We Have Contact
We live in a connected world. It’s easier than ever to contact and reach out to people, especially those of who we have never met. The avenues in which you allow people to contact you are experiences. For your fans and followers, and for businesses and clients who wish to work with and hire you. It’s fundamental to your professionalism to split up and guide these two different types of audience through the necessary route to contact you appropriately. Fans can reach you via Twitter for more casual encounters, or send emails for more personal questions and offhand problems they have that they want you to help solve.
But it’s and entirely different case with clients who wish to work with you, it isn’t a casual experience, this is where your professionalism with clients starts, even before you begin the initial conversation. You need an area where potential clients can go to on your website to contact you specifically about working with you, and also be funnelled through a questionnaire to discover if they are serious about their work, and yours.
Creating a questionnaire on your contact page is crucial to deciphering what client is the right client for you to work with. Appropriating the correct questions to ask is the most important step just before the initial conversation. This is where you decide whether they are the right client for you or not.
The questionnaire allows you to identify those who are serious about their work and wish to come under your process and see you as an authority in your field. It filters out the wrong type of client and allows you to build a relationship and set the foundation to a successful project. Through the questions you ask them on your questionnaire, you will discover their needs, and what goals they wish to achieve by working with you. Remember, they are coming to you for a reason.
Realistically, if the client fills out your carefully curated questionnaire with in-depth answers about why they have arrived at you as being the person to solve their problem, they are serious about working with you. Although, you may get people who fill in your questions with one word answers, an obvious red flag in which you know to avoid. Which means they don’t know why they are coming to you in the first place.
You need a contract when working with any client. The client is responsible for two things; The content for which they provide you to work with for the project, and the goals in which you will discover in the questions you ask the client on the questionnaire.
So what kind of questions do you include when you are constructing your questionnaire? Firstly, you have to understand why you are asking these questions and what the information the client responds with means in relation to discovering the objective design decisions you will make. If you don’t know why your asking the questions, other than to sound professional, then why ask it? This will make you appear unprofessional in the long run, and the client will recognise this.
If a question doesn’t align with your process or you can’t use the information you’re receiving from the question, then don’t ask it.
Good practice is to get examples and ideas from professionals questionnaires you find on their contact forms. Go to their website, see what work they do, what kind of questions they are asking that align with their style and type of work. The purpose of this is to discover the correlation between the type questions they ask and how they utilise this information in their artwork and case studies on their website and portfolios.
DO NOT carbon copy their questionnaire. If you believe that because they are already established as a professional, what they’re asking must get them clients easier. So you reckon since it worked for them, it will work for you. It will not work for you. You need to craft your own questionnaire.
One that meets your needs and will give you all the relevant information for you to progress smoothly with the project and with your process. Some questions you can consider;
- What does your business do? Why does it matter?
- Is it local/Global?
- Who is your target audience? What are their needs?
- Who are your competitors? What are you doing that’s different?
- Do you have any examples of the artistic direction for the project?
- Any pre-existing brand requirements/colours?
You need the client to be as open as they can be about your questions, it’s the only way you will know if they are serious about coming under your process and working with you as a professional and allow you to provide objective design solutions. You set the expectations for the project, you let the client know what you will be doing. Without expectations, you wont know what the client will be expecting of you to provide them, and may lead to their disappointment somewhere down the line in the project.
Your questionnaire will need patching over time as you fine-tune the questions that need to be asked. When you’re first starting out, there will be information you need in which you didn’t ask it at the beginning in the questionnaire/initial conversation phase. It comes with practice and knowing your own process.
A questionnaires purpose is to filter out the clients that don’t fit with your values and are not willing to come under your process. The questions provide you with the goals and information to proceed with a successful project and allows you to set the expectations to the client. Project your values thorough your writing and case studies. Convey your professionalism by acting like it.
The worst thing you can have on your contact for is – “Name, Email, Message”. This is too broad. You need some sort of hurdle, so that the ones that are serious will need to do a bit of work in order to reach you. The ones that are serious about your time, and theirs, are the ones that are going to go to the extra length to contact you. The easier it is to contact you to work with you, the worse.
Your contact form and questionnaire have to be displayed on your website, as the first form of initiating the conversation and relationship. Be careful not to include too many or even convoluted questions, the more barriers you have up before people can get in contact with may deter some serious clients who wish to work with you and hinder you’re conversion rate. Making the questions you ask the client even more important.
You’re a professional. You’re not there to execute the clients subjective ideas. Use your questionnaire to identify if this is what the client wants from you. You’re there to provide them with an objective design solution to their problem based on their content and goals.
Constructing the questionnaire with this in mind can allow you to discover the clients who recognise you as a technician, there to follow their orders step by step, telling you what to do.
Careful thought and consideration must be put into the questions. Can you get the relevant information you need to determine if you want to work with this person from them in the most concise way possible?
Some points to consider when constructing your personal questionnaire;
- Is is questionnaire too long/short?
- Is the terminology understandable?
- Is the client comfortable answering it?
- Will I get any relevant information by asking this question?