Pitching the Internet
What’s your pitch? Every job starts with one. It may have been a simple “I can do that for you” or a lengthy discussion leading to a proposal, but something is done that convinces a client to work with you. But are you leaving out the an important part? Every web designer can pitch a price and service, but how many take the time to pitch the Internet itself?
Photo by altemark via Flickr.
This will be good for you
“Welcome to the Internet! It’s a big place. Take a look around. There’s room available if you’d like! Contact our sales representatives for more information”
In order to sell something, you need to make sure the prospective client realizes they need it.
Don’t assume that a potential client realizes the full benefits of a website. They may need some education. In my experience most clients will have a grasp on the key concepts, but it is up to you to clear up any misconceptions and fill the gaps.
The one-two pitch
Don’t make the mistake of only offering your services. Promote the internet too! If your pitch only revolves around the ability to beat out other in price or deliverables, take a step back to evaluate. Not everyone looking for websites is completely sold on the idea.
If a client is in the exploratory stage and finds that none of the web designers they spoke with are motivating them, the project make just be shelved indefinitely. Just because a client is looking for a website, it doesn’t mean they will always end up getting one.
I like to tell clients that a good website will work for them. Frequently asked questions will reduce the number of repetitive calls. Download-able forms will make it easier for their customers to fill out paperwork. Neither of those features are specific to my ability as a designer. It doesn’t matter if the features seem relatively basic and unoriginal in essence. You’re showing them how the internet can make their business better, and giving them a glimpse into your ideas on web design in the process.
The side effect of pitching both yourself and the benefits of owning a website? You can easily end up making yourself look better. Getting a prospective client to say “I never thought of that before…” or “I didn’t even know that was an option…” is brilliant for a successful pitch. You’re offering them solutions to problems they have not yet considered. You’re establishing yourself as an expert, and the enthusiasm you show can boost the client’s resolve to move forward.
It’s a great bandwagon to be on
Throwing acronyms around of web language you’re fluent in is easy. It may sound impressive, but the ability to explain the basics will be most appreciated by the client.
The Internet is more than a novelty. It’s become a tool instead of hobbyist material. Do you make sure the client realizes this?
I’ve met clients who want websites simply because it’s something they feel is necessary. They don’t have any goals or vision for their site, simply that it exists. Peer pressure to join the internet. “We have a website!” is one thing. “We have a website where you can do the following…” is quite another.
A roadside analogy
The internet is a billboard for the world. How often can you spend under $100 a month for potential worldwide exposure? I use this advertising analogy to help clients realize the true value of their investment:
A billboard on the highway advertises for a month at a time. In this time the advertising will only be displayed to those people speeding down the highway. This type of exposure can cost an upwards of $2000 per month. For a month long campaign in the local newspaper, a company can expect to spend about the same amount.
When you’re looking to buy something, is your first instinct to drive down the highway or dig through old newspapers? Probably not. Chances are you’ll go to Google and strike up a search.
A website is an initial investment without an expiration date. It is not limited by the position on a street, or the length of time a newspaper is held on to. Its audience is anyone with an internet connection and a need. A $30/month server fee for a market of millions sure beats the pants off of a one month exposure to morning commuters.
Try this analogy out sometime. You’ll be surprised how many clients are yet to look at websites like this. It is their web real estate. Their virtual business representation. It amazes me when clients write off their website as inconsequential to their continued success. With a good pitch, you’ll have them considering it a priority.
What’s your experience?
Put your personal services aside for a moment. How do you pitch the internet? Have any techniques or analogies that have given good results? Share some in the comments.