PNW Drupal Summit Session: Close More Deals

In this session, Anne Stefanyk from Drupal Connect went over effective strategies for finding new leads, pitching them, and successfully landing new clients. Read on for some key takeaways.

Initial Contact with a Potential Client

  • Listen first. Let the client keep talking and they’ll give you the info needed for a tailored pitch.
  • Smile while talking on the phone – it makes a difference!
  • If you get an inquiry, be quick to respond and make it a phone call. You’ll gain an edge over the competition.
  • Your potential customers may not know Drupal, modules, CMS, other common terms. All they will know is that they need a website and what they need it for.
  • No budget talk on the first call from your side (you don't want to set unrealistic expectations without getting the full picture and project scope), but DO get a sense for the client’s budget range.
  • If a client’s budget range is far below your minimum, consider helping them into a phased approach (start them out with Drupal Gardens, etc.)

Where Do You Find Work & Client Leads?

  • Your clients – They will refer you if you do a good job. If you pitch someone and they don’t become a client, they may still refer you other leads.
  • Your website – Don’t be afraid to have a niche and focus on it. It’s hard to do everything unless you’re a huge shop.
  • Networking – Events, business groups, conferences, etc.
  • Have an effective business card. Big names are good. Provide a call to action on the card (free estimate, usability audit, etc.)
  • Unless you’re a big agency, RFPs are rarely worth the effort. Make sure it’s strategic and aligned with your core work and worth your time (i.e. bigger project)
  • Drupal.org and other online resources are a great place to find work for independent Drupal contractors, etc. Take the time to call rather than email to close more business from online resources.
  • Cold calling can be very effective, but make sure it’s strategic. Web teams at Universities and other verticals that tend to use Drupal are good places to start.

Getting Clients in the Door

  • Give the client small steps to get started. If a $100K budget is scary, start with a small phase 1.
  • A free dev review for a potential support client can help you gain the clients trust, estimate projects effectively after you see their code, and even upsell into full website rebuilds, etc.
  • Feel out what kind of proposal a client would like. Do they prefer a simple number and list of features, detailed estimates for each feature, or perhaps they need a fixed bid
  • Just like a cover letter for a job application, tailor the wording in your proposal to match the terminology used in the client's requests.
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