So you’ve just finished a month-long website design project for your client. Everything went great, your client loves the work you’ve done, and you’ve been paid in full and on time. Most of you would probably agree that your next thought is:
“Great, now I have to find a new client.”
If only there were some way to keep ahold of this customer and not have to go through the process of finding new web design clients…
But there is!
You can hang on to current customers and get repeat business through the process of upselling. Upselling is the practice of offering clients products or services related to their original purchase. The best-known upsell is the “Do you want fries with that?” question often posed at fast-food restaurants.
While you can’t offer your web design clients fries with their website, there are an abundance of products and services you can offer to turn one-time customers into repeat business.
In this post, we’ve outlined a few of the best methods for making a successful upsell so you can earn more money with fewer clients.
Talk About Your Services to Get Clients Interested
The first step in upselling your clients is to engage them in a conversation about what services and products you offer. Not all clients are going to peruse your website and portfolio in-depth. Instead, they may call you or show up to a consultation meeting knowing little more than the fact that you’re a web designer.
A lot of web design clients don’t know exactly what it is they want, so having a quick discussion of everything that you can do for them can lead to a few additions that result in a bigger payday for you. Granted, you needn’t be like a sleazy used car salesman and try to get clients to purchase features or services that they don’t need. But casually pointing out related products and services certainly doesn’t hurt.
Bear in mind that when you talk about your services, you need to first explore the problems or issues your client is currently facing. This will help inform you as to the products or services your clients might need. But remember that your focus shouldn’t be on your products or services themselves – it should be on using those products and services to help your client solve a problem. Doing so will help prevent you from getting to “salesy,” while also helping your client understand that helping them is your first priority.
Provide an Ongoing Service, Generate an Ongoing Income
One of the best ways to upsell a client is this:
Offer them ongoing services!
This ensures you hang onto the client and have a steady income stream for the foreseeable future.
Ongoing services can be just about anything. You can offer SEO monitoring or monthly traffic evaluations. Talk to clients about a monthly maintenance plan for their website that includes updating any themes, databases, or related programs as well.
Hosting is a popular ongoing service that many web designers can easily provide. Big hosting companies usually offer reseller or affiliate programs, and joining those can help you develop some really nice income by hooking your clients up with hosting-related services.
Offer an Upgrade
There’s a reason why rental car companies offer a variety of vehicles, each with an increasing set of features (and prices!). It’s a classic upsell, and it works. Why get the Hyundai for $20 per day when you can ride around in a Lexus for only $70 a day? The point is, having a tiered level of services isn’t a bad plan because you can more easily upsell a client to a pricier package.
For example, let’s say that you’re approached by a potential client who wants to update their website but they aren’t sure to what extent. Offering them multiple pricing options opens the door to discussing additional features they may not have initially considered. Perhaps they were just thinking about a basic three-page website at first, but seeing that a site that is mobile responsive with a custom contact form is just $100 more, they opt for that instead. Boom. You’re $100 richer.
The upgrade idea can apply to add-ons as well. Perhaps in the midst of your conversation with a client they mention that they’d really like a new logo for their business. If you design logos, add that to a package price and help the client accomplish two of their goals at the same time. There are actually an abundance of add-on features that you can offer your web design clients.
Clients that are just establishing their web presence will likely need a logo in addition to their website. If your graphic design skills are as good as your web design skills, offering logo design services can help boost your income. Even well-established businesses will want to freshen up their logo now and again, so having that service as part of your offerings is a great way to generate more business.
A lot of businesses utilize email to send out newsletters and other information to their clients. If you’ve got some coding skills, you could design HTML templates for clients to use for their email communications. Offering this add-on gives you one more service that customers don’t have to shop around for. And the best part?
When clients want to develop a new email campaign or freshen up an existing one, they will know who to contact!
Banner ads are a popular way for many businesses to advertise. Whether you offer it as an add-on feature to your web design services packages or as a stand-alone service, it’s a great way to earn a little more income. Banner ads also make a nice portfolio piece to show off your vast range of design skills.
Some web designers offer print design services as well. If you’ve got the know-how to design for print, think about adding things like business cards, stationary, and brochures to your design options. This might entice clients to hire you to design the entirety of their branding needs. It also gives clients the option to mix and match or hire you to do just one thing, like design their latest newspaper advertisement. The point is, doing so gives you many more services to offer, which can get you much more business in the long run.
Bundles = More Money for You
Part of the art of upselling is enticing people to spring for more expensive options. A great way to do that is to offer to bundled services into one great package deal. You can easily do this by partnering with other service providers that offer something you don’t.
For example, let’s say you have a client that has hired you to design their website. They are thinking about your middle-of-the-road package that costs $1,500. Let’s also say that you have a colleague that’s a whiz with SEO, and has offered to provide that service at a discounted rate to clients that you refer. Offering a bundled deal – your top-tier website design package bundled with discounted SEO services for a total of $1,800 – can be enough to convince a client to spring for the extra $300 in expenses.
The result is that your client gets a better product and more services, your friend gets some business, and you get a referral commission from your SEO friend. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And who knows, maybe your SEO friend will offer bundled packages and you’ll get more business as well.
You can offer these bundled deals with a variety of services, from hosting and analytics to marketing and website monitoring. You can even bundle the add-on features discussed in the previous section, and mix and match them with your website design packages to create custom bundles for your clients.
Offer Pre-Made Alternatives
Today’s web design options include website builders and WordPress themes that are beautifully designed and packed with a ton of features. For a lot of web design clients, pre-made templates and themes are a great alternative to a custom designed website. The bonus for you is that you can complete a large number of jobs in just the fraction of the time and say hello to a bigger income.
Use a Website Builder
A great option for facilitating upselling is using a website builder. Since website builders have tons of features built right in, you can easily add SEO services, hosting, email, responsive design, and other handy items to your list of services offered. That means you can offer bundled packages to your clients with ease! And because website builders make integrating all of those things super easy, it’s money you can earn quickly.
Another nice feature of using a website builder is that you can sell clients on pre-made templates. If an existing template will work for their needs without any customizations, great! If not, you can show off your design skills and customize an existing template or even create your own from scratch. Here’s the deal:
Website builders allow you to streamline your design process and get deliverables to clients faster and easier.
If you’ve got WordPress experience, offer services that include theme customization and set up of WordPress-based websites. Many small business owners don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to set up their WordPress site themselves, and would hire someone to take care of it for them in a heartbeat. This is also a nice addition to the services you offer because some clients won’t have the money to pay for your custom site design packages.
If you’re a real WordPress expert, think about designing your own themes and templates to sell online. This has the potential to generate a lot of passive income, especially if you can get your themes for sale on popular sites like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, or Mojo Themes.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Upselling shouldn’t just occur when a client initially approaches you to do a project. Instead, you should endeavor to stay in touch with every client so they are reminded that you’re around and offer a wide array of services that can meet their needs. Doing so can actually make upselling much easier because your clients get a periodic no-pressure reminder that you’re available. A well-timed email, phone call, or handwritten note may be all you need to get former clients to give you a ring and hire you for more work.
How NOT to Upsell
Effective upselling takes some practice, but with time, you’ll be able to seamlessly and comfortably recommend services to clients without coming off like you’re greedy. But bear in mind that there are some practices you should avoid:
- Being pushy – No one likes it when they walk into a store and immediately have a salesperson badgering them with questions about what they’re looking for or pointing out what’s on sale. Don’t be that guy. Instead, give clients the details they need so they can make an informed decision.
- Not taking a client’s needs into consideration – Some web designers disregard their clients’ needs and try to push unnecessary products or services on them. If a client mentions they need a logo design, by all means, give them your pitch. But if they’ve mentioned that they already have a new logo, don’t try to sell them on your logo design services.
- Not differentiating your upsell – This has a lot to do with the previous bullet point about taking your client’s needs into consideration. When you upsell, tailor the upsell to the needs of your client. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach will not work when each of your clients has unique needs and wants.
- Treating clients like a bank – Your clients aren’t an ATM. They are hard-working people that need you to help them solve a problem. Treat them with the respect they deserve, help them achieve their goals, and they’ll keep coming back to you for their future design needs.
Making It Happen
Making a successful upsell requires a lot of forethought. Developing individualized upsells for each client will take some time and effort on your part, but because your pitch will be tailored to their needs, each client will feel more like you’re trying to help them out and less like you’re trying to sell them anything you possibly can. If you approach upselling as an honest opportunity to provide assistance to your clients, rather than as a way to tap into a cash cow, you will be able to strengthen your bond with your client and build an even stronger business relationship with them.
What upselling methods have you tried? Whether you were successful or went down in flames, share your story with us by leaving a comment below!