Web designers, whether freelance or from an agency, find themselves trying to explain their new design concept to business owners all the time. While Web designers are skilled and talented in their craft, communicating and selling an idea is a different arena which can result in the ultimate "yes" or "no."
For a successful pitch, Web designers should follow these top five tips:
Answer the "so what" question before they ask it
Business owners are naturally protective over their business and are particularly interested in the numbers. If you plan to create a new call-to-action block, incorporate social buttons on a landing page or move from adaptive to a responsive Web design, you need to explain "why?", and then why again. It's not enough to say "I've made the sign up form bigger and more striking." Go on to say what you expect the benefits to be from this, particularly around sales and leads. You can go even further and state whether this has worked for another client. If you don't have an extensive portfolio of examples, mention other brands that have seen an uplift in growth by researching online. Using empirical evidence to explain your choice gives your point more gravitas and credibility.
Clarify, clarify, clarify
Web design isn't the easiest thing to get your head around and it's likely that a business owner wouldn't be in-the-know on all things Web related, such as terminology or how something is technically possible. If you've explained something that you feel could be a little difficult to grasp, stop and ask if anyone has any questions. It will be worse in the long-run if a business owner makes an assumption or leaves with the feeling that you weren't easy to understand. There's also a good chance that the client will ask you to explain something at the end of your pitch, rather than during. By this time, you'll have lost the optimum impact.
Watch out for the warning signs
You don't have to have a psychology degree to get a sense of feeling within a room full of people. There's a lot to tell about someone's reaction or body language and it's important to adapt your approach if you feel that someone looks concerned or apprehensive. If it's clear why they may be worried (perhaps you've suggested something that is a little above budget or hasn't worked entirely well for the brand in the past), express your empathy along with reassurance. Don't be afraid to say "I know you may be thinking... but the reason I feel we should do this is because of the following benefits..." You've obviously worked hard on what you've suggested so don't let a business owner reject your idea based on fear.
Breathe life into your ideas even without the go ahead
By this, I don't mean go out and do them anyway even if you haven't got approval. Rather, I mean showing that your ideas are genuine, and making them more appealing, by talking about time frames and targets. This is crucial as a business owner may love your ideas but if someone else can demonstrate realistic time frames and present deliverable targets, they'll be seen as more favourable. You don't need to go too in-depth, especially if you haven't agreed on a contract yet, but an overview will be hugely beneficial. You'll be able to show that not only do you have good ideas but you can act upon them.
Give them control
If you don't have a contract with the business yet, some may say it's best to initiate a deal shortly after you've finished your pitch. However, for a business owner, this can come across pushy and unprofessional. We recommend letting the business owner know that you're happy to go ahead right away, but that you also understand if they'd like to absorb the information and come back to you in two or three days with any questions or thoughts. It's about giving them the control as after all, it is their business and they'll only make a deal if they feel safe enough to hand that aspect over.
David Blackburn is the founder, CEO and director of Marketing Quotes. Marketing Quotes is a free service to help UK businesses save time and money on marketing needs such as website design by comparing costs from top agencies.