For a web design company, closing a deal with a new prospect can be a challenge. A relationship can start off smoothly, but when the time comes for a decision, a potential client may hesitate. Why?
Why would a client refuse to close on a business deal? A lack of clarity in the relationship. Sale tactics are nothing without trust. In this blog, I outline the simple, transparent process IT Hands follows when establishing a relationship and closing a deal.
Gaining a prospective client’s trust is done through honesty, integrity, and clear communication. With that in mind, you need the right people in your business development team, the right strategy in establishing the relationship, and the right method of communication.
The Right Team
Having a group of people with clearly-defined roles makes for a precise process of outlining and closing a deal. We have the following roles within our business development team:
Introducer: Looks for people who would potentially be a good client
Business Development Manager (“Hunter”): Meets with potential clients and wins business. This person tends to be an extrovert, an outgoing personality, who is very confident in front of others.
Relationship Manager (“Farmer”): Also known as the Account Manager, this person is your steady, relationship and service-oriented sales person.
Solutions Consultant: Gathers and reviews the business needs. If well organized, this member of the team will make the process a smooth one
Solutions Architect: Reviews the requirements in detail and consults/recommends the best technical solution for helping the client’s business needs.
Proposal Coordinator: Documents the proposal and oversees the organization of the proposal process, keeping all contributors on task.
When communicating with a potential client make your intentions clear.
- Write down the client’s objectives. This will help you understand your audience, their timeline and project budget.
- Reiterate your understanding of the project. That way, when prospects look at your review they can easily understand what you’re thinking.
- Write down what you hear the client say, and give them the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding.
- Send questions via email to prospects. In some cases, meet to discuss questions as well. We might have 1-2 calls with the prospects before presenting them the proposal.
- Use interactive visuals and flow diagrams that help prospects understand exactly what they are committing to.
- In the end, ask them to come back if they have any further questions.
A Proven Process
To begin with, we have clients fill out a questionnaire. This helps end clients provide as much as information as they can for their project requirements, and may even highlight points in the project that they had not considered.
We have the following questionnaire for our services. Download them, if it will help you.
- Web Design Questionnaire (WDQ)
- Mobile App Questionnaires (MAQ)
- Internet Marketing Questionnaire (IMQ)
The goal of our initial meeting with the prospective client is to go deeper. We introduce ourselves. We ask the client more about their business. We get more specifics about project requirements. In this meeting, we also give the client a deeper understanding of our process in projects. We describe how we work with Agile and Scrum.
In summary, the initial meeting focuses on the following:
- Get to know each other
- Introduce all IT Hands services
- Introduce working methodologies (Primarily Agile/Scrum)
- Review business objectives and the specifics of the project
By the end of the meeting, we make sure we have enough to review with our development team.
Review & Analysis
After the prospect has filled out a questionnaire, met us and defined specific project goals, we start the review and analysis process based on the information from that first meeting.
Now is when we clearly define a task breakdown and process flow, giving straightforward facts and asking direct questions. If the client wants a content heavy website, then usually we do not have many questions. But if it is a custom functional app, we go ahead and create a process flow diagram to show various integrations and user types. While defining the flow, we might come with a few questions and list them out for the client to review.
Once all our questions have been answered and we have a good understanding of the flow of the project, it’s time to work on proposal documents. IT Hands has developed a Google Slide presentation format to deliver proposals to prospects.
Our proposal clearly defines our project management approach – Agile methodology. We customize each proposal to fit the client’s brand and project goals. Usually, our proposal has these sections:
- Introduction to Business
- Agile Methodology and Team Structure
- Technologies to be Used
- Solution Approach
- Process Flow Diagrams
- Project Plan (Sprint Cycles)
- Environments and Code Repository (Dev/Staging/Production, Git, etc.)
- Acceptance Page (This page needs to be signed to finish closing a deal)
We put all of above information in the Google Slides document, and once completed, we review it with our business development team.
We consult prospects on the solutions and the technology approach. We explain why a specific solution has been selected and how it will help them translate their business into technology.
After all the hard work is done to develop a clearly-defined proposal, it’s time to present it.
The Relationship Manager sends an invite to the prospects for the meeting and schedules it on their calendar. Right before the meeting, we send a PDF version of the proposal to the prospect. Within our meeting, we go through all the pages of PDF and review with the prospect.
We describe the Agile methodology and Scrum process along with the team structure for the project. We talk about the project plan, and how sprints will help with the successful delivery of the project. We review the investment and explain our transparent billing process, which helps them understand that there is complete transparency throughout the project for the billable hours and the completed tasks. Often the key to closing a deal is to ask a simple question of the prospect of “When should we start?”
After delivering the proposal sometimes prospects sign the documents immediately; therefore closing a deal. Other times we plan a follow-up meeting to discuss further questions. IT Hands has a defined process for follow up with prospects, which helps us keep organized. We use a CRM “PipeDrive” to manage prospects.
When it comes to closing a deal, the most important part is clear communication and a predictable process that will make a client feel safe in entrusting you their business and latest technology project. Do you have an interest in understanding our proposal process further? Or are you considering your options for an IT project? Contact us at email@example.com
IT Hands has been providing quality, custom web development services for over a decade to web companies and ad agencies. We are an agile web development company taking advantage of a globally dispersed team to deliver excellent results. Over 350 clients have been thrilled by the consultation, competency, increased capacity and cost effectiveness that IT Hands brings to every project.