This is outdated but still valuable as a starting point.
After receiving an inquiry, request a phone call with the client to get a sense of the project. Even if they have provided good information by email, push for a call because it will give you the opportunity to connect personally with the client and develop a rapport. We very rarely win business without that connection. Trust is the most important factor in sales.
Projects should have a flat rate budget and a well-defined scope that is clear to all parties (our people, their people). In order to not take too much time on leads who are not serious, this scoping process should be iterative.
After the initial call, do your research to come up with a loose sense of budget. Find the high range of what you think the project might cost, and create a loose bullet-point scope:
We have conducted an initial review of the requirements for your project and are anticipating the following scope:
- Create beautiful homepage showcasing 8-12 photos
- Create store section which allows users to do X, Y, and Z
- Implement new email template design for newsletters in mailchimp
Provide a sense of price for the project:
Based on this early understanding of the project, our initial sense is that the project will cost somewhere in the $10,000 range. As we explore further, we will nail down a specific fixed price with a more detailed scope. Thanks again for thinking of us.
TK: How to estimate the project (Spreadsheet method)
Often for smaller projects, scopes can take a bit of time to assemble. It’s quite helpful to check in with your lead frequently to let them know you are reviewing certain specific things at that time and when to expect a quote. The longer they don’t hear from you, the more likely they are to seek and find someone else to do the project (this has happened). Even if you email the lead daily, and even if they receive your quote later that day, no lead ever has complained about getting too many updates. In fact, since you can point to specific things you are reviewing, it helps them understand that our pricing does not come out of a hat but is researched carefully and that we have understood and considered the specific details of their project.
“Hi, Dr. Spaceman!
Thanks so much for your time the other day. I just wanted to see if you’ve had a moment to review our quote and if I could answer any questions.”If the client responds enthusiastically, proceed as planned. If the client differs with your assessment of scope or reacts badly to the budget, adjust accordingly within reason. This is the point where 50-75% of leads die. That’s OK. We are only looking for Cantilever projects, not every project.
If the client is aligned with your vision, you will create a final proposal. This is not a nuts-and-bolts scope yet, but should include the plain-english version of everything you intend to do. Sample proposals can be found in the proposals directory in Drive.Your proposal will contain the final fixed price for the project. Since you smartly quoted the high end of your initial assessment, you will typically end up providing a cheaper quote for the final proposal. This looks good.If your proposal is accepted, you will create a SOW and a Master service Agreement with the client, if they have none. Legal is in charge of this process, but as the sales person, you will outline the scope for them. The scope will contain details like browser support, warrantee, methods of doing work, specific nuts-and-bolts development tasks, payment and schedule details, etc.
If ever a question arises during the project or someone feels they have been unfairly treated, the scope is the document that matters. Don’t rush it. Scopes should be incredibly clear and detailed for everyone’s sake.
Legal will send the paperwork to the client. Once signed, we’re off!
New Clients needing Support
Initiate the Initial Conversation about Onboarding.
You'll want to let them know what our typical onboarding process looks like:
- Interview with them to get relevant information about their site and their platforms.
- We may want to move your hosting to Digital Ocean, and consolidate other services you have have set up already.
- We will need about 10-30 hours to complete onboarding.
- This includes Creating documentation, setting up local and staging environments, Upgrading site to most relevant version (if applicable), consolidating/moving hosting, conduct initial security and performance audits of the site.
- We need to let them know the timeline for the onboarding process and run this step by step like any other project. We'll want to stick to the schedule tightly since this will be their first interaction with our work.
Conduct onboarding Interview with the client.
The first thing you'll want to do is to understand what the clients needs are. Generally we like to understand the following:
- What type of site do you have?
- Where is your site hosted?
- Do you use any third party platforms (plugins, contact forms, maps) that we should be aware of?
- Do you have credentials for those platforms?
- Do you have any site documentation?
- Who should be looped in on regular communication?
- Who should receive invoices?
- What are your top priorities for the site?
- Ensure the client knows that unless there is something really urgent to fix, we will run onboarding first and then begin their list of fixes/updates.
Gather relevant 1password credentials and share them with team members and client.
One key element of onboarding a new support client is getting all of their relevant credentials into 1Password. Sometimes this requires that we switch them to different hosting, or consolidate things for them to make it easier. Generally we like to move our clients to Digital Ocean.
Create a SOW for the client.
It's important to have a SOW in place before we do any work for them. This helps us keep the lights on and paying our great team members for the work they do. Plus it keeps things above board legally so there aren't any payment issues.
You can find the SOW template to work off here.