We're a team of designers and developers, who make their living creating digital products. Before we can do that, we need clients to hire us. The following section details how our sales process works and answers commonly asked questions by potential clients.
The overall process is:
- Someone contacts us.
- We have a phone call or have them come into the office.
- Qualify/disqualify: are we a good fit for the client?
- Qualify/disqualify: is the client a good fit for us?
- Understand the client's vision.
- Agree to the outcomes we're trying to achieve.
- Send project proposal.
- Sign the contract.
- Receive a deposit.
- Schedule team for project.
- Begin work.
Most new prospective clients content us via email, either from a recommendation or from seeing other projects we've done. If we think the project and client are a good fit, we'll scheudle a call or meeting.
Some key questions that we’ll discuss:
1) Find out why.
Why did the client contact us — why do they feel that we would be a good match?
2) Discover their vision.
Gauge technical expertise and level of expectations. Do they sound focused and knowledgeable about their goals and business? If not, do they have the availibity to hash our their goals through a discovery peroid? We want to be sure we dont get mixed up in a aimless project.
3) Understand a little more about their requirements.
This is not a deep scoping session, yet, but we’ll likely need to fill in a few gaps in our knowledge and understand a little more about the work that’s required. This will help us to understand the team that’ll be needed for the project.
4) Discover their level of commitment.
Who will we be working with—who will be the product owner at the client’s end?
5) Sound out their budget.
We knoew not all clients know exactly how much this will cost. But we're very cautious about projects that have budget expectations that are vastly out of sync with what’s required for the project to succeed. Squeezed budgets don’t allow the time and thought to deliver great results, and we need to make sure we don’t put ourselves in a position where the client might be left unhappy at the end of the project.
6) Discuss a very loose timeline.
Ahead of the call, the team will check out our upcoming project schedule to see what our availability is. But we won’t commit to a project deadline or set schedule on the call, because this will need to be discussed with the rest of the team beforehand.
We usually do not commit to specific dates in early calls, so that the client isn’t disappointed when these dates are investigated more deeply and turn out to not be achievable.
It’s important that we know our client’s budget. Buying design or development, just like buying a car, is a financial transaction. In fact, one of the first questions we ask prospective clients is about their budget. This question tends to make people uncomfortable, but their budget helps determine what scope is possible. Most of all, that number tells us how to guide the client toward the best solution from the beginning, and to stay away from solutions that are outside of their price range.
Not everyone knows what their budget is and that’s ok. It just means we’ll discuss a few options. Some below your price range, some above. Often, we talk about breaking a project rollout, and thus payments, into stages by focusing on smaller subsets of features.
We price projects based on time. Usually this is calculated hourly or weekly. We use the same rate for designers and developers. The work required for a project dictates the number of people and amount of time, which then determines the cost and how quickly things get done.
We try to keep contracts simple. The aim of our contracts are to outlien what we're going to make, how much we're going to charge and who will do what.
A highlevel outline of our project contract would be:
- A one-page summary of the expected work.
- A summary of our rates.
- Payment terms.
- Agreement that the client owns all paid work.
- Agreement that both parties won't use materials which break someone else's copyright.
- Agreement that both parties won't publish things to the web hosting provider which are abusive or unethical.
- A page for signatures.
All our projects are scheduled into weekly blocks. Since keeping our project workload and team avaliblilbe fairly insync is key to us staying in business, we often can not start a project immeditely. Before booking a project into our team schedule, we will send an upfront invoice for the initial deposit. This is the only invoice we send which is not on net-7 payment terms—rather, it is due upon reciept.
During discussions with the client up to this point, we’ll give them approximate estimates for when the project might be able to be scheduled. However, no dates are fixed until we have a signed contract and the deposit invoice has been paid.