Proposals & Contracts

Anthony Spallone -

Once you’ve been in contact with one or more potential clients -- a few calls and emails have been exchanged -- you will reach a point where you’ll want to actually put a meeting “on the books” between yourself and the business owner (or someone he or she appoints). Your goal for this scheduled meeting is to walk away with your potential client expecting your proposal, along with a quote or your service fee. In this video, we’ll discuss ways to prepare for this meeting in a way that sets you up to send your proposal - and we’ll briefly touch on contracts. So how will you prepare for this important meeting?
Remember: the purpose of this meeting is to get some more information on what your client needs and wants, so you can send over an informed proposal. First - make sure you confirm a time and location. By this I mean get a meeting on the calendar! Approaching a client for the first time is one thing; getting someone to set aside time for you to present your case is the next step.
During your first or subsequent point of contact - offer to meet at a coffee shop, the business location itself or a co-working space if you have one nearby. Confirm the date and the time of the meeting the day before. Prepare a few questions in advance. Use the notes and insights you gathered from your Online Presence Audit earlier in this class as a reference to gain additional information about what the business is currently doing to promote itself online.
Highlight the benefits of improving their web presence: things like getting more customers, selling products online, and getting discovered in search engines are all good to mention. For more talking points on Creating an Online Presence, check out our class dedicated to this topic! Do more listening than talking. This can be surprisingly difficult for some people! Think of yourself as a web therapist; you’re there to listen to your potential client’s problems, wants and needs. Present the business owner with your credentials.
Tell him or her about your experience and skills. Show them examples of other websites you have made even if they were built as practice for imaginary customers. Offer to connect the business owner with references if you have them. Based on this last conversation, it’s time to go home and think about all your knowledge and information you’ve gathered. Spend a little MORE time reviewing what services would benefit this business, and put together your proposal. For more on Proposals see our class called “Pricing & Proposals” under the BYOB section of WixEd. I’ll explain what I mean by BYOB in the conclusion of this class… In this class, we’re not going to spend too much time on contracts here - just a few key pointers: First, don’t skip the Contract.
It’s very important even if you are working with someone you know. A contract actually helps you avoid disagreements or misunderstandings in the future. Hopefully, you won’t even refer to the contract once it’s written - but having it helps to manage everyone’s expectations by clearly outlining what you’re responsible for delivering, on what timeline and how you’ll be compensated. The contract should include the following: A 30% deposit at the time of signing. This commits both you and the client to the project.
A list of deliverables, or the services you will be providing. A Timeline - stating when each deliverable will be….um...delivered And a list of what content or materials you will need from the client. For instance, if they’re responsible for providing their own images or writing their own website copy, mention those responsibilities in the contract. Be ready to negotiate your price, but think carefully about how much. For your first few clients, you might want to prioritize closing the deal and getting the job over maximizing your earnings. As you gain more experience you can increase your rate.
It’s common to underprice your work a bit in the beginning, and you’ll learn as you go how to value your work. Again, see our Pricing & Proposals class in the BYOB series. You heard me - I said BYOB. I’m not referring to a frat party...I’m referring to Becoming Your Own Boss! I’ll explain in the recap of this class what I’m talking about. But first, let’s talk about that 4th method of finding clients I mentioned earlier...Getting Referrals!
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