There is one phone call that is more sensitive than any other in the web development project timeline.
That’s the post-project discovery call. This is the moment when you wrap up the last week or two of research and communication, put together a solid, foolproof plan for meeting your client’s needs, and give them an estimate on how much it will cost.
Unsurprisingly, this can be a nerve-wracking time for any web agency.
You may know all of the ins and outs of the project and have a solid idea about how all of the different elements will fall into place, but you still have to communicate that to your client. The process of translating all of this research into a convincing, easy-to-understand proposal is understandably challenging.
Importantly, there is a difference between your value proposal call and your project proposal call. The goal of this call is to get you and your client on the same page concerning the value of the services you can offer.
Putting Project Discovery in Perspective
The whole point of this phone call is to put project discovery in perspective for your client. You already spent time and effort convincing them that the project discovery process is important, now you have to deliver on that promise.
There are a few easy ways you can do that, and the following rules will help guide you as you put together a plan for reaching out to your client.
Rule One: Know Your Clients Needs
The whole point of project discovery is understanding your client’s needs before you put together a proposal. Make sure your proposal actually speaks to those needs and solves the most pressing issues that your client has.
If you are making an e-commerce website, this could mean figuring out whether you want onsite payments or not, or what platform represents the best value for your client.
Rule Two: Conform to Your Client’s Budget
You should have a pretty good idea about your client’s budget by now, so avoid including features and functionalities that you know are beyond their scope. Be ready to cross out some features you would love to implement and, if necessary, size down your project to fit the client’s needs.
One way you can help achieve this is by presenting feature sets as a choice between three options. Put together basic, intermediate, and advanced descriptions of the optional features you think your client should include and match each one to a corresponding price and number of hours worked. This will help clear up any potential misunderstandings on the relationship between budget and functionality.
Rule Three: Know Your Limits
Let’s say you put together a proposal plan and start talking to your client about features. You’re presenting each one as an option between basic, intermediate, and advanced functionality and your client surprises you by asking for advanced features all the way through.
Can you handle that workload within the timeframe specified? Do you have options for obtaining additional development resources if necessary? If your client asks for more than you can handle, you should be ready to comply – by outsourcing to a white label developer, for instance.
Rule Four: Keep it Simple and To-the-Point
The last thing any client wants is a long diatribe about all the various factors that went into your decision-making process concerning their web development project. Your proposal should reduce complex elements to their simplest forms.
Assume your client is busy and short on time – if they want to learn more about something, they’ll ask. Prepare for your client to ask questions by getting straight to the main point as quickly as possible. Otherwise, their questions may sidetrack your proposal before you even get started.
Using specialized software like Proposify can be a huge help here. You are neither the first nor the last person to have difficulties making a solid proposal – rely on an expert toolset for getting the job done and you ensure the best results.
Rule Five: Perform an Internal Mock Review
This is an important step that many agencies and organizations miss out on. Performing a mock review with members of your team does two things. It brings out potential problems and issues while you still have time to address them, and it empowers your team to play a more active role in the proposal process.
As John C. Maxwell says, people feel valued when they feel heard. This step brings you and your team closer together while giving you a chance to practice responding to client concerns and objections.
Put Yourself in Your Client’s Shoes
Regardless of the particulars of your project, the best way to prepare yourself for communicating with your client is to put yourself in the client’s shoes first. During each of the steps outlined above, do your best to look at it from your client’s perspective and ask the questions you imagine they might ask – the ones you would if it were your project.
The more confidently you respond to these questions, the better you will be able to correlate them to fixed hours and rates during your phone call.
Remember that value is the key factor here. As long as your work adds value to your client’s processes, you are free to charge any price you wish for it. You will only hear “no thanks” if the price exceeds the actual value of the work to be performed.
Case studies and statistics are both great ways to demonstrate value to clients. Whenever you make an assertion, be prepared to back it up with a convincing argument. With the right approach and a healthy internal mock review, you will be prepared for anything when making your all-important proposal.