Simple Ways to Win Over Web Design Clients

Small gestures that go a long way towards building great relationships

People shaking hands in a business meeting
Building strong client relationships.

If you are a web designer working with a client for the first time, building a strong relationship should be near the top of your list of priorities.

While there are obvious things you must do to build that long-term relationship (like being honest, delivering on your promises, and producing great work), there are also some small ways that you can win those clients over right from the start. Here are 4 simple things that I have found to pay big dividends when it comes to getting started on the right foot with new web design clients.

Solve a Pain Point

During a project’s kickoff meeting, one of the questions I always ask is “what would you change today on your website if you could?” The answer to this question is gold as it reveals an important pain point for this client. Whatever else you do, be sure to address this pain point in whatever solution you deliver in a design presentation.

When a client reviews their potential new website design and they see their pain point addressed effectively, they immediately think a few things:

  1. “This new site will solve my problem!”
  2. “This designer listened to me and understood my needs.”

These are very positive things for that client to be feeling towards that new design and you as the person they choose to work with for this project – and since a design review happens near the beginning of a project’s timeline, this gets the relationship started right from this very early stage.

Exceed Expectations When it Comes to Communication

The most common complaint I hear from potential new clients when I ask them why they are looking for a new provider, as opposed to working with a previous web designer, is that their other designer was too difficult to get ahold of or that they were simply unresponsive to questions or requests from that client.

By being incredibly responsive to this client right from the get-go, you work to dispel any fear they have that working with you will be frustrating from a communication perspective.

Exceeding client expectations for communication can be very challenging. Many clients anticipate that the people they work with to be always available via phone, text, or email and they expect almost immediate replies to their messages.

This may sound difficult, and it can be, but that is why it is so impressive when you can meet these lofty expectations.

When I get emails from clients, I do my best to respond to them as quickly as possible. If I am unable to reply with a detailed message, I will often just shoot back a quick acknowledgment email to let that client know that I received their message and will be back in touch soon. This small habit has paid off big over the years, as I am routinely told by clients that they appreciate how quickly I get back to them and answer their questions.

Show Them You Will Not Waste Their Time

Everyone is busy and a website redesign project can beinterestedvery time-consuming endeavor. This is why many companies put off a much-needed redesign until they have more time to commit to that project. Even when they do decide to proceed with a project, these clients are often very protective of their time. This is why a simple gesture to show them you will not waste that time can be so impactful.

Early in the process of a website’s creation, I always deliver what I call the project’s “discovery documents” for my client’s review and approval. These documents include a creative brief, sitemap, and timeline for the project and each of them includes a signature line at the bottom of each page for that client’s approval.

When I send out these documents, I let my client know that I don’t actually need them to print and sign the paper, scan it in, and fax it back to me. Instead, I tell them that a simple email telling me that they are approved will suffice. I have been doing this for close to 7 years now and not even once have I had an issue that made me wish I would’ve gotten a signature. What I have received are delighted clients who appreciate that I am not interesting in making them jump through hoops for the sake of process alone.

Share Your Appreciation

It is amazing what a simple “thank you” will do for a relationship. After I close a deal with a new client, I routinely send them a little token of my appreciation that they chose to work with me and my company. This could be a small basket of cookies or chocolates, but even just a greeting card works wonders, in large part because it is so unexpected.

So many companies and vendors are so focused on closing the next deal and starting the next partnership that they fail to step back and truly show appreciation for a new relationship that has just begun. Sending a thank you note or welcome letter is a great way to make someone smile and start the engagement off on a positive note.

In Closing

As simple as the items covered in this article may sound, these small gestures have been very effective for me over the years, and I expect they will work great for you as well. Just remember that these practices do not replace the need to do great work for the clients who hire you.

Be prepared to produce great design and development work, but also think about the relationship as a whole and get it started on the right note from Day 1.