A little while back, I was chatting with one of my coaching students who was struggling to refine her process for onboarding new clients. As a result, with each new client she worked with, she was struggled to set their design project up for success.
This talented designer was running into endless rounds of questions from her clients, missed timelines, and even consistent rounds of revisions as she and her clients would go back and forth trying to figure out the best way to finalize the concept in order to move forward.
And although those struggles are common in the design industry, I don’t believe that kind of back and forth and anxiety-inducing client relationships has to be the norm.
Friend, I’ve discovered a few easy-to-follow, actionable ways you can create a system that sets every design project up for success from the get-go. And today, that’s exactly what I want to share with you! As a fellow brand designer and strategist, I want to see you booking your dream clients and doing your best work, and I want to see you do it all in a way that is purposeful, profitable, and (most of all) sustainable.
3 tips to set every design project up for success
Friend, a huge part of booking your dream clients comes from creating systems that you can replicate and use from one client project to the next. Having the proper systems in place will allow you to gather all the needed information, set expectations, and create an approach that will serve you and your clients well for months (and even years!) to come.
Not sure where to start with creating systems like this? It all begins with these three simple steps…
#1: USE YOUR WEBSITE AS AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE
Your website can (and should!) be used a primary educational experience for potential leads. This should be the place where people can learn more about you and your work, as well as what to expect if they choose to hire you.
Moreover, your website provides an amazing opportunity to introduce potential clients to the heart of your brand. Educate them about how your process is different and how you can serve them best; give a start-to-finish overview of what it’s like to work with you; provide instructions on how to move forward; and so on.
Including educational touch points on your website can help give your clients all the information they need in order to make an informed decision about working with you. For example, let’s say you’re finding that the majority of potential clients you speak to feel a sense of sticker-shock when you share your rates with them. The solution? Include an investment line on your services page. Share a starting price point, as well as the average investment your clients pay. This will help your leads determine whether or not they can afford you, how much they should be budgeting for you, and approximately what to expect when they receive a custom proposal from you… all before you even get connected.
Now, let’s say you’re consistently getting inquiries from people who do not understand the value of your services. There’s an opportunity to create a blog post or FAQ section outlining the benefits and value of your specific offers!
Yes, your website is a powerful way to drive inquiries. But more importantly, it should be a powerful way to drive qualified inquiries. So, friend, make life easier on yourself by using your website to its full advantage.
#2: USE YOUR SALES CALLS TO PROACTIVELY EDUCATE YOUR LEADS
If you’re a professional designer and you’re NOT hopping on design calls with potential clients, then I hate to tell you, but you’re missing out.
As an introvert, I resisted the sales call for years. I get how you feel! I preferred to do everything via email for the longest time.
But I found that, if I wanted to increase my rates and uplevel my process, I needed to invite my clients into an elevated, high-end experience. To me, this meant allowing them to feel emotionally connected to me. And in order to do that, I had to create touch points that would inspire a true relationship—which is nearly impossible to do through emails.
So I introduced phone and video calls as a part of my process, and I saw true transformation in the kinds of inquiries I was getting. And even moreover, my booking rates went through the roof.
Now, this is a longer conversation for another day… but if you’re hopping on sales calls with potential clients, you have an opportunity to strategically educate them on your process.
I utilize my sales calls to proactively educate potential clients on my signature brand strategy process, my availability, the level of investment they can expect in a more detailed way, and the average turnaround time based on the type of project they’re needing.
This is also a great time to show how I’m different than other designers by highlighting my signature strategy process. By doing this, my potential clients understand that, when they choose to work with me, they aren’t just getting a set of beautiful visuals, but a strategy that’s tailor-made to empower them to hit their goals. If they’re inquiring with other designers at the same time, this differentiator is sure to set my services apart.
#3: ONBOARD YOUR CLIENTS WITH INTENTION
My third and final tip is to set your design project up for success by onboard your clients strategically and intentionally.
So much energy goes into generating and guiding leads through your sales call process. I get that. But someone hitting accept on a proposal and paying their retainer does NOT mean you’re done setting up their project—in fact, this is arguably one of the most important parts of the set-up process!
It’s crucial to spring right into action as you guide this brand new client through an intentional onboarding process. Be sure to answer any questions they might have before they even arise. How can you do that? Create a list of FAQs and be sure to address them when your client first signs on to work with you! Help prepare them for the work you will do together by outlining what you expect of them.
I see a lot of designers struggling to experience the full benefit of client onboarding, often because it can be overwhelming. But my business is proof that onboarding your clients through a clear and proven process does not have to be overwhelming, and certainly does not have to feel like a process of trial and error!
Learn how to make every design project a success in this free masterclass!
Friend, are you ready to set every design project up for success, but are feeling the weight of trying to stand out in a crowded industry? Are you consistently find yourself wrestling to connect with your ideal clients, wishing there was a better way?
If so, then I’ve got a FREE masterclass just for you!
This quick, hour-long, Netflix-style training is all about how to triple your income as a designer WITHOUT taking on more clients or adding any more to your already-overflowing plate!
After tuning into this training, you’ll be able to:
- Charge more for your services so you can experience consistent income without working crazy hours or taking on hundreds of clients
- Kick imposter syndrome to the curb and position yourself as the expert your branding clients are searching for
- Get out in front of your ideal clients without hustling to be seen online
I can’t wait to see you there! ❤️