Like many of you I’m sure, when I started designing I took almost any job that would come my way. Sometimes I took 4 or 5 at a time just so I didn’t have to say no or pass up money that was coming my way. Boy, if those aren’t some classic rookie mistakes. But, you do what you got to do when you are making very little money per job. This situation naturally leads one to wonder how they get less clients that want to pay more.
While I can’t say that these methods will work for everyone, below are some of the strategies I used when re-launching WordPress Designers. If you visit the site you will notice that it is only about half way done, yet I am getting more business than ever from the new design. So much new business that I hardly have time to finish the site!
Here are some of my secrets to getting higher paying clients!
Evaluate Your Past High Paying Clients
Obviously this only works if you have had paying clients in the past. One thing that helped me the most was to to look over my older, high paying, clients and see what I did to convince them to work with me. What was it that convinced them to work with me over the competition? Was it my website? My portfolio samples? My communication? After doing a little research, I realized that it was the clients who I spoke with on the phone AFTER a ballpaprk price was suggested.
Now that I know what was helping me get higher paying clients, it only made sense to better exploit this tool. I will mention how I exploited the ballpark price portion in the next section. For now, I just want to briefly talk about how I improved the phone calls aspect.
In the past, I never really called clients unless they asked me too. I’m just not a phone person, so I would rather chat or just send emails. But, if a few phone calls meant I could get $5,000+ clients, I was more than happy to make a few calls. Now when ever I get a quote request from a client, the first thing I do is give them a very rough ballpark figure and ask them if that is in their budget. If it is in their budget, I then ask for their phone number to do a phone consultation to get some more information to provide them with a better quote.
Since it is these phone calls where I usually “seal the deal” I figured it couldn’t hurt to brush up on my sales techniques and elevator pitches. Here are some resources I found that helped me brush up on these skills.
The Hollywood Way to Online Business Success
“This is the element of a movie and a business that makes it unique. Your USP, your elevator pitch, your remarkable benefit. Without this, the odds for success go way down.”
Perfecting Your “Elevator Pitch”
“Too many entrepreneurs try to pack too much into their “elevator pitches,” making them overly long and detailed, focusing on the wrong things, or using industry jargon that clouds or obscures what their company is really all about.”
Close More Sales: 3 Ways to Get In, Get Started and Make More Money Nowâ€”No Matter the Economy
“If you focus on building relationships and implement the sales strategies I reveal here, youâ€™ll be able to close more deals and get more sales now. People will buy from you even in a lagging economy â€” no matter what your price point.”
Here are a few books I purchased as well. Many of them were recommended by others in the industry. I haven’t read them all yet, but they look every promising. the ones I have read are all extremely insightful.
Show Your Base Price Up Front
For whatever reason, we as designers don’t like to share our prices publicly. Some people are paranoid of other designers being under sold by the competition, while others don’t want to low ball them self on a high paying client. Both are logical reasons not share your price. But in my experience, publishing my start point for design work was one of the best things I ever did.
On the home page of my site, I clearly state that custom design work starts at $2000. By posting this starting point, it weeds out many of the people who aren’t willing to spend that kind of money. Thus, the people that do contact me are ready to spend at least that amount of money. But, because I said “prices start at” I haven’t locked my self into a fixed rate and am free to bid higher on jobs when appropriate. I also reiterate this price on the contact/quote request form in case the person missed the home page altogether. This helps keep my inbox free of emails from people looking for cheap design work.
Because I don’t want to completely push away those with smaller budgets, I also offer design tweaking services which I don’t share a price for. When I get emails for this sort of work, I pick and choose who I want to potentially work with. If I feel the would be clients needs could be better suited with a slightly more expensive approach, then I follow the steps above with a ballpark figure and phone consult.
In this phone consult I share with them a number of ideas that could help their business or website make more money both short term and long term. I explain the benefits of my suggestions and the cost involved with each. Nine times out of ten, I end up getting the client invest more in to their website than they had planned and feel good about it.
How much to charge for design work?
“Often I get asked this question via email, facebook or twitter about how to price yourself as a designer. The usual phrase goes something along the lines of â€œhow much should I charge forâ€ â€¦ web design, graphic design, logo design, etc.”
Pricing Web Work – What Should You Charge?
“The first thing that you should be aware of is that the discussion of pricing with your competitors is illegal in the US and Canada. Yes, you heard me right. It’s called price fixing, and it’s a federal offence.”
The Art of Business: Setting Rates for Your Small Design Firm
“When you’re a freelancer, setting rates is relatively simple; you fill in a few cost numbers, find a comfortable profit margin (if you can), and divide the cost of business by the number of hours you want or need to work. As a result, most freelancers have a single rate card.”
Extra Step Networking
It is no secret that networking can help your business. I think that because the design community is such and online network, that we tend to do a lot more social networking than other industries. The problem is, we seem to keep this networking restricted to the online world. When is the last time you called or met one of the people you interact with online? I suggest taking an extra step in your social networking by actually getting in contact with some of the people you interact with online.
If its possible, see if anyone you talk to online lives in your area. If so, make plans to meet up with them for coffee or drinks to just talk shop. If that’s not possible, see about chatting over the telephone, video chat, or some other way of communication that is more personal than Tweeting or comments. By making these more personal connection, the people you are networking with will remember you over their strictly online friends. They will also feel more comfortable with recommending you to people we the can.
Check out our long list of graphic design and web design conferences as a place to meet some big names in teh industry.
How to Build Credibility as a Young Blogger/Entrepreneur
“When it comes to the blogosphere it may be all about the content, but when it comes to content, credibility is king. Credibility can make or break a blog. Take a look at the successful blogs out there..”
Social Networking Goes Offline
“With MeetIn you set up a profile, which can include your photo, age, and brief sections on education and interests (MeetIn’s largest and most active chapter is in Portland, where more than 6,600 people have created profiles). Each member can post invites to eventsâ€”dinners, concerts, salsa dancing, Frisbee outingsâ€”for others to join.”
Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job
“LinkedIn has over thirty-five million members in over 140 industries. Most of them are adults, employed, and not looking to post something on your Wall or date you. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where theyâ€™ve worked in the past. Talk about a target-rich environment, and the service is free.”
Main image purchased from Shutterstock