Putting dust in the eye or how to get more development orders

    Most companies and freelancers have their own vision of how to attract customers and convert them into customers. Some do it well, some worse, but for many this is a problem, even if they themselves do not suspect about it.

    If with a modern website, a representative portfolio and market rates, the percentage of orders you have remains relatively low, then with a high degree of probability the reason is in the wrong process of initial communication. How to make it more efficient? This will be discussed under the cut.

    Today I want to share with you a set of simple tricks that contribute to the accelerated conversion of a client into a customer. It’s not God knows what kind of “kung fu” is, but as practice shows, it can be useful to voice these obvious tricks.

    Tell us about yourself. Over the past 8 years, I have been on both sides of the barricades, both from the corporate customer and from the developer company. Now I am working on software projects in one of the largest content aggregators in Russia. By the nature of his activity, he has to constantly interact with Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian developers, as well as periodically seek partners for new projects. We can say that the list below is the quintessence of "sore".


    The text below is solely my personal opinion, which may seem debatable to you. This is not an attempt to comb everyone under one stroke or formulate fundamental rules, it is rather a reflection of previous experience.


    Immediately skip the part where it is said that your site should be attractive, modern, have an understandable structure, not be overloaded with graphics / texts, etc.

    It is extremely ungrateful to give advice on the structure of the site on Habré, but there are a number of points that the potential client pays special attention to:

    1. Contact information . It should be visible and easily accessible on all pages of the site. Strange, but sometimes this basic rule is not respected.
    2. Give up feedback forms . The form is not suitable for initial communication. On the contrary, it repels, demonstrates your closeness, opacity and desire to establish its rules from the very beginning.
    3. Moscow city number . Play on stereotypes, rent a Moscow city number. To do this is elementary with the help of numerous SIP-operators. Even if you are a regional company, then a trick with a number can play into your hands. There is a category of potential customers who prefer to work with Moscow and St. Petersburg. If your site isn’t scared off and you have the magic code “+7 (495)” or “+7 (499)”, then the probability of contact increases.
    4. Portfolio needed . I think it’s not worth explaining that portfolio is your capital. Under what rigid NDA you would not work, always insist on the right to specify projects in a portfolio. IS ALWAYS. Be flexible, cunning, but try to drag this item into the contract. Remember, the mention of at least one project for a large, well-known customer will increase the flow of potential customers.
    5. Relevance . Nobody is interested in your projects 4-5 years ago. At best, they are ignored, but they can work against you. A potential client can take the old project for a new one and draw incorrect, far-reaching conclusions about the qualifications of your employees.
    6. Archive of works . Even if your portfolio is presented on the site in the best possible way, and the potential client wants to see it, in no case send it to the site. The phrase: “we have a portfolio on the site” sounds like a slap in the face and disinterest. So always be ready to send the archive with your best works on demand.
    7. Cases are better than portfolio . Portfolio is necessary, but cases are better. I would say that one well-described case costs 5-6 works in a regular portfolio.
      Make full descriptions of projects you are proud of. A potential client will be interested to see: what was the task, how did you look for a solution, how was the development going, what was the result and what profit did the customer receive.
      Outlines, schemes, photographs, rejected design layout options - all this will add a lot of points and tell potential customers more about your team than the boring presentation “How we work” with slurred infographics about another agile methodology.
    8. Photos of employees . We all enjoy communicating with real people, not email. Post photos of employees with whom you will communicate with a potential client, this will add humanity to your company.
    9. Happiness in numbers . It is reliably known that 86% of people trust statistics taken from the ceiling;) If you say that 97% of your projects are completed ahead of schedule or 78% of customers return to you with a second order, it is ridiculous, but people will believe it. Just do not abuse, more than one such "fact" is not worth writing.

    First communication

    We will assume that the potential customer is likely to start communicating by email. We also immediately recognize that most likely he has already sent similar requests to your competitors.

    In an ideal world, the customer selects the contractor based on the criteria: the previous experience of the contractor, competitive price, realistic terms, availability of necessary resources, references from partners, etc. In fact, an emotional component is added to this list - the impression of the first communication. Those. it depends on how you show yourself at the very beginning whether you will receive an order (sometimes even despite the price being above average).

    1. Response speed . Quickly respond to a potential customer request. Reply to emails no later than 1-2 hours after receipt.
    2. Status . If the request is answered by the “general director” or “director of work with clients”, this increases the potential customer’s potential for the potential client, and adds points to you. A copy of the answer may include a “sales manager” who will continue further communication, but at this stage it is important to show the level of interest.
    3. Sexism . The most controversial point, but practice shows that girls, all other things being equal, give the impression of less competent IT managers than their male counterparts. Most often this is not true, but the customer does not have time to find out the competence of your employee, he automatically includes stereotypical thinking about her and that’s all. Hold your charming manager until the order is in your pocket and only then introduce it to the customer. I repeat, we are talking about the stereotypical perception that all of us have. Your task is to remember this and skillfully use it.
    4. Contents . In response to the request, introduce yourself, thank you for your interest, ask 2-3 questions about the project (think it is important that the questions are in essence), agree on the time of the first call to discuss the project (better on the same day).
    5. Interested in . Everyone asks general questions, but if you ask a substantive question that a potential client has not had time to think about yet - Bingo (!), You impressed, showed your professionalism, experience and it seems you know in advance about the "pitfalls" of the project. In fact, it is simple, the main thing is not to ask technical questions with a narrow focus.
    6. The call . To convince a potential client it is necessary to establish verbal contact as quickly as possible - to call. Before the call, of course, you need to prepare: study the customer, similar projects, carefully read the description of the assignment, prepare a list of additional questions, which were mentioned above. Try to limit yourself to 10-12 questions so as not to delay communication for more than 15 minutes. Ask about the goals, objectives, plans, expectations and details of the project. This will create the impression of your full interest.
    7. No familiarity . Never start communication with a potential customer on "you". You don’t know how old a person is and how infrequently he has ChSV, do not risk it.
    8. Presentation in the first letter . No need to send presentations “About us” or “How we work” in the first letter. If there is a burning desire to send a presentation, then it should be maximally tailored to the customer, and not focused on everyone.
    9. Auto Signature . Be sure to enable automatic signature in the mail client settings: first and last name, position, mobile, skype. This is the golden mean. You do not need anything beyond this and even more sophisticated in non-standard design.
    10. Recognition . Another little thing that helps to stand out in the general stream of letters. In the settings of the mail client after the last name, indicate the name of the company in brackets. This is rarely done, therefore, the name of your company will often flicker in front of the client’s gaze and gradually be put aside in his subconscious.
    11. Offer . Never make an offer of 20 pages, where 19 pages are written about what a great team you have and what wonderful customers, and the evaluation of the order is somewhere in between.
      A good offer takes 3-4 pages. All sections should be essentially: the name of the project, a list of people on your part, a brief description of the project, a table with decomposition of subtasks and an assessment of each in time and cost, payment scheme (do not forget to specify with or without VAT), warranty service conditions, rights to the results of work, contacts for communication

    The above techniques will certainly play in your favor. Nevertheless, no one has canceled the main selection criteria: competitive price, reasonable terms, and consistently high quality results.

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