Many designers have told me they are having problems closing a sale with a prospective client. The client seems eager to start work on their project, but when it comes time to seal the deal they back off and say they’ll think about it. The designer is left holding the bag, perhaps without even collecting a consultation fee.
In the world of salesmanship, the Holy Grail is “the close.” There are literally dozens of books and hundreds of articles on how to close a sale. There’s even a “Sales Closings for Dummies”! For the most part, these authors stress maintaining your confidence, keeping a tenacious grip on the buyer, and varying your offer until you find one that finally lands the fish. That approach might work for selling shoes, but it’s probably not going to get you very far.
My experience has taught me that the close will come if you are selling the client throughout the entire process. By selling, I don’t mean talking the client into something they don’t want. On the contrary, to sell successfully you have to take the time to get to know the client and learn about them and what they truly need. You will also get a feel for what they have in mind as a budget or price point. In the course of the conversation you can begin to suggest solutions to the client and see how they react and then adjust as necessary. By the time you are done, the close will simply be the summing up of what the client has already decided on.