Getting clients: Sending a proposal — The Freelancer’s Journey (Part 4 of 43)


This is it. This is everything from research, proposal
making, and setting up the call, and we won’t stop there. This whole course is built around what we’re
about to do with this client, and that client interaction starts right here. We’re in Hayes Valley, with businesses all
around: shops, restaurants, doctors, law firms. Suppose for a moment we see an office, Hayes
Valley Interior Design. The only thing that matters here is we know
absolutely nothing about it. Which is good, on account of the business
being entirely fiction. The first thing we do, let’s check it out
online, and look at that, they have a site. And the first thing we see is their site is
microscopic, we have to zoom in and pan around. The second thing we see is they focus on full-service
design, interiors, cabinetry, we can see what things the business specializes in. And just like that, by walking along the street
here, we’re doing two things. One, we’re finding businesses around our
community, and two, we’re achieving fitness goals by closing the move ring on our Apple
watch. Essentially we’re following the same format
we discussed earlier in the course. We want to figure out how this design firm’s
potential clients find them, what they do when they get on the site, and how we can
use what we learn here to help the firm move forward. And we’re going to be moving relatively
quickly here, and we’re doing that because our time is valuable and we don’t want to
spend too long researching or preparing a proposal for a client that doesn’t yet know
we exist. So, let’s see what else we can find out. How do clients find them? Well, just going to their website shows us
a few things. We know they have a handful of services, these
are the main areas their firm specializes in, and right now it’s just a bulleted list
of what they do. You can’t click through and learn more. Three main designers, but their biographies
aren’t really biographies, there’s a little blurb next to each designer and that’s all
on one page. In design firms, just like with doctors, and
dentists, and lawyers, and engineers, a lot of people search by the person’s name. There’s some really long firm names out
there. If someone’s searching for a specific person
or if they’re searching by the person’s specialty, we’ll want to make sure there’s
a biography or bio page for each key team member of the design firm’s team. Even if it was only a one-person business,
we want a page that talks about that person, their credentials, what they do and how they
do it. So, how do people find them? Let’s look at search. Again, we already have a hunch. Since their design services are a bulleted
list, it’s unlikely Google and other search engines value this design firm as an authority
on any of the topics. It’s also pretty unlikely that the firm’s
potential clients who visit the site have a lot of trust and confidence in such an empty
presentation of what these designers do. So let’s try that. If we type out, “interior designer in San
Francisco” what happens, well nothing, because we have to hit enter. Lots of results. Let’s look through page one, nothing so
far, let’s click page two, nothing related to Hayes Valley Interior Design. Now, none of this is unique to interior designers. For any business that provides a service,
the logic is nearly the same. You have areas of focus or specialty, for
law firms it’s practice areas, for doctors it’s specialties or areas of care. For any service provider, there’s the stuff
they do. And it’s usually the biggest thing for people
learning about these businesses. It’s usually what they’re looking at in
order to trust them, and to look at them as an authority on these kinds of topics. You can make a hypothesis like this, without
knowing anything, based on what you as a hypothetical website visitor, your potential client’s
client, is looking for. But, for our interior design firm let’s
assume people search. We can make some assumptions based on some
test searches. And there are services out there that will
actually show you how a particular website ranks for a specific term. Again, there are a lot of variables but our
goal is not going to be to quantify everything and point to any one ranking as an absolute. Instead, we want to get our potential client
here to consider how people are finding them, and what’s in the way of them getting there. That’s the first part of our research. Next is the what happens when they get there
part. And we know the site isn’t built for mobile
devices. We know that because we tested it on iPhone
already, and depending on how thorough we want to be, it might help to take some screenshots
of what it looks like. Whether we’re on mobile or desktop, we’ve
noted their specialties, the services they offer, don’t go into very much detail. We can click around and realize there are
no detailed biographies on the individuals who comprise the firm. There’s no contact form to be found, except
there is, but it looks like it’s at the bottom here. If we’re assuming for a second that this
site exists to get them clients, it means the only obvious way to get in touch is the
phone number on the page. Which, if we check it out on mobile, isn’t
clickable. That’s because it’s an image, and not
actual text. Beyond that, it’s easy to imagine that there
are a ton of clients this firm isn’t getting because not everyone wants to start out by
making a phone call. Maybe people prefer a contact form, or email,
which again is only available at the bottom. That’s what’s happening when people get
to the existing site. How can we help? Well, we can just take that list we made and
turn each existing issue, the challenges they’re facing, and turn those into services we can
offer. We can build them a site that addresses each
and every one of these things, and probably a great deal more. In short, we make recommendations that help
them achieve their goals. Many times this means working with our clients
to get them more clients or more customers. So, our research is complete for each of the
three parts of our proposal. So, let’s move into the proposal itself. And at the core of the proposal is everything
we just did, and there are a thousand ways to do this. We can write them an email, we can build them
a landing page, a microsite, we can send them a slide deck, we can call them and ask for
a meeting. All these things could work, but it’s more
important at this stage to think empathetically. What would you as a business owner want someone
to do with this information. And for our example, we’re going to write
it out first, print it, and politely drop it off at their office. Alternatively we could email it to them, but
it’s a pretty short walk from here to Hayes Valley, and our move rings won’t close themselves. Dear hypothetical, fake business, we looked
closely at the Hayes Valley Interior Design website, and put together some of our observations. The first draft can be brutal, but sometimes
just getting the words out works fine, we can always edit later. Since everything starts with a search, that’s
where we started. When we typed “interior design in San Francisco”,
we couldn’t find you on page one, or page two of Google. Your goal isn’t to always convince the decision-maker,
most of the time it’s the person who reads or throws away the mail, and that includes
emails, brochures. So it’s really important to cut to the chase,
and show them you’re talking about their business. Generic content ends up in the trash. One of the things we noticed when we tried
to load your site on an iPhone, is that it looked like this: this is where that screenshot
becomes helpful. We had to zoom and pan around, and it seemed
to be the same thing you’d see on a desktop or laptop computer, just scrunched down and
difficult to browse. Shameless plug: I do website things. Backspace. I’d love to collaborate with your team to
build a site that represents the quality of your design firm, and would be thrilled at
the opportunity to earn your business. Sincerely, your name here. A proposal to a client really only needs two
results: it needs to convince them there’s a need, and it needs to convince them you
know what you’re talking about enough to help them achieve whatever that need is. We’ll email ours to the OfficeMax down the
street to have it professionally printed. Because we took the time to research, and
communicate that research to our potential client, it gives us a tremendous advantage
over those who might cold call, offer blanket solutions that have nothing to do with the
business we’re after. So, what we’ll do now is– [Stacy] Wait, hold on, they open at 8 o’clock. So, after printing the proposal or emailing
one or mailing it in, how long do we wait? [printing noises] So, how long do we wait
before expecting an answer? [printing noises] Okay, once we get the proposal to the client,
how long do we wait? [printing noises] So, instead of waiting once the proposal goes
out, it’s a good idea – [printing noises] You know, we got better audio at OfficeMax. Well, we printed it out and dropped it off
at their front desk at Hayes Valley. And, instead of waiting once the proposal
is out, we don’t wait. We move on to the next fifty. We don’t stop, and we get faster and more
efficient with each attempt. That’s the proposal. We take our research, we send that over to
our potential client. How first contact occurs varies widely, and
if in your proposal you included a phone number they might call you and – [phone ringing]
Hello? [Sergie] Hey! You filming? [McGuire] Yep. [Sergie] Oh okay. I-I just wanted to know. I had a thing for Bob and Kosmo in the printer
and… [McGuire] Also, they might just email you. That’s pretty common actually. And what we can do is write them back to schedule
an appointment. And it usually goes something like this:
[Rebecca] Dear McGuire, I got the brochure in the mail. [McGuire] They always call it a brochure. [Rebecca] I’m interested in learning some
more. I have a couple of questions, mainly how much
is this going to cost? Can you improve my existing website? [McGuire] Getting the harder questions out
of the way. [Rebecca] Sincerely, Rebecca Tilden, President,
Hayes Valley Interior Design. [McGuire] So, in our reply we-
[Rebecca] [email protected] [McGuire] When we write out our reply, we
can do something like- [Rebecca] 415-555-3870
[McGuire] Dear Rebecca, thanks so much for taking the time to reach out. This is where a lot people want to respond
to the cost part, and the other question. That’s a good way for us to get derailed
because it becomes about price and technology instead of solving a specific need. Looking at your site as we speak. Happy to talk pricing, timing and some of
the other ideas we have regarding Hayes Valley Interior Design. Do you have 20 minutes to hop on a call tomorrow
or Thursday? Sincerely, your name here. [Rebecca] Let’s talk Thursday. How’s 10:30? My contact is in the footer of this email. [McGuire] Sounds great. Talk to you at 10:30. Now, two big notes about this. There are so many different kinds of proposals
we can do. We just showed you one simple example. And, the second note is this: client interactions
don’t always go this way. There are people who won’t budge without
knowing pricing information. Generally, if you feel comfortable doing this,
you can give them a range. Something like, typically we bill between
$3,000 and $10,000 but it depends on the scope of work. The goal is to schedule a meeting or call. One client might ignore you, ten might ignore
you, and that’s okay. Over time, we’re adjusting our strategies
and trying new ways to communicate the following: someone has a need. We’ve identified that. We offer something of value that helps them
achieve this, an area we specialize in. Now, we’ve included different examples of
how this can go, along with the full text, the full back and forth so you can dig in
and adapt any of this to what works best for you. And, up next in the course, we’ll prep for
this meeting and actually go through the client interaction.

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