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Do you have an intro packet for your design business?An intro packet is a tool you use to land new clients and facilitate the client onboarding process. It can either be a dedicated page on your website, a detailed PDF or better yet, a well designed and nicely printed piece to hand out to potential clients.
An intro packet is a great way to create a good first impression of who you are and what you do. It answers basic questions, sets expectations and gives clients a first look at what it will be like working with you. It’s also a good tool to filter out clients that are not a good fit for your business.
In the last episode of the podcast, I told you all about the client onboarding process and how having a good onboarding process is crucial to landing new design clients. A good intro packet is the foundation of that important onboarding process.
What’s in an intro packet?
Think of your intro packet as well designed piece containing all the introductory information you normally give to potential clients. Not detailed information like what goes into your proposals and contracts. Instead, the intro packet contains an outline of what you do and what it will be like working with you.
- Your payment policies
- Time frames
- How you work
- What you expect from your clients
It answers those basic initial questions a client needs to know before they start discussing their project with you.
The intro packet should be the very first thing you present to a client before agreeing to talk to them about their proposed project. Its purpose is to outline the big picture of what working with you will be like. It also saves you time by providing clients with answers to the most asked questions you receive saving you having to answer them personally.
When should you send an intro packet?
The intro packet should be one of the first steps in the client onboarding process right after the initial client inquiry. Your onboarding process should look like this:
- Client contacts you
- Send them your intro packet
- Meet the client to discuss their design project
- Proposal and contracts are sent
- Send the client a welcome packet (more on this in a future episode in this series)
- Start the project.
Whenever a client emails you, fills out a form on your website or contacts you by phone, your first response should be to send them your intro packet and ask them to look it over before you schedule a meeting with them. This will accomplish one of two things.
1. It will ensure the client they’ve made a good choice in reaching out to you and strengthen their resolve to work with you.
2. It let the client know that you are not a good fit and save you both a lot of time and possible headaches.
The purpose of an intro packet.
An intro packet serves multiple purposes.
- It introduces clients to who you are and sets expectations as to what they can expect when working with you. This helps alleviate fears or anxieties they may have and make them more confident in working with you.
- It saves you both time. Presenting your process in a well-organized manner makes future communications between you and your client both faster an smoother.
- It establishes you as an expert and authority in your field. It also helps strengthen the brand image you are developing for your design business.
- It creates a great first impression that shows clients you are organized, thorough, capable and professional.
- It helps you screen potential clients before having to talk to them. After reading your policies and learning how you work a client may decide not to work with you, which saves you the time involved in figuring that out yourself, or worse not figuring it out until it’s too late.
- It gives you a chance to show off your skills because your introductory packet isn’t just a sheet of paper with info on it. It should be a well-designed piece to wow potential clients with your skills as a designer.
Imagine this scenario. A client needs help developing a brand for a new restaurant he's opening. He chooses three different local designers and emails them in order to get a feel for each one before deciding on who to hire.
Designer #1 replies to the email saying they would love to sit down and talk with him about his project. When could they meet?
Designer #2 calls the client and tells him all about his design services before trying to schedule an in-person meeting with the client. While on the phone he explains his work process, how payments work and anything else he thinks the client should know. The designer thinks he did a thorough job and feels good about his chances of landing the client. However, the client can’t remember half the details after hanging up the phone. Plus now he's committed to a meeting a designer he's still unsure about.
Designer #3 Calls the client and thanks him for considering her for his project. The designer expresses an interest in working with the client and offers to send him her intro packet. The designer explains to the client that the intro packet contains all the information he needs in order to make an informed decision of whether he would like to work with her on his project. She suggests he look it over, and if he has any questions he can call her back and she would be happy to answer them. If the client thinks they’ll be a good fit he can set up a meeting with her to discuss the project more thoroughly.
Which one of these scenarios do you think leaves the best impression on the client? The first designer barely deserves a second thought. Designer #2 sounded good, but the client is a little overwhelmed and is starting to forget most of what they talked about. Designer #3 however, conducted themselves in the most professional manner, provided the client with all the information they required in the form of a well-designed info packet showcasing her design skills. This gives the client the chance to review her information on his own terms, letting him decide without any pressure if he wants to set up a meeting with her to discuss his project further.
If the client decides to move forward with designer #3, he does so with the knowledge of what he's getting into. Should he decide to use a different designer, then designer #3 only lost a few minutes of her time in the initial communication.
They say it costs five times more in time and effort to acquire a new client than to simply keep an existing client. The best way to retain clients is to properly set expectations from the beginning and then meet, or exceed them. An intro packet is a perfect tool to help with this. It makes sure you are not wasting time and energy on bad clients and helps you make favourable impressions on good clients.
By setting high standards from the first contact and following through with great service, you are sure to keep your clients coming back for more.
How to create your intro packet.
When creating your intro packet you want it to be thorough enough to inform your clients and answer their basic questions, but you also want it to be generic enough to work for all clients regardless of their project.
The same intro packet could be used regardless of who the client is. A mom and pop looking for a logo for their corner store, or a 5 partner law firm opening up downtown will both receive the same intro package. However, if you offer multiple design services such as web and print design, you may want to create different intro packets for each one. There will be a lot of crossover for the common areas such as how and when clients can contact you.
Your intro packet should include:
Cover: This is your chance to show off your design skills. Make the cover interesting and professional looking but not too wild.
Introduction: There’s a good chance the client already knows who you are and what you do, but an intro packet is a good place to showcase your skills and talents to round out their impression of you.
Contact info and contact policies: Set the rules of how you communicate with clients and when it’s OK for them to contact you.
What is your process: In this section, you explain how you work and what the client will receive from you at the completion of a project. List special features you may include. List the steps that take place before, during and after a project.
You can also use this section to explain what is not included in your process. Make it clear to the client what it is you do AND what you don’t do.
What is expected of the client: This section tells the client what is expected of them. Make it very clear that if the project requires the client to supply content such as images or copy, that it is expected in a timely manner.
Timeline: Explain how you work and how long certain processes take. If you need three weeks for discovery to research target markets and competition, let the client know so they don’t expect to see results in a week.
Payment: This section explains your pricing policy. Do you require partial or full payment up front? When is the balance due? Do you have a minimum price the client should know about? This section is very useful for weeding out clients below your required budget.
Cancellation policy: This section explains what happens should the client cancel a project once started, or should the client go dormant for a certain period of time.
FAQ: Use this section to answer frequent questions you receive from clients that don't fit in any of the other sections.
Conclusion: Use this section to thank the potential client for their interest in working with you. Encourage them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns and let them know what steps are required if they want to proceed and hire you.
Remember, the client onboarding process is your opportunity to convert potential new clients into paying clients. Your intro packet is the first step in that process. Keep your wording compelling enough, but don’t presume you will be working with the client because you might not. Be vague, but use a language inclusive to building a relationship with them.
The intro packet is a vital part of the client onboarding process. Make sure yours is up to par.
Do you have an intro packet?
Let me know how your intro packet is working for you by leaving a comment for this episode.
Questions of the Week
Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.
This week’s question comes from John
Do you have any clients that listen to your podcast and if they do are you worried that they will get upset if you mention your business with them?
To find out what I told John you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Resource of the week Palettte.app
Palettte.app is an interesting way to explore and create colour palettes for use in your design projects. Check it out and let me know what you think.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org