesses that come in contact with our target market.
08-14-2003, 03:43 PM
I run into this all the time with my DJ business. The clients usually have a pre conceived notion of what you do. "You build web sites"
What you need to do is to sell them on what you do differently.
Answer this question. What can you provide that some college kid with dreamweaver and photoshop can't?
For instance someone called you in response to an add in the newspaper about a car you were selling, then they asked how much it was, you could respond and say $3000. They may say, that's too much and go to the next add. At this point they have no idea what type of value you are really offering.
What they may not have known is that you were not selling just ANY car, but you were selling a Ferrari in perfect condition.
Your price may be more than other cars, but it was a great value for what you are selling. Sell your value, and what you can do differently.
Do you have more experience, do you belong to professional associations where you network and keep your knowledge current, do you know how to build a site that will be optimized for search engines, what will happen if the client gets a website but nobody can find it, will you return their calls, will you give them a contract to define exactly what they will get, will you guarantee your work??????
Those are all some things that you may do that are different.
Also, not every client IS your client. If you have accurately described your value, and they still balk over price, then they are just not your customers.
I am VERY much a novice on web design, but I am working on a couple right now just because I found some sites of people I know that were just not very good. I made a 1 page mock up, and said "here is something you could do which may make your site more attractive. I can teach you how I did it, or if you don't have time to learn new programs, I can build them for you"
Both of these sites that I am being paid for are for people that have had OTHER people offer to do it for free. I simply gave them something to visualize, and took time to understand their needs, and show how I could help them.
(sorry for the long post)
08-14-2003, 05:26 PM
In my life prior to Internet Consultancy, I owned a company selling burglar alarms. I faced all the major names in the industry emphasising their "prestige & quality" and at the other extreme, hundreds of electricians selling extremely cheaply.
Yes, word of mouth will eventually be your mainstay, but I remember it took seven hard years to gain the bulk of my trade from recommendation.
Last year (and redundant) I faced the same set of problems again - having to start on the road again from scratch.
The answer is, as always, put yourself in the customers shoes! What do they want? What do they think?
Why do some people always go for the cheaper quote? Answer - they assume the goods are identical. All you have to do is convince them otherwise! Impossible? No, quite simple really - I used to say this....
"Sure, we can match their price - we buy the goods from the same alarm wholesaler, so all I have to do is get our engineers out in a single day instead of our normal two!" "Do you really want our lads slapping up wires anywhere and leaving a mess, or do you want a quality job?" What would you choose?
Web work is the same - show them the corners you can cut to match the price of others!
Secondly, publish a price list. Let the people choose. They may like your quality but perhaps they cannot afford you. Break your work down into small affordable chunks and let them pay for what they really want.
Thirdly, explain what you do in simple terms. I used to explain how a passive Infra Red sensor worked and what its advantages and disadvantages were over other forms of detection. The customers appreciated my honesty and, more importantly, respected my knowledge and so had confidence in me. Build confidence by giving them the pros & cons of the different technologies - explain what they are.
Don't say - "he's not an expert, he uses Front Page Express!" These are just meaningless words. Show them your work, demonstrate different approaches to similar problems, gain their respect.
If you agree with most of the above, but feel you never have enough time to convince a customer, then you need a professionally designed catalogue plus a CD to go alongside it demonstrating your skills, showing your existing work and listing your customers. Don't just rely on your web site - most customers have no idea what a good one should look like !
Now if I had said that in the first place - you would have dismissed it out of hand! Old technology - bah! No, the written word (plus pictures of course!) not the internet should be your weapon of choice.
My case rests m'lud
08-14-2003, 05:53 PM
Wow.. thanks Mtrax.. this thread is really helpful to me.. My husband and I have a web hosting company and just starting out.. I was beginning to wonder what we were doing wrong because it's such a slow process it seems.. we offer other services as well but I'm what I'd characterize myself as a low level designer more than a professional(one of those that the professionals gripe about undercutting them, i'm afraid).... i have a lot to learn, :-)... I'm not even really pushing the design side until I can offer better.. it's just there for people who want it right now...
But the hosting is another thing.. that's our baby, you know? This has been very helpful to me so far and I hope you all keep posting on it. The most daunting task is getting a good reputation when there are just as many bad companies out there as good ones.. people don't want to take a chance on a new one because nobody knows anything about them yet... but what you are saying here gives me hopes that it won't always be that way... I'm patient enough to wait if that's what it takes to make it a success but I sure was wondering if it was something we were doing wrong.
08-14-2003, 06:32 PM
Moondancer.. people don't want to take a chance on a new one because nobody knows anything about them yet... but what you are saying here gives me hopes that it won't always be that way...
I started my company in July 2002. Its a year old now and my 'in' tray looks like the Btistish Library!
Nothing hapened for 6 months, nothing at all and now I'm having to turn work down or explain to them that there will be a delay in starting.
Im sure your hosting will kick off sooner or later and once it does - you'll wonder why you ever worried! :)
08-14-2003, 08:16 PM
That's good to hear.. we started in March this year so that gives us some hope. thanks, Mtrax
08-14-2003, 08:56 PM
Greetings folks !
Most of this may seem rather typical, but I gather we're just brain storming. As well, some things may have already been mentioned (I apologize). I suppose, in the least this may provide ideas for other readers or further discussion.
The Product Or Service:
Most of us know we need to research our products or services as well as our competitors. Web design services are wide spread. Of course they would be, this is the web after all, right? After someone designs their first web page(s), well suddenly their a designer. No! nothing wrong with that at all, actually I think it's great. I'm just stating the reality. Therefore, this service is greatly competitive.
Someone will always undercut your quotes/estimates, as well, lean towards the competitor's credentials and/or benefits. Many companies will offer ridiculously low prices in order to just get the job, if they can they will. Many many shoppers will just fly to the best quote, and what seems to be the best deal. No matter what type of business your in, you need to be prepared for this, hopefully ahead of time. This is what separates some of the budding new business venturers from the more seasoned ones. A marketing plan, some predefined credentials, and also the benefits of your services in contrast to the competitors.
A Web Site:
On the Internet, your web pages are the heart of your venture, the backbone of all your efforts.
Copy first, design and graphics later. Even if your a graphics design company, your samples are of course a very important part, yet they have their own place. Also keep in mind that if you provide other services besides graphics and web pages, you need examples to that work too, and some good copy. When *almost* anyone visits a site, if there are words, they will read. If the words are poor, they may skip the meat and continue to other areas. This is where the company with great services and a good marketing plan may fail and succumb to their competitors, with poor choice of words/communication and presentaion.
Fancy graphics and presentations will inspire to a certain degree, but often don't meet the level of sales needed on their own. Graphics and a list of services won't make sales, words will. Every word, paragraph, image on your web site should be intensely focused on inspiring your visitor to take some sort of action, even a series of actions, lead them in. This is an extremely competitive world we live in. Your service, web site, also your marketing strategy all hinge greatly on your words.
Off To The Market:
It is important to develop a short term and long term strategy.
Words are the most powerful marketing tool there is. The right words will turn your prospective clients into customers. Unfortunately, wrong words or unfocused presentations/communications will cause them to look elsewhere, shut you out, and likely never return.
This has been mentioned, but word of mouth is by far the best you'll ever get for business. If you are not prepared to lower your prices like the next guy, well, word of mouth and the uniqueness of your service now becomes much more critical.
Common techniques, but very effective:
- Your product/service should go above and beyond the expected.
- You'll need to research your competetors, and provide good examples as to what the benefits are to your services.
- Your customer service and support needs to be top notch, and able to be proven.
- Providing "real quotes" from your customers and examples about how your company has helped individuals in there specific needs, not just overall.
As well, for previous clients, keep in touch. Don't let yourself get to busy where you cannot keep in touch with your previous clients. If your not after a fast buck, your clientele is truly the heartbeat of your venture.
Several years ago I had sent out snail mail Christmas cards to all my previous clients thanking them for their support. No sales pitch, well, not really any way. Just to keep in touch. The response really wasn't what I had expected. Roughly 60% was no response, another 20% - 30% seemed to be thank you's in return. I had gained enough work to keep busy for several months. As well I had gained new clients from word of mouth.
As for cold calling, offering a free basic analysis for web development is not a bad idea. But keep in mind the things that have been mentioned so far "words", "word of mouth". If the designer doing the cold calling has a big fancy graphical flash site, of course I would be inspired. But how will they actually help me? Where to start with cold calling? For starters, how about keeping track of the ones who have left you for the cheaper deal, hehe,your competitors. You know what they say, keep your enemies closer. Offer to meet any reasonable rate,even if you can't... Then provide some good substantial reasons... You'll know who your competitors are, and where the prospects are going. There is nothing wrong with having a little agressiveness in your market strategies, provided it is done well and with great thought.
Also let the potential client speak. Many, in sales, will say push push push, don't give your prospect time to think. Again, if your not after a fast buck. By allowing your prospect to speak gives you much more of an edge, enabling you to develop a good initial relationship, at the same time, you can deliver more focused, powerful, responses and solutions.
The local advertising shouldn't be overlooked, within your center/location. This can get you a great deal of valuable business and even help build word of mouth.
Just a few resources:
Most require membership, some paid...
This is a great topic---
loved reading all the posts----
& I guess after reading them I have to count my blessings & be very thankful
that my work just pours in...I am always booked 4-6 weeks in advance & never have to leave my house...this is only my first year designing.....
I am in no means an expert designer/programmer nor do I profess to be one...
there is a lot for me to still learn & absorb...
but I believe that the reason for my relative success this early in my career
1) I always underpromise & overdeliver
2) I NEVER use templates---create a custom design from the get-go---
these are not just websites were making--we're making functional ART!
I have found that this simple formula has keep clients coming back so much that often I have to call my designer friends and give them jobs that I don't have the time to work on---it seems that if you put in 101% to every site---that energy & effort will come back to you as another eager client-----
08-15-2003, 09:50 AM
I'm fairly new to this business, having started about 1 year ago, but I am now getting more and more business, and after a steep learning curve, the future is looking promising.
Having read all your comments with great interest (as I always do...eager to learn wherever possible), I am aware that the long-term trend of all this 'hype your business up for all it's worth to show that you are better then the competition', is increasing only it's own problem.
It has quite correctly been said that 'every word counts' in selling yourself. This is true. But the reason for this is that more and more people are going further and further in the 'speech bytes' and 'sales patter' they use to get the contracts.
I bet for many of you, the quality of work you offered 6 months ago, was just as good as it is now. However, you have probably *had* to hype up the way you sales literature talks about that same quality, because everyone else is doing the same.
Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Every website, advert., leaflet etc you read is flooding you with 'marketing hype' (and let's be honest, most people are intelligient enough to know that marketing hype is the default language of today and so will regard it as such). This means that the marketing hype has to reach higher and higher limits, whilst because it is increasingly normal for businesses to talk that way, customers eventually learn to take each new 'hype' with a larger and larger grain of salt.
As a customer I have long since reached the point where I pretty much disregard all the marketing speak on a web page, and simply look at the list of services, prices and customer testimonies. We've all heard the expression 'talk is cheap', and marketing 'talk' has become amongst the cheapest of the lot (in terms of how seriously the customer reagrds it), because it has been so overused that customers not only *expect* it, but even *disregard* it as 'packaging'. Just like the colourful packaging you get with a mail order product, that all you do is rip off to get to the real product inside.
When I 'sell' myself to my customers (both on and off line). I try to explain to all this to them as part of telling them about myself and my services. My website is relatively straightforward in terms of 'marketing speak', and it says on the site that the service I offer is a no b**lsh*t one, starting with the statement to that effect; only in politer terms of course :-)
I think people will increasingly find it 'refreshingly different' to be spoken to (rather than 'talked at') on a mormal day-to-day level, using normal day-to-day language. Perhaps this is similar in some ways to the point that WenWilder made earlier.
It is certainly working well for me at the moment. I have had several referrals only recently where the new clients had told me that the reason they approached me was because of my "reputation for telling it like it is and not wasting their time, or insulting their intelligence with loads of marketing hype which they know is just the same old same old that everyone else comes out with".
My advice is definately just talk to your customers like you would talk to your friends in a pub, or in a restaurant or wherever. What used to be 'everyday and bland' before the concept of marketing was invented, is now 'refreshingly different'. It's funny how things often go full circle.
Anyway, sorry if this has gone on a bit; just ny 'two-pence' worth.
08-15-2003, 05:07 PM
...I think people will increasingly find it 'refreshingly different' to be spoken to (rather than 'talked at') on a mormal day-to-day level, using normal day-to-day language. Perhaps this is similar in some ways to the point that WenWilder made earlier.
Anyway, sorry if this has gone on a bit; just my 'two-pence' worth.
As one of my fellow marketing analysts put it: "..... businesses have never been impressed by money, power, or who has the best sales pitch, it is all about attitude and ability these days."
If he didn't work for fortune 500 companies I probably wouldn't listen to him as closely, but then it could also be his attitude that makes me listen. ;)
08-15-2003, 08:46 PM
I design and write web sites the heck of it. I even once made a website for a shop just because I mistyped a URL and got their site and found it contained dead links and lousy html. So I made them an eight page site. I redesigned the site for my girlfriends employer and have done sites for friends business's and personal sites.
WHY? I hear you cry. Well one, because I like wrting HTML/CSS as I find it's logic relaxing. Two, because no ones offered to pay me yet, three, because word of mouth is one of the bst advertisments out there, and four, because every other person I talk to online claims to be a web designer just because they can use Frontpage or Dreamweaver.
I hate to be blunt but making a site using only Dreamweaver or Frontpage just makes you a glorified secretary to me as both act like word processsors. To me, a professional web designer understands the code, knows which tags do what, and can make a complex site using notepad. Not saying you have to use notepad to be a professional, I personally use TopStyle or Ultraedit, but sometimes you don't have an editor with a preview option.
In my experience most web designers work comes from people they know, be it family, real life friends, or people you talk to on the net. Few people seem to seek out web designers as they are either willing to try it themselves or know someone that designs websites.
So my advice on finding work?
1 - Offer to do sites for a couple of local clubs, shops, or charities. This will help get your name about.
2 - Frequent forums, newsgroups, and chat rooms.
3 - Don't be afraid to make the first move. My friend asked me for some HTML advice as he was working on his companies site and I offered to do the site for £200. They said no but I made the offer. Maybe canvas your local business's to see if they want a site made or need their site updating/maintaining. Pick a couple of big companies and put together a site plan before you visit them.
And most importantly always remember this:
Lots of small jobs are as good as, if not better, than one big one.
08-16-2003, 01:09 AM
Crumbs & crikey there is a lot to take in here!
I have to say that for the life of me I can't "do" sales pitch... I am too straighforward (with a natural tendency to be brutaly honest) to use the "Wow I am so wonderful. You need me!" pitch.
How do I get around this? I don't tend to need to! The result of my inability to "sell my services" has not hampered my business much at all. I started my own graphic & web design business three years ago in a small tourist town in OZ (big trees, wildflowers etc). I do mainly graphic work, but some web sites as well. While I am sure that my lack of marketing has meant that my business has grown much slower than it would have if I had been more outgoing etc. My portfolio and word of mouth referals from existing clients has definately been the tool for gaining new work. I have not advertised in two years.
I think it depends on your target market, but mine definately prefer the honest "hype free" info. Some businesses in my town go to designers from the city and pay 3-4 times what I would charge them because of the hype, but if they want to do that then let them do so. More often than not they have come back saying they regretted the decision because of all the hassles they had.
I don't pretend to be what I am not. I am a mid- range designer who excels in logical layout (I hate sites you can't find your way around!) I charge reasonable rates and I work on the principal that the job is not finished until the client is satisfied. I work to my target audiences need & expectations.
I agree with the opinion that most designers simply can't take criticism of their sites. I think it is the "artistist soul" within us that makes our creation such a personal thing, almost a part of us, that we sometimes feel it is a criticism of us personally. But it isn't. Art is subjective. It is foolish to expect that your clients taste will echo yours. Sometimes they will be wrong, but in the end what you design is meant to primarily reflect their business, not yours. And the fact is none of us is perfect, it is unlikely that we will ever design a site that is absolutely perfect, in which nothing can be improved (especially as solo designers).
Back to the topic... So what does all this mean to me. For my business, the marketing hype is not on. If I have to tell a client why they should "pick me" over a host of other designers I don't try oversell myself. I simply state who I am and what I do. I am honest & hardworking, I create functional clear sites that have a history of bringing results to their owners, and I work on the job until the client is satisfied. I don't promise anything I am not willing to deliver. I stand by my quotes.
As long as I am true to those principals I do not end a job with a dissatisfied customer, and then word of mouth comes into play to bring in new clients.
I think often what slows design businesses down (to the point where they sometimes close) is the dissatisfied customers. The best thing I think you can do in regards to getting new work is to ensure that not even one client leaves unhappy with either your work or your service.
08-16-2003, 07:44 AM
Perhaps I need to clear some things up.
My previous post was addressing the title and initial question of this post, also the category it is/was located in. When posting, I try to refrian from going on about myself , or off topic (not always successful). I'm not in agreement to blowing oneself or one's own product/service(s) up for any misrepresentation purposes, in fact, I'm strongly opposed to that sort of thing.
Looking back at my previous post, maybe it could be taken as though I am into the big sales hype. Not! My main focus was to initiate and maintain a more personal level with any potential or existing client, for *new* budding Internet/business ventures. Good copy yes, not big hype, not big typical empty words. "Spoken to", not "talked at" ? I certainly agree. Yet, for whatever business venture, on or off the web, the copy needs to be focused on the targeted audience.
In 1988 My first adventure began with a company I had started called WoodWorks. Being in the millwork and renovations industry put me in a one on one personal level with the clients, continuously.
This still applies today, but I found around 90% of the clients wanted something, but not intirely sure what, exactly. As time consuming as it was, I would take the time to converse with them and offer ideas, eventually getting them what they really needed, not something they thought they needed. I also found that using the big sales pitch, and giving the client exactly what they first asked for, gave similar results. These clients would return of course, but sometimes not in the way that I would like. They would be in need of things that were overlooked. Sure more business, and the clients were almost always happy, but not my way of doing business.
Then in 1993 came the more technical stuff. The millwork business paid the bills, allowing me to pursue other interests. Computer science, Computer Aided Drafting, the arts etc. I found this education to greatly enhance my ability for graphic representations, presentations etc. I also began developments of custom software needed for the lumber and millwork industry I was in.
I began development for people on and off the web. In 1996, by contracting most of the renovations out to skilled and well known local craftsmen, I had merged the two companies together. I had put up a personal looking page, not a big "sales pitch". It did well, but could have been due to many variables, like the early days of the web, my previous/current clientele, and new business contacts I had made in the whole process. Since then, I try to keep up on all the merging technologies blah blah blah. I had done well, putting up many pages yada yada yada. These days I get little glory, most of my work is all back end, on and off the web, but I love it.
Honestly, I haven't had to look for work for several years. I've been lucky too! But I think the business/marketing plans, overall attitude/etiquette, and business/customer relations helped immensely. Also, I think this strengthens the ideas of "who you know", and "word of mouth". For sales and representation I don't like to wear a suit and tie anymore, so I shouldn't have to, I've earned it the old fashioned way, been there done that, I have others to do that for me (if need be). My son will likely take over the renovations end of things in the future (look out!). No I'm not that old, >30, <40, I began early :)
Not everyone starts out this way. Everyone's story is different. A vast majority of businesses are starting *fresh* out on the web. I'm not here to promote myself or any type of service or product. Or, even hype! I spend some time in this forum when I don't feel like working, to provide some good old fashioned honest advice, and to help the budding coders along, when I can. As well to learn. It's great!
There are many different types of markets, people, and ways people do business. Many things have been overused, and it's not just the sales pitch on or off the web. Words, communications, and representation play a critical role. In print, or on the web, people will pick you up, or throw you away in a heart beat, if your not focused. I'm all for the personal touch, yes, it is very refreshing. Good attitude and honesty will show in your copy, messages you convey, and take you a long long way :)
08-17-2003, 12:48 PM
Great proposals are key. I've been on both sides, as a VP hiring a web design company and as a freelancer pitching jobs. When i put out a bid for a fairly extensive health portal, I got quotes back that ranged from 35K to 150K, it was basically the bigger the company the bigger the quote. I ended up with the 100K quote because the proposal was the most detailed and excellent proposal I'd ever seen. It left nothing to the imagination and spelled out exactly what we were going to get, when we would get it, how much it would cost and more.
Since then, I've been doing freelance design and I find that my proposal is what makes the sale. I write it like a buisness plan. After an initial phone mtg with the potential client, I sit down and research their company further and do an analysis of their competition. Then I spell out goals and objectives and strategies on how to reach those goals, I propose a site architecture including a kick-ass flow chart (in Illustrator), then I propose search engine and marketing strategies, then I give them a timeline including all steps in the design process, then I discuss look and feel, site features, then I talk about how we will work together including a process for submitting and reviewing drafts. This ends up to be around 15 to 20 pages long (I've created a template so it doen't take forever to do each one.) I send them the pdf version via email and a paper copy by fedex overnight.
I know from my experience receiving proposals, that only the big expensive web shops create proposals like this. So when the client receives my proposal and puts it alongside the one or two-page proposals that most freelancers send in, they are very impressed. In fact, it's always the first words I hear from them "We loved your proposal!" The next words are almost always "you've got the job."
By the way, with reference to the 100K job I put out to bid, one company met with us and wanted 20K just to write the proposal! That shows you how much value a good proposal has!
08-18-2003, 03:16 AM
This is such a great thread! Thanx to everyone who replied! I think this has just confirmed what I had in mind. To always be professional and maybe put some extra time and effort into the details of proposals and pitches up front to be able to reap the rewards later. As it happened to be we also had a referral scheme going giving clients free design/updates for referring clients. It's hasn't really paid off, but I'll be rethinking the strategy soon and maybe do a more personal approach.
Another thing I've learnt and want to share is NEVER APPEAR DESPERATE FOR A JOB!!!!!
A good friend once advised me to do my marketing when it's going the craziest around the office, deadlines looming and stress levels soaring - you'd be surprised at the good it does for a potential client to walk into(or past) your buzzing office to see people at work. It's also a good way to not lose focus of the marketing side of things.
Anyway, thanx again for the invaluable tips!! C U around the forums!!
01-29-2004, 02:27 AM
We recently came up with a referral program for our current clients.
After my experience this afternoon (1/28/2004) at the office of Truewater, I would not recommend potential customer nor a Technical Consultant...
[MOD EDIT: Please keep WPW discussions on-topic. Thanks! - Brittany, Forum Host]
01-29-2004, 08:18 AM
gworley: I find it interesting that you have posted to a "web development/design" forum about this.
Also this post is not even concerning networking or IT at all.
As for your test, I know nothing about it because I am a web developer for Truewater, and not an IT consultant.
I am sorry that you could not pass the test though.
I wish you the best in your job seeking endeavors.
01-29-2004, 02:53 PM
Okay guys, before another great discussion is taken down the wrong path, let's remember that the topic of this thread is "Ways to land job after job"
Any more suggestions or creative ways to approach clients?
01-30-2004, 03:35 AM
Aha! I have now taken sticky flypaper approach! My decision followed after allot of research into 'what makes our company stand out from the rest'. Well, we've moved into new offices, which is on a busy street. The one corner of the office has a diagonal wall, facing traffic.
ONE-DIRECTIONAL 3 LANE TRAFFIC ----->>>>>>>
Since we're on the second level, we've got the perfect opportunity to put up a very nice sign, which no one can miss on their life. It's got some of our services and telephone numbers listed, so I'll report back on how the 'sticky' sign works :-) Now I'll be able to boast 'Mine is bigger than yours'!! Our sign that is...
02-02-2004, 10:16 AM
My business is all based on referrals. I have a little thing that I do at the end of a project; kind of like a closing interview you get when leaving a company.
When I have completed a project, I review the process with the client. From the beginning consultation, all the way through to the deployment and testing.
I try to find any ways that I can improve on my process, as well as make sure that the client feels they were treated professionally.
At the end of this review/interview I always ask for a testimonial, and at least three references. I ask the client to make a short-but-sweet phone call to each referral letting them know I will be in contact and that they referred me. You would be surprised how willing people are to do this small thing if you treat them right through the entire process.
And I normally don't even offer an incentive for doing it. If they hesitate in doing it, I offer to extend my support services an additional month. But that is normally it.
As a matter of fact, I am contacting a referral this afternoon. Wish me luck. :o)