Go Media Podcast – Episode 7: How to Close Design Leads

In this episode, Cleveland graphic designers Jeff Finley and Bill Beachy sit down to talk through a chapter from Bill’s upcoming book. In that discussion, Bill talks about putting yourself in a position to get hired by a client by putting together a great proposal.

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Show Notes

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Sponsor of this Episode

This episode is sponsored by Mockup Everything. With Mockup Everything, you can produce high resolution, photo realistic mock ups of your designs. There are at least 5 new templates released every month. From iPads to billboards to t-shirts: if you have to mockup anything, use Mockup Everything.

WMC Fest is holding a benefit show on March 22nd, 2013 at the Beachland Ballroom. It’s the first Weapons of Mass Creation event in 2013.

Go Media Quick Tip: Executing After Inspiration

  • Comes from ideas pushed in “Execute”, a new book by Josh Long. Based on the principle of executing after inspiration. He wrote a book about Drew Wilson who built a Stripe-powered app in 8 days.
  • We are filled with inspiration and creativity all of the time, and because of that, you should take advantage of it. Clear your schedule and finish what you’re inspired to create.
  • Don’t stifle your energy because you think you’ll burn out.
  • Several weeks ago, WMC Fest’s Music Director, Jesse Sloan came to Jeff with the idea of doing a WMC Fest-themed show at SXSW. The original thought was prepping it for next year. But, the week before SXSW, Jesse decided he couldn’t wait and hopped in a van ready to take SXSW 2013 by storm. So, Jeff created the artwork and got a rush order through to Jakprints. Jesse secured the venue with the help of 1Up PR, and Truth About Music scheduled the bands and put on a last-minute show. Even Wired.com found the event and helped publicize it on their Instagram feed.
Wired.com’s photo from the WMC Fest event at SXSW.

What’s Go Media Been Up To?

  • Jeff’s been putting more and more hours into WMC Fest and prepping for this Friday’s benefit show at the Beachland Ballroom.
  • Bill’s been spending more time with his upcoming book titled, “Drawn To Business: Designed For Success”.
  • Bryan’s been prepping the podcast to start streaming the recording live, including a live chat for instant feedback. Expect an announcement on that soon.
  • The sales team has been bringing in a lot of big projects, which is helping Go Media reach their design sales goals ahead of schedule.
  • Liz has left Go Media as she moves up in her career. We’re happy for her success, but sad to see her leave.
  • Simon Hartman has been officially hired and will start at Go Media in early April. He was the former Zine editor, but will now help run The Arsenal.
Jeff and Bill discuss Bill’s new book in recently reorganized GoMP Studios.

Closing Deals: A chapter from Bill’s new book “Drawn To Business: Designed For Success”

“Every battle is won or lost before it’s fought.” – “Art of War” by Sun Tzu

  • Starting with a well-designed proposal is an important step in the process of building trust.
  • Go Media normally gets our leads through the contact form on the site.
  • We follow that up with a phone call to create that initial personal contact. That call is also to qualify the project: is there a budget that meets their requirements? Do they have real needs that you can fulfill? We qualify before setting up the discovery meeting, so that if the project is outside of our scope, then we didn’t waste their time scheduling a meeting that won’t go anywhere. A budget is a necessary thing to discuss. If the lead isn’t willing to offer that up, find out what they want out of the project, and give them a ballpark figure of what something like that would cost.
  • After a lead is qualified, we schedule a discovery call with a member of the design or development team. We have a master questionnaire that we try to get answers on before going into the proposal stage. Whether or not you land a lead is determined in that discovery call. Having that budget up front, along with the full project scope, will give you the proper information you need to land the project you’re writing the proposal for. Every piece of the proposal needs to be written around the needs of client. It doesn’t need to be written from scratch every time, but create a template. Write segments for all services you offer, that way you can plug it in or remove it as needed, and then tailor it to that specific project.
  • What goes into a good proposal?
    • A cover letter should include some kind of connection between you and the client. If you have a shared passion or there was a comical moment in the meeting, write about it. Also thank them for coming to you for the project and show that you are excited for the opportunity. This is your introduction to the proposal and to working with them.
    • In your overview and requirements, include what the client wants and needs, why they want to do it, and why your solution is the right one.
    • Also share your process. Make sure everyone knows what is expected from the client experience. That way you aren’t playing telephone with your sales team. They need to sell what you can do with the energy that you will be doing it with. The client needs to know what the expectations are, and everyone on the team needs to know that ahead of time so those expectations can be either met or exceeded.
    • For the purposes of the proposal, include a cost estimate that summarizes the main sections of the project.
    • Since they’re reading your proposal and since you know the project, provide some additional related services that might make sense for their project.
    • Provide samples of your work as well as testimonials.
    • Always provide some terms and conditions that cover guarantees and how they can accept the agreement and any liability.
    • Our proposals are our contracts. If they put a down payment on the project, then they have legally accepted the proposal. So, there is no second document that they need to sign.
  • Choose a program that works best for you. We chose InDesign, because it gives us the most flexibility to design a beautiful proposal, yet it still allows the sales team to edit it easily. Your proposal is a direct reflection of your design ability. It needs to be beautiful and easy to use and understand.
  • Complete the personal connection by hand-delivering the proposal. The client gets to see your face, they get to shake your hand, and now that they “know you”, they’re more apt to call you to ask questions or have a conversation with you to negotiate. If it’s a huge project, why not travel a long distance. Build the relationship up so that the proposal is not a faceless document.
  • After you’ve delivered the proposal, follow up within 3-5 business days. You don’t need a specific reason, other than to make sure that they received the proposal and to see if they have any questions about it. Since you reached out to them, even if they chose someone else, it’s possible that you still have an opportunity to land the project by negotiating with them.



Hosts: Jeff Finley and Bill Beachy
Producer: Bryan Garvin
Recorded at: Go Media

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