BizCraft Episode 29: Client Management Tips, Saying No & Working with SEO

BizCraft Ep27

Play or Download this Episode (Recorded on 10/18/2013)

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About the Show

This is BizCraft, the podcast about the business side of web design, recorded live almost every two weeks. Your hosts are Carl Smith (@carlsmith) of nGen Works and Gene Crawford (@genecrawford) of UnmatchedStyle.

Episode Overview

We talked about:

Some client management stuff:

  • PMs in the new biz process – a must
  • Clean Slate – don’t bring baggage into a new client relationship
  • Promises? Clarity rules, don’t walk away with a shadow of a doubt.
  • Must Win vs. Checklist clients
  • Start The Tough Conversations
  • It’s all about leverage

A Simple Guide to Saying No

So, here’s my general strategy for how to say no:
Be honest and direct. A no is a no, and that should be communicated in the first or second sentence and not something that needs to be read between the lines. Talk about what you are prioritizing instead. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but it should be true. Few things are ever no in a vacuum, so it tends to be about the tradeoffs, and people get that. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in the opportunity but can’t pursue it at the moment, mention that the no is for right now. In the future, who knows? Don’t prematurely rule out possibilities if you think things might change.

Questions from the Kids

From: Tim Macholz

Hey Gene & Carl,

I’m a partner at a small web shop. We’ve spent the last few years working for smaller clients designing and building websites,
but after launching them, they tend to flounder due to poor (or zero) ongoing management and optimization. We’ve recently begun developing a strategy to offer our clients the full package (web design, content strategy, email marketing, SEO, SEM, social, etc.). After trying to tackle some of this ourselves, we’ve decided we’d rather focus on what we’re good at, and bring in outside help for SEO, marketing, etc.

My question is, do you have any thoughts on how far you should take a project? Do you simply provide a product (website, app) and send it off into the hands of the client? And do you have any suggestions for providing these services to clients that don’t have the infrastructure to handle those aspects of running an online presence?

Really interested in your approach to the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t quite fall into typical web design, per se.

Love the show. Can’t get enough! Thanks!

Working with an SEO or Digital Strategist
By Aaron Mentele of Electric Pulp

“It’s not uncommon to find ourselves in a competitive bid situation against a much larger agency. The clear advantage they’d have over us was a more complete skill set. Their proposals would detail ongoing services, and ours would detail a product. We’d be characterized as the “boutique design shop,” and it was often up to us to be so much cheaper that the client would give us a shot.”

Beers from the end of the show

Gene: Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Carl: Nuthin’ – he’s getting healthy or some crap…

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Gene Crawford

With over a decade of experience in the industry he has overseen the design and architecture of hundreds of web sites and applications. An active member in the design community, he's the editor & producer of, the ConvergeSE, ConvergeFL, ConvergeRVA and the Breaking Development conference series.