Client Consultation: How to Move From Contact to Contract

One of the challenges for freelancers is closing the deal and securing work. It’s a crucial step, but how you do it can also set the tone for the rest of your project. If you’re dealing with unresponsive clients, out of control demands, or off-the-rails projects, you might need to go back and reconsider your initial client consultation.

client consultation

A client consultation is an initial meeting with a client to figure out what they need and to sell your services. At the end of the meeting, you should know if this client is a good fit, exactly what they need, a rough price point and whether or not you’re going to put together a proposal.

Not every freelancer has a specific, organized consultation with a client. Everybody has their own process. But it can be a way to streamline your sales process and waste less time with prospective clients that never pan out.

In this post, we’re going to explore what a client consultation meeting looks like, why you should do them, and how to conduct them.

What Is Your Current Process For Landing Clients & Securing Projects?

Before exploring the ins and outs of a client consultation meeting, it might help to consider your current process first. How exactly do you land a client and secure a project?

Some freelancers don’t have a formal process. They make first contact with a client, maybe from a website form or a referral. They trade emails, answering some questions and asking others. A back and forth dance ensues, and it may stretch out over weeks or even months. Eventually, they get enough clarity about what the client needs to make a proposal and the project moves forward.

That may be the best case scenario. A lot of times those conversations peter out and nothing comes of it. That’s one way to land a project. It can work, but it’s not very efficient. Not having a process wastes time with prospective clients who may never pay you a dime. It’s also prone to missing important details or forgetting to ask questions that can cause problems down the road.

We talked about the importance of creating critical freelance systems, and that starts with how you secure clients and land projects. If you formalize and streamline that process, right from the beginning, you can be more efficient, more productive, and more profitable.

First Client Contact

You should have a formal process for what to do when you connect with a new prospective client. You need to figure out what they need, how serious they are and if you want to work with them. A good process will help you weed out bad clients and avoid nightmare projects.

A helpful part of this first contact is to mention a dollar amount: “Our minimum price for a website is $ X.” You’ll find out quickly how serious they are. You’ll also scare away bargain hunters.

Mentioning a minimum project cost is an initial client screening. You might have a script of a few preliminary questions to ask. Maybe you put together a short online form you ask prospective clients to fill out.

The end goal of this first contact is to schedule a client consultation meeting. If this sounds like a project you’re interested in, with a client that seems reasonable, and the budget is workable, then you need to sit down together and have a serious conversation.

What Is a Client Consultation Meeting?

A client consultation meeting is a focused meeting to move a prospective client from first contact to a proposal and, hopefully, a signed contract.

  • Get the details: It’s a limited, streamlined meeting that should tell you everything you need to know about starting a project with a client.
  • Work toward a proposal: It’s a chance to gather all the important details to make a proposal.
  • Know the client: It’s an opportunity to get to know the client and find out if they’re someone you want to do business with.

Let’s talk about what the consultation is not:

  • It’s not a sales pitch. OK, yes, you’re trying to sell your services. But more than that, this is a first date. You’re testing the waters of a relationship to see if this is something to pursue. Spend more time evaluating the client and less time pitching yourself.
  • It’s not to refine the client’s business plan. If the client doesn’t know what they need or what they’re doing, that’s a red flag. They don’t need a developer to build a website, they need a consultant to refine strategy. You can still do that work, but propose a discovery phase and not a website (or refer them to someone else).
  • It’s not to explain how. This meeting is to discover the client’s goals. Talk about what those are, don’t talk about how to meet them. How to meet those goals is what you get paid for.

Why Have a Client Consultation Meeting?

OK, so why is this meeting so important? A number of reasons:

  • It formalizes your process. If you want to be more efficient, more productive, and more profitable, you must have a specific freelance system. This is how you efficiently move clients from first contact to signed contract.
  • It lays the groundwork for a good project. A client consultation meeting is where you can set all the expectations for how the project is going to go. You’re setting up guidelines for the project that will keep the client on track (see more on the Terrible Client Protection Plan).
  • It can save you from trouble. Keeping the client on track can save you from costly detours, but some clients just can’t help themselves. A client consultation meeting will help you spot those red flags and avoid monster clients.
  • It can save you time. Ever spent hours agonizing over a proposal only to discover your price wasn’t even in the client’s ballpark? A client consultation puts a budget on the table. Ever spent hours in meetings with a client but never landed a project? A client consultation can help you push those vague meetings into a discovery phase where you get paid.
  • It gives you a script. If you’re nervous about meetings or worry about forgetting something, a client consultation meeting gives you a script. You don’t have to think about what to ask next, because it’s all spelled out.
  • It makes it easier to sell ongoing maintenance. While this meeting is primarily about vetting clients, it’s a chance to talk about the need for ongoing maintenance. It’s better to sell ongoing maintenance before a project than to spring it on a client afterward.
  • It shows your professionalism. All of this illustrates that you’re a serious, organized, professional developer. That should put clients at ease and make them more willing to sign a contract and get started.

How to Do a Client Consultation Meeting

So how do actually conduct a successful client consultation meeting? Nathan Ingram shared how he does client consultations during our recent Freelance Summit. Nathan uses the “SCOPE” acronym to define what needs to happen during the consultation meeting:

  • Scope: Learn enough about the project to create a proposal. This is where you ask questions—lots of questions—and it should take up the bulk of the meeting. (See more on 65 questions to ask during your next freelance client meeting.)
  • Chemistry: Determine if this is a client you can work with. This will happen throughout the meeting as you watch for red flags.
  • Ongoing: Explain the importance of your ongoing services. Take the opportunity to stress that a website needs ongoing maintenance and the client should plan for it now, either by hiring you to do it or being prepared to do it themselves.
  • Process: Set expectations by walking through your process. Let the client know what the next steps are and how you work.
  • Estimate: Provide a ballpark estimate and get client buy-in. You need to have a rough budget. If a client isn’t willing to talk about the budget, that’s a red flag.

You should be able to walk through these steps, including all the questions, in about an hour. That should give you enough information to understand what the project entails and create a proposal.

Remember that this is your meeting. You run it. Take charge and run through your agenda to make sure you’ve covered everything you need to. Don’t let the meeting drag on or get sidetracked. If a client is all over the place and doesn’t know what they want, then it might be more appropriate to propose a discovery phase where they pay you by the hour to sort out strategy as opposed to bumbling forward with a rudderless website project.

You want to minimize time spent with a client when you’re not getting paid. Yes, answer their questions, explain how your process works. But don’t get sucked into giving free consulting advice.

More Freelance Training

If you want more help for conducting client consultation meetings, check out the Freelance Summit. Veteran freelancer Nathan Ingram offers 11 hours of video training, including more detail on client consultations. The Freelance Summit videos cover process, profit, and productivity, and include sample files and templates.

Once you’ve finished a client consultation meeting you should know whether or not you want to do business. You’ll know the scope of the project, you’ll know if it’s in your wheelhouse and if you’re in the client’s budget. You’ll have a measure of who they are and if you’re willing to work with them.

If all is well, the next step is to put together a proposal. This is where you put everything in writing and get your client to sign a contract. For help with proposals and contracts, check out the Freelance Summit.

Learn more about the Freelance Summit

The post Client Consultation: How to Move From Contact to Contract appeared first on iThemes.

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Benefits Of Customizing Your WordPress Blog

With more and more new blogs on the rise, every one wants their blog to be unique and different from others. And to be different, one should be able to customize the blog as they want it. It is the ease of customizing ones blog as per their needs that makes WordPress a favourite among bloggers every where. WordPress offers constant updated services and products, that too, absolutely free of cost. There are several benefits of customizing your WordPress blog. Let us look at some of the most important benefits of using WordPress platform to create a blog on.

Hosting on WordPress

There is no dearth of CMS applications across the World Wide Web, but choosing WordPress over the others has its advantages. Building your blog on WordPress gives you access to numerous features for free. There are several widgets that you can design your blog with, great templates to pick from and the fact that it allows easy customization for all kinds of blogs makes it such a big hit among all.

Customizing WordPress

If you want to customize your blog through and through, then you must opt for WordPress. WordPress is so much customizable that you can convert any PSD into the WordPress theme. The fact that you can explore every feature and use it for your blog makes it a popular choice among all. All you need to do is start the download and install it for absolutely no cost. WordPress has a simple installation procedure that can be used by any beginner who isnt very technologically sound. This platform allows a free hosting for your blog and it doesnt need you to install it. It is almost like PSD to XHTML customization, you can convert and PSD in to 100% standards compliant, cross browser compatible and search engine friendly WordPress theme. With this process, however, there are a few functions that might not be available such as:
Complete Customization Customizing your blog with plug-ins and themes via third party lets you enhance the functionality and productivity of your blog.

WordPress and SEO With a free-hosted WordPress platform, there is a limitation of not being able to change the Search Engine Optimization capability of the blog. It is because on a free-hosted platform, one cannot install a third party plug-in.

Possibility for Advertising A self-hosted blog doesnt not really support advertisements.

Domain Name In case you already own a domain name, you might not be able to use it for free in your free-hosted blog. With the free WordPress blog, you have the liberty to come up with your own personalized domain name.

Free Science WordPress Themes Where To Find Them

Free Science WordPress Themes

  If you love to blog about anything science related, themes that revolve around the science plateau are very hard to come by.  Now saying that wordpress is the serious player over blogger by far, but they don’t offer science themes, we have put an end to that.  Our team has dedicated themselves in making some serious niche themes in the science field.  By the reaction of the public they seem to love them.  There are countless two and three column themes with incredible graphics.  Now what we did was went a step further, we made sure all themes were SEO’d from soup to nuts.  Not many free themes you see on the web do this.  Coding took much longer but we feel was well worth it.  We analyzed these before we listed them to the public.  The whole process was very time consuming, but we did this for a few reasons, a few years ago we tried a few free themes that we found and noticed that search engines would’nt really crawl the site after an article was published, we disected the coding and found that they were really junk.  So our team went to work and built some of the best free wordpress themes you will ever find.  We also carry premium themes but to be honest the only difference is the graphics and coding of them, they are 5% more search engine friendly.  Not that much of a difference but on our scale the free themes rank at 96% and the premium themes rank at 99.2%  these are much higher numbers then many php premium scripts.  Anotherwords you will NOT find a better seo theme out there.  Professionalism and dedication went into building these. 

 Health Theme Niches Great Themes For Categories

  You will notice on some of the best laid out graphics on any website.  To give you an idea they did’nt come from some photoshop these are paid pics that we initiated into the scenes, as well as made some necessary adjustments to align for better eye candy.  You know if the reader passes you by it’s because of the initial looks of the website.  We took that into consideration before releasing these.  From past experiences as a web designer we’ve seen some of the worst of the worst. Now from a professional standpoint-it does’nt take long to make corrections in this field.  Having a great looking blog is what it’s all about.  Everything was checked and rechecked for inclusion into our site.  We run a beta test on how a theme will perform in search engines before we list it.  The science theme is one of the most particuliar and diverse themes to have accomplished.  We had to take many things in to account,  with so many niches in this category, we had to really study the field before starting this project.  You can consider science being studying the human body or forensics or anthropology.  I think you get where I’m coming from, so we in no way had the time to cover each one so we combined some of the most popular and that’s where the graphics started.  Now we will be adding more on a monthly basis so stay tunes if you don’t see something you like, but keep this in mind, in other categories you will see right sidebar and left sidebar themes as well as widget ready and 3 and 4 column themes.  Check these before you leave as we might have used a specific graphic on these themes.  You will notice the colors are somewhat clearer and crisper then you might see elsewhere.  Remember the Science theme is one of the hardest to develop no matter if it’s paid or free.  Personally I think these are a great selection and we know how powerful the seo capabilities are.  So in lamens terms if you don’t like the graphics you can always change them they are very easy to do and you can do that in the header section.  One tip in getting maximum traffic is you can add many plugins to the site, and twitter tools is one priority you should use.  Once a post is made it will be automatically sent to twitter thus giving you a huge advantage for receiving targeted visitors.  Once your in the admin section of the blog go to where you see plugins and you can add any plugins you would like, we recommend google sitemap and seo plugin!  These will maximize the potential of your blog.  You can do so much with our free science themes.  You can use as many as you like. 

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How to convert PSD into WordPress template

In the field of website development, converting PSD to HTML can be done in various ways but the conversion of a PSD file into a functional WordPress template is a critical and different matter. Proper and advanced coding and programming skills are required if you wish to use your Photoshop designs as a WordPress template.

With the help of PSD to WordPress conversion services, one can add more creativity plus professionalism in his web portal. Select most suitable marketing strategy in order to secure position of web portal in highly competitive online market. There are several ways to convert a PSD to HTML.  However, the process of converting a PSD file into a functional WordPress template is a different matter.

PSD to WordPress conversion is one of the crucial factors of successful web development. While it might be tempting to think transferring designs from PSD to WordPress is easy if you know a little bit of coding, it is actually much more complicated due to a heavy reliance on CSS and the need to create separate theme files for all the different theme components. But the truth is, PSDs are difficult to manage because they are useless until they are converted into WP.

WordPress is a user-friendly application that can be used easily but if we take professional PSD to WordPress conversion services, we can enjoy additional benefits, such as semantic html markup, valid w3c compliant code and commented style sheets that are beneficial to the website. Moreover, Cross browser compatible coding that enhances the websites performance.

Once we have the perfect design for your WordPress website, we can convert our design – a PSD into a WordPress high quality theme. This is extremely helpful when you have an existing website.

Below is the step-by-step process each theme goes through:

* Analyzing your PSD

* Breaking the PSD into HTML

* Slicing Images and Taking Measurements

* Adding CSS Magic to Our HTML Framework

* Add PHP and WordPress functions to enable the features your theme requires

* Perform browser compatibility testing for all major browsers and their respective versions

* Tweak your code, and Keep Building

At Biztech Consultancy we  provides high quality css slicing service, html coding service and converting PSD to HTML, PSD to xHTML, CSS, PSD to WordPress theme, PSD to joomla, PSD to magento and PSD to drupal conversion services.

WordPress Blogging Tip – Get Known in a Huge Way Using Social Networks

Get your WordPress blog known quickly and in a huge way by using  the Social Networks – like Twitter and Facebook. You can have your posts go automatically to both so your friends and followers will be alerted when you have posted something new. 

Use Twitter Tools in your WordPress blog to have your posts go to Twitter automatically,  Then hook up Twitter and Facebook with the Twitter application in Facebook.  Another great social network to use is FriendFeed.  It’s really gaining in popularity and just recently it was announced that Facebook bought it.  It’s really up and coming and you can set it up to get your tweets automatically – all of them.  Not just your blog posts.  It’s easy to build a presence there too with the auto tweet feature.

Use the WordPress plugin Share This to let your readers send your posts around the net to their favorite social networks and social bookmarking sites.  In Share This your reader can also e-mail your post to their friends!  Three automatic ways to get your posts out on the web and all you have to do is set them up once.

After your post has gone to Twitter and Facebook, go to your account in each network and talk about your post.  Since people are on the social networks at different times of the day, it is fine to talk about what has already been sent automatically.  Even your followers and friends don’t see everything that appears in their stream.

Ask your friends and followers to retweet for you.  When you can get people to retweet for you, you put yourself in front of all their followers too.  A few retweets can get you in front of many thousands of people and get new followers for you too.

Don’t neglect the social networks as time wasters.  They are not. 

Best Premium WordPress Themes – 5 Quick Tips For Choosing The Right Theme

One of the most debated questions I hear in forums is where to find the best premium WordPress themes, as well as what exactly makes premium  themes that much better to free themes. In this article I am going to provide you with five quick tips to consider when going premium.

Tip 1 – Be Supported!

Most premium themes, if not all, come with a great level of support. This is an advantage these kind of themes bring to the mix. By having theme support you can have peace of mind, that should you need help it will be there for you.

Tip 2 – Get a Professional Design

Best premium WordPress themes are also clearly evident by the way they are designed. Unlike most free themes, the look and feel of premium themes are more elegant, professional-looking and come with a variety of customizable styles. Really good to have if you don’t want your website looking like your typical, run-of-the-mill “template” structure.

Tip 3 – Is it Extensible?

If the theme developer has taken the time to produce a well-constructed and robust theme, then the functionality should be in place to extend the theme as you need it to. Whether it be adding more widgets or customizing the header of your site, check the features and make sure this option is possible. A good indicator is to have these available through the WP dashboard and NOT having to get your hands dirty in the code.

Tip 4 – Search Engine Love

Search engine visibility will be key to your websites performance and ultimate success. Remember to make sure that the theme you’re considering comes “SEO-ready”. By doing this you will make sure that your site will be found by search engines.

Tip 5 – Read Reviews

Remember, that a for a theme to fall under the “best premium WordPress themes” category, you best bet that it would have gained some kind of reputation. Be sure to read the reviews of users that have purchased the theme before you and read carefully the kind of experiences they’ve had with the theme in question. Also, confirm that the developer actually responds to the questions that arise – this will show that they’re active and actually care about their customers experiences.

If you follow the above tips, you will avoid making the wrong decision when choosing the best premium WordPress themes from whichever marketplace you choose to go to.

7 Tips To Convert Psd To WordPress

PSD to WordPress conversion is top-notch solution for creating WordPress theme from a Photoshop in order to get search engine friendly blogging web portal.

1.Analyze PSD file: First of all, a web programmer analyze the PSD format based file completely and find out whether it is simple or complicated. In fact, this phase is all about planning the steps will be involved PSD to WordPress conversion process such as splitting mock up into HTML, adding CSS codes, header, footer then images.

2.Break PSD into HTML: A web developer break everything into divisions in order to make HTML mock up more simple. A web programmer create wrapper div, header div and comment (for dynamic WordPress code). In addition to that, a web coder break body, logo, website name and main image into own divs. After breaking them a web developer add an unordered list for navigation.

3.Slice PSD file: Slicing of PSD based web templates in layers is one of the crucial part of WordPress theme/ template integration and customization. A web programmer open files need to sliced in Photoshop (image editing software) or any other imaging compatible software. After slicing an image, a web coder is able to add or remove buttons, links, text boxes. In addition to that, one can even change background, image, color without any hassle. The sliced PSD format based file then saved as bitmap, JPEG, GIF or any other compatible format.

4.File Structure: Create separate files named as index.html (HTML codes), style.css (CSS styling codes), index.php (PHP codes).

5.PSD into HTML and CSS: Since, the PSD file cannot be uploaded in your website and therefore, the sliced image coded with high quality HTML then CSS.

6.Integrate HTML/ CSS by WordPress: Once, the PSD files converted into HTML and CSS then a web developer integrate static design dynamic WordPress template/ theme.

7.Testing: Testing a web page in browsers plays very significant role in PSD to WordPress conversion process. Once, the PSD to WordPress integration and customization process gets over then final WordPress page tested thoroughly on various Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera in order to check its accessibility.

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3 Easy Ways to Set Up a Customer Review Site WordPress Provides For You

WordPress is a great tool for obtaining feedback from customers and prospects on your website, the deals you offer, your services, or anything else that might be related to your business. Here are three easy ways to exploit the advantages WordPress provides you with.

What is WordPress?

WordPress can be installed on your website. Once installed, find a suitable template according to your design and get people to review your website or any of the products and services featured in it. In fact, you can ask for their opinion on anything else that might be related to your business. It is best to familiarize yourself with the tools WordpPress provides you with before you try using them. You can consult a webmaster for creating a WordPress template for your website. It is very important that you know what you are doing if you want to utilize the resources WordPress has for you to see the best results.

Choosing the Correct Theme

Once you install WordPress on your site, make sure you select the most appropriate theme according to your requirements and the interests of the people who will be most commonly providing you with the feedback. Generally, you can find the options related to WordPress on the cPanel of your web hosting space under the “blogs” section. Check the choice of options and select a theme to best suit your web-pages.

Customize It to Make It Look Professional

You might be able to find a lot of themes for WordPress on the internet. However, make sure your selected theme looks professional enough for the people to consider your site with importance and provide their feedback for your business. While you can get the theme designed by a professional for around $ 500, templates are available on the internet for downloads that cost around $ 75 or so.

You can however create your own professional WordPress themes to use if you think it will be able to show you results you are looking for your business. WordPress is a very effective way to refine your success, and being knowledgeable about it can show great results.

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Define Your Budgetary Figure Before Hiring Dedicated WordPress Developer

Is defining budgetary figure before hiring dedicated WordPress developer necessary? If yes then why. It is always recommended to define budgetary figure before hiring virtual assistance of a dedicated WordPress Programmer. The reason is simple – half planning will adversely affect the final outputs of the project. Therefore, taking aid of virtual WordPress developer would be an intelligent decision only if an individual have a clear picture in his mind regarding budget figure and constraints, specific business requirement and minimum turnaround time.

W3C compliance and HTML codes are considered the prime foundation of a good website powered by open source WordPress CMS. We all know that converting PSD into WordPress theme/template while maintaining highest level of quality and accuracy within minimum turnaround time demands well experienced virtual WordPress developer. A proficient WordPress programmer is very well indulged in working with the open source WordPress CMS and seamlessly familiar with all the latest WordPress trends capturing the current market.

The WordPress driven themes/templates are designed and developed by pixel perfect, error-less, semantic, hand coded HTML/XHTML/CSS mark-up languages. For developing, integration, customization and proper functioning of WordPress driven web portal, it is required to hire virtual assistance of professionally skilled and well committed WordPress programmer with 5+ years of experience on an average. A well committed WordPress expert is the right person who can professionally address and serve an individual ever-growing PSD to WordPress requirement with best possible result-oriented solution in the more organized and professional manner.

Quick glance at the key points to be keep in mind to carry out a project with WordPress developer:

Be specific to PSD to WordPress project requirements
Define budget figure and constraints
Check whether technical support is free or not
Cost of hiring WordPress developers
Turnaround time
Availability at the time of emergency

It is recommended to clear your fixed budget project figure and constraints prior hiring web programmer from web development company in order to avoid any risk related to over budget. The reason is simple – there is always a possibility that your total project cost may exceed by set budget figure while execution of PSD to WordPress project. In essence, it is really very pre-requisite to define budgetary figure before hiring virtual assistance of a dedicated WordPress Programmer.

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Preferred Website To Find Out High quality WordPress Themes or templates

WordPress can be an absolutely free, open-source individual publishing method that allows that you simply build a complicated website, or internet log, on your own site. Designed in PHP and held by a Mysql database database, Wp gives user-friendly administrative equipment and superior design characteristics that make it all to easy to develop along with integrate a private or specialized blog on your own web-site.

Writing a blog has come to be a well-liked method to advertise an internet site or even item. Current each day, together with fresh as well as relevant substance, excellent blog writers can swiftly make a large subsequent. Like a malware, the popularity associated with both the website as well as the writers web page, may spread along with develop. The only issue is, it requires loads of time, power and know-how to properly manage any weblog. Numerous enterprise owners are generally turning to Hubpages Search engine optimization services to make certain their Hubpages blog or web page can be as productive as you possibly can.

You’ll find a number of edge other than printing itself, buying a premium theme provides you to be able to make your blog exceptional. This is necessary when designing a 1st feeling to your customers. For those who don’t grab your own prospects awareness the rather 1st time, it will be hard to do consequently later on.

There are numerous on the web web sites and also person web-developers offering good quality WordPress themes both at free of charge or cost-effective rates. You may get other software including premium wordpress pluginersus, ecommerce themes and so on via on the internet web sites. Even though choosing coming from on the internet websites, ensure that the web page is especially reliable along with authentic. There’d be a few scam internet sites offering inferior wordpress themes with considerable charges. Clinch the services of program computer software authorities to get a crystal clear picture regarding wordpress themes and it is installation. As you can come across numerous sites on the internet, you are going to locate it problematical to select essentially the most expense efficient and traditional website pertaining to prominent wordpress themes.

Skillfully intended along with created and also WordPress themes, wordpress pluginutes and joomla ! templates can easily flourish websites. WordPress theme programmers with in-depth know-how about the web atmosphere give high quality services for working with WordPress in a very productive along with professional fashion to suit your particular person requirements. That they brings the dynamic options that come with WordPress themes by way of effortless installment practice, medical and thorough optimization along with dedicated along with devoted Live journal hosting companies.Checkout great headway theme review , then check out wp robot discount code .

Checkout great catalyst theme, then check out wordpress framework .

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