Offering Website Tips:
Many many many…years back, I worked in retail. Levi’s 1850 in fact. Fairview mall in Pointe Claire, Montreal. It was awesome. Because we were an actual Levi’s store, the price of our jeans were always slights higher than the anchor/department stores. However our shop, because it was boutique, had friendly and knowledgeable staff. We knew everything about the each jean. You’ve got your 550′s, your 532′s… red tab, orange tab…we were always learning something new about each model, we’d have quarterly meetings about the products blah blah. You get the idea. At our shop you paid a bit more, but you got exactly what you wanted and learned a thing or two in the process. Every once in a while, someone would come in, try on 10 pairs of jeans, waste a good 30-45 minutes of your commission based time only no to buy anything. They thank you, and leave you with a pile of c*ap to clean up. An hour or so later, you’d see them walking through the mall with a department store bag in their hand and what do you know, a nice new pair of jeans. They try the jeans on in your store, waste your time, then go to the department store, they now what they are looking for and can get their product for $20 cheaper. Kudos to them.
Fast forward 2014…client calls asking for a new website and layout. You run the drill; you look at their site, drive through it, offer them a few points based on what you have seen, then let them know you are up for the task. Sharing a few immediate ideas about their website simply helps to illustrate your knowledge and also helps make the client feel confident in their decision about calling in the first place. You can’t not tell the client anything. That’s like being a job interviewee and telling the interviewer that you have 5 proven methods to increase sales, but will only tell him, once he’s hired. The question is, how much do you tell a client? How many ideas do you spit out in knee jerk reaction to their 1997 website? You give them a few basic ones, obvious ones. If the site looks like it was built during the Clinton era, there should be enough obvious issues with the site that you can easily share with the client.
Today, I’m going through my list of perspective clients, doing my diligence, emailing, following up, the lot. I check out the website of a client (to get his phone number) and wouldn’t you know it, he had implemented the ideas I gave to him over the phone. He had someone else do it. He took my ideas and either paid someone to implement them, or by the looks of it, he did them himself. That’s the risk you run. So when a client calls, always lend some general ideas, statements like “yes we can provide a more effective layout, tighten up the fonts a bit, format the images a little better…” can go a long way. General points as opposed to specifics. After you go through the general run through of the site, let the client know you will email them a quote. Once you get paid your down payment, then feel free to go to town with ideas. Share everything with your client, get their feedback, offer the pros and cons whenever and wherever possible. Go through a full discovery phase, but don’t offer up all your secrets until you get fair payment. It may come easy, looking at a website and identifying all the blocks, but you’ve been doing this for 15 years. So remember, if something takes 5 minutes, it’s because it took you 15 years.