Project Management September 19, 2023 by Laura Elizabeth
I remember getting my first MacBook.
I was 17 and had just started a course in graphic design. Like many people, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up so I never had the latest, well, anything.
But my mum was adamant that I needed a laptop for college. And not just any old laptop, it had to be an Apple Mac.
Back then, MacBooks weren’t yet commonplace for your Average Joe. They were industry-standard machines for graphics and film.
So getting one at 17 was a pretty big deal.
We took the train into the city and walked into the Apple Store (you didn’t even need an appointment) and my mum bought me the most beautiful MacBook with a pink case.
I remember walking out of the shop feeling so excited, proud, and grateful. I couldn’t wait to get my new machine home and start my journey to becoming a World-Famous Graphic Designer.
These days, buying a new MacBook isn’t quite as exciting.
Every few years I start to yearn for a new machine that has some feature that I’ve decided I cannot live without. So I made the decision to buy the latest, greatest MacBook. I like to delay my gratification so I make myself wait and try to recreate some of the initial excitement of my younger years.
Except it never works.
There’s something about ordering a MacBook online that falls a bit flat. I’m at my house. I fill out a shipping form, enter my credit card details, click “Purchase” and then I have to wait 3-5 business days and hope I’m at home when the delivery guy arrives.
Paying money and not getting anything immediately is underwhelming.
And it’s not dissimilar to hiring an agency and paying a deposit as a client.
You go through the sales process, get all excited about the future of your business and decide you’re going to commit.
You then pay a deposit and… crickets.
How can you turn paying a deposit into a better experience
Most service providers aren’t able to start new projects right away. In all likelihood, there will be a bit of a wait before the project kicks off.
So you need the client to pay their deposit to secure the space in your calendar and help with company cash flow.
But paying a deposit is always somewhat underwhelming. You pay a decent chunk of money and have to wait potentially months to see anything back.
So how can you turn the experience of paying a deposit into something that taps into the dopamine hit that someone gets when committing to something new?
The deposit stage is a perfect opportunity to give your client something tangible that will get them closer to their goals AND help you in the process.
Here are two things you should do when a client pays their deposit:
1) Reach out to them personally as quickly as you can welcoming them to the project, introducing them to your team, and telling them what to expect next.
There’s nothing worse than paying a deposit and not hearing anything from the team. You don’t want to give the impression that you are responsive during the sales process but not after you’ve closed the deal.
Having a (mostly) templated email ready to go and spending a couple of minutes personalising it is an exercise that would take a few minutes but benefit you and make your client feel like a priority.
2) Give them something tangible as a deliverable immediately
Part of the reason buying a new laptop isn’t as exciting these days is because I’m not walking out of a shop with a box in my hand with the items I’ve just paid for inside.
It’s the same when paying a deposit. Many clients are investing a decent portion of their revenue into you – hoping that you will help them solve whatever problem they’re currently facing.
So if you can give them something tangible – preferably on the payment confirmation page (or shortly after) this will help reinforce that they made the right decision in hiring you.
What you can offer your clients as an immediate deliverable after paying a deposit
The deliverable doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, it shouldn’t be because they’re hiring you for custom work, not some cookie-cutter solution.
Some things you can offer include:
- A Getting Started Guide which details how the process works, frequently asked questions, and any next steps
- Any preliminary work that the client needs to complete before the start date. This could be a more detailed questionnaire or an invitation to any collaboration tools you use.
- Educational resources that give the client a deeper understanding of what you do and how it could help benefit their business (e.g. a beginners guide to SEO, if you’re an SEO agency)
- A welcome video
- A PDF checklist or useful cheatsheet
Client Portal is the perfect first deliverable for your clients
One of the more under-the-radar benefits of Client Portal is how it can turn paying a deposit into something exciting and useful for your clients.
You could automatically create a portal for your client as soon as they pay their deposit. This portal could include any (or all) of the above deliverables along with an insight into what else will be available when you start your project.
For example, say you’re a web designer and have just landed a new client. You could give them a portal that looks like this:
In this portal, your client would have access to:
- A welcome video and getting started guide
- A series of intake questionnaires for them to fill out
- Cheat sheets on how to make the project work even better for them
The greyed-out sections would be the upcoming deliverables like the prototype and style guide. They can clearly see at-a-glace what to expect.
By using Client Portal, you can flip the underwhelming experience of paying a deposit on its head and give your client something that they weren’t expecting and that they will find helpful throughout the project and beyond.
When you build in little bits of delight like this throughout your project, it sets you apart from any other service provider they’ve worked with.
Interested in using Client Portal to give your clients a deliverable like this? Give it a try today! We have a 30-day refund policy so if you try it and it doesn’t work for you, you get your money back. Check out Client Portal here.
Client Portal is an excellent tool to use. It takes the hassle out of constantly thinking "did I forget something?" when onboarding a new client, not to mention it saves time and mitigates frustration during the project.
“Within days of using Client Portal, I had a few project templates created, went live with it, and clients absolutely love it! But I love it the most because it keeps them on track, keeps everyone organized, and is so easy to use. I should have purchased it much sooner!”