There’s a certain feeling of joy and fulfillment when you land a web design client and get the job after successfully pitching your services. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big job or a small one. 

Pitching your web design service, however, isn’t that simple and the degree of its difficulty varies, depending on who you are pitching to. Big companies, middle-sized companies, and individuals will all require a different approach.

There are certain nuances like preparation, research, and confidence that need to be taken into account, as well as external challenges that may affect your success.

Today, we’re going to look at how to build a website design sales pitch that consistently wins you more and better contracts. 

But, first, let’s look at some reasons why it’s hard to sell to top-tier clients.

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Why It Can Be Hard To Sell Web Design Services

Even before you set out to pitch your services to larger enterprises, you will encounter some obstacles and challenges that are not necessarily related to your pitching skills or services.

In-House vs. Outsourced

Many enterprises and larger organizations are used to managing their operations with in-house solutions and team members, or outsourcing to large design agencies.

You’ll have to make a strong argument for why they should entrust their website to someone on the outside and who uses a platform like WordPress as opposed to proprietary company software.

Competition Is High

Normally, there’s always new blood entering the web design space. With the pandemic, though, there’s been a monstrous surge in freelancers

As new designers enter the field, they’re likely to charge much lower rates than established designers and to say “yes” to anything and everything they’re asked to do, which means you’ll have to work harder to differentiate yourself.

Client Expectations vs. Reality

Although it’s not as common with larger companies, there are many business owners who: 

  • Don’t think they need a website if they can just sell through platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Don’t want to pay someone to build their site if they can just use a DIY-hosted website builder instead.
  • Don’t understand why a designer would charge a flat fee of $10,000 when they’re sure it won’t take more than 20 hours to build the site. 

In other words, there are just some clients who can’t be reasoned with.

7 Tips for Acing Your Web Design Pitch To Major Clients

Don’t let these challenges discourage you, however. There’s a clear argument for going after bigger clients, as these are sure to yield good pay and professional satisfaction. But how do you win these contracts? Here are some things you can do when putting together your web design pitch:

1. Make Your Web Design Portfolio the Strongest It Can Be

You can’t just talk your way into a web design contract with a major client — you have to provide them with proof of how good you are. 

Beyond giving your portfolio a killer design (like these 12 standout examples), you should also do the following: 

  • Show-and-tell the before/after story so prospects can see how you’ve transformed other sites or basic concepts into high-powered sales machines.
  • Create companion case studies for your most successful projects and use those statistics to demonstrate the types of results your clients may see.
  • Update the portfolio with your most recent projects before submitting a new pitch. 

Your portfolio can then pull double-duty: attract high-quality leads and give you tangible examples and proof to share during discovery calls.

2. Write a Personalized Pitch and Email It Directly To the Decision-Maker

Briefly introduce who you are, who you’ve worked for, and why you want to help them. Provide a link to your portfolio and mention some of those eye-opening statistics from your projects. 

If you don’t have any of your own yet, that’s okay. You can still get their attention with statistics relevant to their situation, like this: 

Over 50% of all website traffic comes from smartphones. However, your site isn’t mobile responsive according to Google. Let’s set up some time to talk.”

Just don’t harp too much on what’s wrong with their site (or lack thereof). Wrap up on a positive note and then give them an easy way to schedule a free discovery call. 

You can use a tool like Acuity or Calendly to quickly set this up. Integrate it with your video chat software (like Zoom or Google Hangouts). Then, add a link in your email signature as well as in the body of your message so they can schedule the call when they’re ready.

3. Come Prepared To the Discovery Call

Before you get on the phone with the prospect, do your research. For instance: 

  • Who are they — the decision-maker? A go-between? The owner? 
  • What are your thoughts on their existing website? (the good and the bad)
  • Who are their top competitors and how is your prospect getting beaten by them?

You’ll want to anticipate their needs, address their current pain, and provide some ideas for a new website

While it’s important to take the reins so they don’t get the impression that they can steamroll right over you, it’s just as important to stop and listen. Come prepared with questions about their business, where things aren’t running as efficiently, how they’re performing in terms of their KPIs, etc.

4. Have a Solid Process in Place

To convince a top dog to pay you to build their website, you can’t show any signs of disorganization or hesitation. 

One of the best ways to do this is to get organized: 

  • Set up a prospecting process template in your project management system.
  • Create email templates that can be personalized for prospecting emails, following up after the discovery call, and delivering critical documents. 
  • Use automation (like the scheduling/conferencing software combo mentioned above) to streamline every interaction. 
  • Use templates for important documents like the website brief, contract, and website questionnaire so you can quickly fill in custom details and send them off to the prospect. 
  • Respond within 24 hours so they know you’re on top of things.
  • Proofread anything you send to ensure your messages are error-free.

Bottom line: If you want them to see you as a professional, button up your processes and systems.

5. Speak To Prospective Clients in Their Own Language

If you start talking to prospects about things like website caching, prototyping, or user journey mapping, they’re not going to know what the heck you’re talking about. 

The way to turn a prospect into a client is to speak their language. 

So, go light on the tech and, instead, focus on the ROI. After all, that’s what they’re really paying for – increased traffic, leads, and conversions.

Show them what a great website can do for them and start talking about what you envision for their site. You can share one of your case studies that’s similar to their site or situation. 

Just make sure not to over-promise here. You don’t want them thinking that they’ll make $1000 a day in sales the second you launch the site. Be optimistic about the site’s future, but don’t overdo it.

6. Start Managing Their Expectations Before the Contract Is Signed

Start talking to them about what to expect during the project and after it’s done before the contract is signed. There should be no surprises about what they’re getting themselves into.

For example: 

  • When will the project start and when can the website be finished by?
  • What sort of information or documents will you need from them before you begin?
  • How can the client communicate with you during the project? 
  • Will there be frequent check-ins during the process and will the client have any say or do they have to wait until the website is done? 
  • What project deliverables will you deliver to them after the site is done (like a web design style guide)?
  • How soon after launch can they expect to start seeing results?

If you can address these important matters before the job starts, the project will go much more smoothly and with very little pushback (if any).

7. Never Negotiate on Price

It’s a bad idea to let a prospect talk you down on price, no matter how large or prolific the company is. The second they decide your services aren’t worth what you’ve pitched them, it’s going to be an uphill battle as they second-guess your every decision, change their mind on what they want and bring in others to weigh in on what you’ve done. 

So, you need to price your web design services in a way that’s both reasonable and in line with the value you’re providing them. 

One way to do this is to productize your web design services.

For instance, rather than say: 

“Your website will cost $15,000.”

You can provide them with an itemized list of all the valuable things they get when they pay for this all-in-one solution: 

“I’d strongly recommend the eCommerce Plus Plan. It comes with: 

  • Domain name registration
  • Custom web design
  • Technical SEO
  • Payment gateway configuration
  • CRM integration
  • Social media branding
  • 6 months of website maintenance”

There are so many other things that are in your wheelhouse as a designer. In addition to some of the examples above, you could also offer things like quarterly analytics audits, A/B testing, security monitoring, and so on. 

If you want your web design pitch to stand out, make sure it’s all about the value they’re going to get by choosing you over the other options.

Make the Perfect Pitch and Get More and Bigger Clients

You didn’t start your web design business so you could play the feast-and-famine game forever. While there are ways to build a steady and stable business while working for smaller companies, it’s the size of your profit margins that will continue to hold you back. 

So, as you become a more seasoned web designer or developer, start positioning yourself as someone who has something truly impressive and unique to offer top clients. Nailing your website design sales pitch is a good first step towards that.