All It Takes Is One.
Alright, we’ll bite. 2013 has been good to us. Maybe it’s because we’re at the top of the first page of Google results for “Pittsburgh web design” or maybe it’s because in our third year in business word is getting around. Either way, leads are up, win percentage seems to be about the same. We’re a .500 ballclub, it seems. We bail on many projects we know we could win that aren’t right for us, and we overbid on some that we might otherwise take easily if we weren’t already full. Even at a small company, business development feels like a full-time job. For every 10 leads that come in, five are worthless, three disappear before a proposal can take place, and one slips away to an incumbent, a cheaper option, or a better salesman. One, however, that vital, beautiful, fragile one goes on to become a real, honest-to-goodness project that lets us keep the lights on and the t-shirts flowing.
Update: We’ve had a project minimum in place for at least a year ($15,000), but we don’t require a questionnaire before having a call. We also insist on talking with all potential clients before we submit a proposal, and we never fill out RFPs. YMMV. Finally, we second Joe’s link to the ChangeOrder blog. Check out his book for a helpful what to do / not to do for design professionals.
Thanks for adding to the conversation Jay.
Would you mind sharing a ballpark percentage of the projects you take that come from people searching for “Pittsburg web design” vs. word of mouth or other means.
It’s hard to say. We don’t do a great job keeping track of where leads are coming from and the move up Google’s ranking seems like it only happened within the last few months. It’s probably fair to say that from the last 10 leads, 1-2 came from Google, 3-4 from friends, and the rest from word of mouth.
It’s interesting to see that even at your high level of skill and production, you still have problems dealing with flakes, bad leads, and having troubles with under/over bidding. It really makes a solo guy like myself feel better to know that it’s not just me :-).