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So, you’ve met a new client. Now it’s time to begin working together. Your clients want your expertise to make their business better. Your designs will help them achieve this, but if your clients also enjoy the experience of working with you, you’re best positioned for repeat business and glowing recommendations.
Co-founder @ Pixel Together
Monday 19th April 2021
'It’s likely that your client has chosen you over your competitors because they like who you are and what your brand represents'
Prior to founding Pixel Together, my co-founder and I had a web agency and most of our customers were recommended to us by other customers. We always started with a meticulous client workflow because we found that retaining or gaining new clients began with our very first interaction. Here are our insights from years of being in the design business to help ensure your onboarding process will make your clients feel great from the very start.
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It’s likely that your client has chosen you over your competitors because they like who you are and what your brand represents. So, from the first interaction with a new client, ensure they experience the things that make your brand excellent. Your client workflow should function as a map of your process and introduce your brand to potential clients.
It is important to think about your target market and how they work. Is a kick-off call best over coffee (socially distanced if required!) where you can introduce them to your local barista, or would a zoom call fit better with their busy schedules? Would a glossy welcome pack they can carry away from your meeting appeal most or are they better suited to an interactive, online portfolio?
Either way, we recommend preparing materials in advance of your kick-off meeting. This gives potential clients a clear idea of precisely what you offer and means you’re not wasting time. Including rates and packages can feel daunting at first, but this helps to eliminate tyre kickers, leaving you to focus on quality clients.
'This is the time to go wild with your creativity, exploring all possibilities with your client to create a scope that covers off on a wide range of options.'
If you can craft these first interactions to entice and excite your client, you’re already on the way to building the trust you’ll need throughout your project. For us, collaboration with our clients is super important, but we believe the best collaboration occurs with some clear boundaries.
So, in these initial stages, set expectations with your client. Take the time to ask questions and understand their problems, the context around them, and how much input they want from you. The more you can discover and clarify here, the easier the process will be. Using your understanding of their needs, outline your workflow; show them how and when they can contribute, and be clear on scope and timeline. Then, it's time to go wild with creativity on both sides, exploring all possibilities with your client before you create a scope that covers off a funnelled down range of options.
For those of us in the creative space, creating a legal contract for every job can be unnecessary and expensive. In our experience, it is most important to ensure your agreement pulls all your ideas into a clearly outlined and actionable scope which can be delivered in an achievable time-frame. The more detailed you can be here, the easier the creative process will be, for you and your client.
Agreeing on detail at this stage does not prevent you being agile later on; instead, it sets clear boundaries outlining how the project can grow.
We apply our love of simplicity and clear communication as we construct our agreements, keeping them as transparent and straightforward as possible.
Drafting your agreement
'Define who and how these will be made, and what outside of the scope will accrue extra charges. If there is room for expansion of the scope, instead of over-delivering, consider pitching further work'
Include in your agreement your process for making revisions or changes to the scope. Define who and how these will be made, and what outside of the scope will accrue extra charges. If there is room for expansion of the scope, instead of over-delivering, consider pitching further work.
In terms of money, we’d advise setting clear milestones and attaching payment amounts. Putting this in writing upfront can save a lot of time and heartache later on. For example, when drafting agreements for new clients, we often request a 50% deposit to begin work, 25% payment on first round delivery, and 25% on completion of a specified number of revisions.
The clearer and more transparent you can be at this stage, the easier it is to maintain trust and provide a smooth, enjoyable experience to your client. Remember, your client’s experience isn’t just based on the work they receive from you. The more they experience you as a reliable and organized design professional, the more likely they are to stick around, and to recommend you to their networks.
The essentials: time & money
Looking for tools to make your workflow processes smooth and enjoyable? We’ve highlighted some of the subscriptions that make our day to day business better. https://pixeltogether.com/blog/top-agency-tools
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