In HOW’s September 2012 issue, I offer five steps for how to find clients for your design business. Many designers claim to have trouble “closing the sale” and getting the client to sign on the dotted line. They sometimes even imagine there’s some secret to closing that they don’t know yet. There’s not. So how do you get more clients?
To get more clients, it’s essential to qualify your prospects first, so you only spend your time on the ones who are most likely to actually become clients.
Here I offer a bonus package that will help you get more clients—and make sure they’re the best ones for your business. I’ve included:
- Sample Graphic Design Proposal (download now)
- Sample Qualifying Criteria (download now)
- “The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money” sample chapter on Finding and Qualifying Your Prospects (download now)
- A podcast interview with web guru Mark O’Brien (listen now)
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No matter what you call the qualifying process—free consultation or critique, brainstorming session or preliminary diagnostic—the goal is to assess their qualifications, and that’s best done on the phone or via Skype in real time. Use that time to find out:
- Do they know what they need?
- Is their timeframe realistic?
- Can they afford you?
Develop a short list of questions or cheat sheet from the Sample Qualifying Criteria.
Once you’ve determined that they may be a good fit, you can even charge a fee for an initial consultation, which is especially effective when the client doesn’t know what they need. You can and should be paid for the strategic thinking that goes into scoping out a project—it’s actually the most valuable service you can provide.