Get More Web Design Clients Masterclass Series – Part 1

This is part 1 of a free 3-part Facebook Live Masterclass series we recently created to help talented, hard-working designers like you get new web design clients.

Tune in to Foxley Founder, Bianca Board, in this eye-opening 45-minute masterclass, or read below for the scoop to learn how to close more web design clients while building a business and life you love.

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You’ve probably experienced this more than once …

A new web design client has approached you to do their website.

So, you put together what you think is a killer proposal.

A few days later you follow them up and hear ‘no’.

Maybe you hear it all the time?

…so much so you’re sick and tired of spending all that time on proposals only to get rejection after rejection.

You’ve probably heard all sorts of objections like:

“Someone can build me a website for $300…”
“I only have a budget of $500.”
“I was told I just need a WordPress website.”
“I’ve been told WordPress is free, so why would I pay for it?”
“I just want it to look good.”
“Someone on Upwork that will do a web design for less than $5 an hour.”
“My cousin’s next door neighbour can build a new website for me…”
“I just want a simple 5-page website, nothing fancy…”
“But I can get cheap hosting for $10 per month”
“But I build a Wix website myself for free, therefore why would I pay you?”

Here’s the thing…

If you don’t shirtfront these objections early on, you’ll struggle to get clients over the line.

According to the latest Australian IBIS report, the web design industry is only making on average 5.5% profit.

Another way of saying it, for all the late nights and back-breaking hard work you do, you could probably make more money working at a fast-food joint.

Something really has to change.

I know it’s confronting but it’s vital if you want to grow your web design business.


The MAIN reason for all these objections?

The main reason you aren’t winning the deals is because you’ve failed to communicate the VALUE that your clients are looking for in order to commit.

And VALUE is not the same as PRICE.

They’re two completely different things.

If you can show that you can make a client 3 times back what they spend with you…
…No matter if that’s $2k, $10k or $200k – THAT’S VALUE.

Yes, sometimes there can be stingy penny-pinchers, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

You’re better off walking away from them anyway.

But I’ve had clients that are on their last few thousand dollars because they are struggling big time in their business, and go and get a credit card just so they can invest $5k for a new website with my business.

And that’s after they’ve first come to us saying they can only spend $300.

I’ve sold thousands of websites now. As a result, I’ve perfected our pitch by talking to over 6,000-7,000 prospective new web design clients.

And you can too. Especially when you know how to communicate value in the websites you deliver.

But first, you need to understand the top 4 reasons people aren’t seeing your value – yet.

Reason #1: You’ve failed to establish enough rapport.

That’s a major killer. You won’t even get to the other three unless you nail this one.

Reason #2: You haven’t educated them enough.

One of the secrets to my success is that I ‘educate’, rather than sell.

Reason #3: You haven’t showcased enough proof that you have the ability to deliver.

Everyone loves a story, so get your head out of your portfolio, and talk facts about success stories. Get specific. Build trust. Talk about results. Testimonials etc.

Reason #4: You’re talking about the wrong stuff.

Let’s look at each one in more detail…


Reason #1: You’ve failed to establish rapport.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

90% of sales are made when the client feels you truly care about their business. In other words, you’ve established strong rapport.

People buy from people they know, like and trust. If you miss one of those, you will never get the sale.

FACT: When I looked the anatomy of a perfect website pitch, as a result of pitching more than 5000 times, I’ve found that on average in a 1-hour conversation, more than 50% of the time was spent building rapport. In some cases, not even talking about websites.

Here are my golden rules for establishing rapport:

  1. Be likeable and full of energy, passion and confidence. It’s infectious. When you’re in that space, they’ll be saying to themselves, “I want what she/he is having.”
  2. Have empathy. The more you can relate to the challenges they’re facing right now, and the more you can empathise with their situation, therefore the more you’ll demonstrate that you care about creating a website that solves their problem.
  3. Get to know them personally and find common ground: People like people who are like them so talk about common interests you might have together. Is it fishing? Weather? Kids? Sailing? Golf? Something else?

Give it the time it’s due, and respect that rapport is almost 50% of the sale.


Reason #2: You haven’t educated them enough… yet.

One of the secrets to our success with my company, Web123 is that we ‘educate’, we don’t ‘sell’ when it comes to my our clients.

Everywhere you look, you can find companies selling DIY website design platforms where people can knock up their own website for next to nothing. Or – worse still, web designers offering to design an entire site for as little as $300.

How do you combat that?

Tell them why a $300 website is going to be a complete waste of money. Tell them that they might as well throw their money up the wall.

Say something like, “You’re not getting a website to look beautiful, you’re getting a website to make money.”

Tell them why 80% of websites don’t actually work. Let them know what does instead.

Remember – be honest. Be candid. People appreciate that.

They want someone who has the courage and expertise to lead them.

Someone who isn’t afraid to tell them the truth.

Talk in plain English.

If you can dumb down what the web industry is all about for people, and avoid using jargon, and instead use analogies when you talk about SEO, conversions, traffic etc — they’ll appreciate it and it will go a long way!

Keep educating (not selling) until they run out of questions.

That’s when they’ll start closing for you.

They’ll say “So what happens next?” or “Do you think you can help me?”

It’s simple to do once you know how.


Reason #3: You haven’t showcased enough proof that you can deliver

There’s a saying in marketing, that you can tell people as much as you like about how great you are but it’s only when they see the proof that they start believing it.

Here’s another TRUTH Bomb.

Your portfolio is pointless.

Yes, I know that might kind of hurt…

I know you’re probably wildly talented and your designs are probably spectacular but here’ s the thing…

Sure, it shows that you do have design skills.

But clients want to see more than that…

They want to know that you have the ability to get results and not just build a website to fill up a bit of space on the Internet.

Here are 5 elements of social proof that give your clients the evidence they need to feel confident that you can get them results:


1. Testimonials:

Gather and showcase as many testimonials as possible – on your website and in your marketing collateral. If possible, use testimonials that focus on the results your designs produced.

web design clients

2. Google Reviews:

They’re fantastic for showcasing independent, third party testimonials. They often hold even more weight than testimonials on your website.

web design clients

Here is Google’s guide to getting customer reviews.

3. Case Studies:
  • Showcase the problem the client wanted to be solved.
  • What did you do to solve the problem?
  • What results were achieved as a result?

Neil Patel, one of my marketing gurus has this great blog post on 8 Tips for Creating a Great Case Study.

4. Mention specific results to back up your claims:
  • What % traffic growth have other clients experienced?
  • What sales increases did they achieve?
  • How many more leads are they now getting?
  • Be as specific as you can. Ideally, talk dollars and not just % growth.
  • Show before and after examples.

On our Web123 website, we feature case studies PLUS we include a visual that clearly demonstrates the ROI clients have achieved.

5. Stories your web design clients can relate to:

Storytelling is one of our secret weapons and clients love them.

Use stories that feature before-and-after examples of problems your clients have experienced. This helps your prospect relate their problem to solutions you’ve delivered in the past.


Reason #4: You’re talking about the wrong stuff.

As you saw, showcasing proof is vital for establishing trust.

But if you’re showing proof of things that don’t interest them, you’re wasting your time.

Most freelancers talk about the features, not the benefits. The hosting, the platform, the plugins, the bandwidth etc.

Your web design clients couldn’t care less about this stuff.

So discuss benefits, rather than features.

But before you do that get to know their REAL needs. Often, what they’re asking versus saying are probably two very different things.

Chances are what your web design clients really want is an increase in traffic. An increase in sales conversions. More time. More money in their pocket.

Next – help them picture the kinds of results that you can get them in their mind.

Two important questions to ask:
  1. “What would it be like for you if…”
  2. “What if you could go from getting a couple of leads a month, to 1-2 per day. What would that do for your business?”

The answers they give to the questions help you respond to them in a way that they instantly see the return on investment that they’re going to get.

Show them the processes that will help them achieve that.

For instance, “If I built you ugliest website in the world but it was making you $20k a day, would you care?”

That’s what will make people stand up and listen.

I guarantee you, 95% of your competitors are not doing this.

When you do that, you can CHARGE MORE. You have a bigger pool of clients to choose from. Plus, you have more freedom and control. And sanity.

THAT’S what it’s all about.

I can guarantee you, if you are making your web design clients money, you will have people BEATING DOWN YOUR DOOR.

That’s why I recommend that you learn as much as you can about the business of marketing.

And business 101.

Love to know more about how to do that?

How to handle client objections?

How to find your ideal client – instead of the penny-pinchers you’re currently attracting?

And how to communicate value in a way that dramatically increases your conversions and helps you charge more?

Stay tuned for the next part of the Masterclass Series.



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Get More Web Design Clients Masterclass Series: A 3-part series which looks at why clients are trying to beat you down on price, my 5 secrets to building a ready-to-buy pool of A-class clients who love what you do, and the 6-step attraction formula I’ve used to attract over 3000 web projects in my own 7-figure web business.


Sound off in the comments, what’s your #1 challenge when it comes to finding new web design clients?

Author Bianca Board

After 20 years inspiring more than 10,000 designers and small business owners to take control of their business, Bianca is now spearheading Foxley, a brand spanking new SaaS platform for designers. She is deeply passionate about helping distil the complexities of running a web design business - to make it easier for all designers to make the leap from designer to design entrepreneur. She’s a translator of web jargon, a lead generation master, a champion for small businesses and you can Google her brain for endless strategies on how to transform your business.

More posts by Bianca Board
  • sach3d

    My #1 challenge is to not build website but get leads for the client.
    I’m not marketing guy but designer, so its always a challenge.

  • Good stuff. However, you’re missing the most important one:

    Reason 0 – They are not the right client for you.

    Too often we’re trying to be efficient (i.e., improving a skill / skill set), when we should focus on being effective (i.e., doing the right thing).

    All your tips are great. However, they’re a complete waste of time if you pick up the wrong client (for the wrong reasons). Do that two of three times and struggle gets real, really quick.

  • Great article, Bianca! I think my biggest challenge is what you mentioned, trying to find the ideal clients and not the penny pinchers. I’ve raised prices and decluttered low-end/high-maintenance clients, and have picked up a few higher end clients. I’m not exactly sure how what other steps to take other than having prices raised to find more out there.

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