How to Best Negotiate Your Web Design Ideas with Challenging Clients
Designers often stumble and fumble when communicating design ideas or proposals with clients. You’ve probably found yourself in a similar position at some stage of your career. You have a great concept that you know can work wonderfully for your client’s needs. Yet, maybe the client is asking you to provide a concept you don’t believe in or to meet a price point that restricts the value you can bring.
You may have to up your persuasion skills to meet the needs of some clients by convincing them of your vision. Here are some crucial steps in negotiating your web design ideas with challenging clients.
Clients are not typically familiar with the finer points of design. Your client is likely more interested in the final results. The best sales negotiation training experts advise designers to use layman terms when discussing their designs.
It also pays to focus on how your design can attract customers or boost sales. Instead of selling the client on color palettes or image resolutions, tell your client about conversion rates and bounce rates.
Pay keen attention to the words the client uses. Repeat back what you hear to clarify goals and instructions.
Some clients may be worried about your prices, while others may be more concerned about project timelines. Try and anticipate what matters most to your clients. Communicate how your service can solve their foremost concerns.
Once you have a draft of your design concept, take a fresh look through a layman’s perspective.
A few of the many questions you can ask your client include:
- What customer experience are you hoping to achieve?
- What results are you hoping to achieve?
- Are there any images you want to include?
- Do you want a focus on user sign-ups?
Be sure to consider what questions to ask particular to the client’s requirements.
When you can anticipate client needs, you influence your client’s decision-making process. You then stand a much better chance of successfully selling your design concept.
For client concerns that you may not readily anticipate, use meetings to gain clarity on client needs. A key sales negotiation technique is to ask guided questions. Asking your client questions on design and expected results helps you and the client visualize the final product.
In your sales negotiations, asking questions communicates that you care about the client’s issues and have invested in giving their needs prior thought. The response you receive guides you on how you present your draft and final copy.
Since your client is likely interested in results, show how your concept can work to achieve those results. How have similar concepts worked for other clients?
- Are there any metrics to gauge results?
- Can you show how a similar design resulted in increased business for former clients?
- Do you have client testimonials that express how well your idea performed for their website?
If your client has doubts, it’s probably because they are concerned about risks. Your client may be wondering if the design justifies the expenditure. Maybe the client is worried about how your idea fits in with the client’s brand image, for example.
Address the client’s concerns by offering incentives. Sales negotiation training guides designers to agree on a contingency plan in case the client is unsure of the final design. For instance, you can offer three months of support for design-related complications that may arise after the website goes live.
Sales negotiations involve some give and take. Your client may want to negotiate on the price by asking for a few cuts on the design. Lowering your service offering or standards may affect results.
Avoid compromising on deliverables that may lower the chances of achieving your client’s goals. If the client insists on cheaper work that you feel may not deliver results, consider passing up the opportunity. A failed design idea will likely be blamed on the designer—even when it was the client’s preference.
Negotiation trainers guide designers on creating their best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). A BATNA makes it possible to walk away from a sour deal without losing value. So work to fill up your sales pipeline with more prospective clients or more repeat business from existing clients.
With tiered pricing, the designer offers a self-service option in addition to the full-service product. Some sales training best practices involve creating tiered packages without compromising quality.
For instance, if the client objects to your price, consider, for example, creating the design but leaving support up to the client. During sales negotiation, leave the option for the client to later pay a retainer for support services.
Tiered pricing gives the client the extra advantage of using an in-house team for continuing services. The client can further customize your design with someone more familiar with the client’s business.
Another example would be to set up the client’s WordPress website but let the client handle CSS and HTML management. Tiered pricing offers the option of a less labor-intensive product for the designer and lower expenses for the client.
A skilled content creator and editor, Mary Howard’s easy-reading, approachable pieces help bring important skillbuilding content from the best sales negotiation training to new audiences in an accessible way.