Why I never try to “sell” website design

July 8, 2024

Every month I get several enquiries from people who want a website, and ask me to submit a proposal and quote. Most of these enquiries come from ads I’m running on Google.

In quite a few cases, I will submit a written proposal and quote, and then never hear anything back from the prospective client. I usually phone or email, just to check they did actually receive the quote. They normally say, “Yes, but we’re still thinking about it. We’ll get back to you.”

Now, conventional selling wisdom says that when you get a prospect, you should follow them up repeatedly, to try to get the sale. Don’t let them “slip away”.

But when it comes to web design clients, I don’t follow that rule. In fact, if someone receives my quote and wants to “think about it and get back to you” – I will never contact them again. I will take them at their word. If they don’t get back to me, that’s the end of it.

When I started out in the web business, I used to follow up every prospective client relentlessly. But I found the clients who had to be “sold” on web design, inevitably turned out to be the worst clients. They were fussy and demanding, and took forever to pay their bills.

Now, I take a different approach. I only work with clients who actively seek me out and want to work with me specifically. I mean, there are plenty of web design companies out there, offering a variety of prices and services. But I want to work with people who are motivated to work with me specifically – either because they like what they see on my website, or they have been referred by another happy client. (Thankfully, there are enough of those that I don’t have to chase any others.)

I think this same principle applies to anyone working with clients in a service-related business. (It’s different from selling products, where relentless follow up might be a good strategy). With clients, you have personalities involved, and if you get tangled up with the wrong ones, it can make your life miserable.

Good clients – the ones who are highly motivated to work with you, and value your service – are the clients you want. And don’t bother chasing after the others. That’s one of the big secrets to success and happiness in a service business.

1 thought on “Why I never try to “sell” website design”

  1. Dear Chris,

    I think you have the right approach. Since my web company is optimize on Google Page 1 in web design company in Dubai, we received so many requests of people who draft us an email, without contact details and would like to have a website proposal within their first email request. Personally we may exchange one email with them, and ask them details and phone number, but on the second email they indicate they want to copy a website, and then we automatically decline, because those are not serious requests.

    Generally when I see a common name linked to a gmail / yahoo / hotmail accounts, those requests are rarely serious.

Leave a comment