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Consultancy Week Calls
Consultancy calls are a way for teams and founders to get high quality design advice. Truth and honesty is key on these calls.
Leads know: Typically the client has browsed our website and projects. One or more projects has resonated with them and a degree of trust is already built.
Leads don't know: They don't know if Deep Work may or may not be a fit.
Leads want to know: How to solve their unique problem and approach their product design strategy.
As a Creative Director you should have an understanding of how Deep Work operates and be able to address each of the points above from your personal experience and knowledge. Optimize for giving prospects helpful advice.
Typically clients receive a referral to Deep Work from an external party. This can be from a past client or an informed member of the blockchain space (e.g. an investor). Often they are aware of the projects or results we've produced or know someone who is.
Our clients are currently early stage with the following profile:
- Raised a seed round of ~$1million and is ready to invest in design.
- We're talking directly to the founders and technical team.
- They normally do not have a designer or product manager.
- Working on a highly technical problem.
We've had little success with projects that have a design budget below $20,000 or have raised Series A, beyond and Enterprise. The two most common reasons:
- Team has a design team in place and doesn't need to outsource, speed is no longer the preference.
- Our sales process is not designed for multiple layers of decision makers and works best when we're talking directly to founders who understand the urgency and importance of design.
We've made a clear decision not to focus our energy on this audience. If one books a call, we still follow our standard process but communicate these points clearly. We then review whether creating a solution with Deep Work is advisable or push to talk to the decision makers before we do.
- 1.Always be honest
- 2.Always be capturing
Before the call starts:
Before the call, research the client for at least five minutes - gather basic knowledge form their landing page or try using the app for context. You can typically find out the project name from their email address on the calendar invite. You can also search LinkedIn, Google and Twitter to check who's on the call - e.g. founder or technical lead.
Once the call starts, you can use the following as a script. This isn't about exact words, but following the stages of the script and using your unique knowledge and authenticity impromptu.
Make sure you write notes during the call. A Google Doc will be attached to a prospect application message in Discord.
Make the client feel comfortable, tell a bit about yourself as part of Deep Work
Your aim is to get the client talking as much as possible about their project. Try to minimise what you say unless you're presenting, answering a specific question or understand exactly how Deep Work's offering fits in the conversation.
Here are some questions to get the conversation started:
- What are you working on?
- Do you have an existing product?
- What are your biggest bottlenecks?
You can add deeper questions at this stage, such as:
- Where do you need help?
- Who are your users?
- Do you have feedback from users?
- Do you have multiple user's you need to create an interface for?
You can also add to this list of questions in your notes to make sure you get as much information as you can.
Make sure you make notes as you listen to the client!
You will later use your notes to understand their goals and create a proposal.
- You can make notes on things to say during the presentation. Showing how it will solve their problems:
- E.g. a client says they used a designer before, but what they created didn't work - you point out how that won't happen with us because the domain experts (the client) is inputting to create the solution.
Clients often don't know exactly how to approach their design strategy. In some cases it's faster and more affordable to work with a single freelancer, rather than an agency.
Sometimes product design is not necessary given the stage of development or financial resources.
Try to find the core challenges and recommend next steps.
If the client hasn't heard of Deep Work before and doesn't even exactly know what Deep Work does, make sure you present the value points of Deep Work. We used to use a presentation, but now go straight into details and demos. Using the following process:
- Mention that our design process is a scientific approach consisting of three phases: workshops, design and user testing.
- Show an end example of a completed project that is relevant - e.g. live website, app, Figma file.
- Introduce Deep Work as built for technical teams and founders in blockchain, such as X, as the most exciting products and filling a gap.
- Show how the workshops look on a Miro board.
- Explain 'we work differently to agencies and freelancers'
- 'Technical experts in the design process - rather than designers trying to understand stuff they can’t!'
- 'Faster results, no feedback, less frustrating, no knowledge transfer.'
Go through the process swiftly and watch their reactions. If they drift off and don't pay attention, skip through details.
- Describe prototyping - they look like the real product
- Describe user testing - validates the concept for product-market-fit
Do not go into excessive details until the next stage when we know specifically where clarity is needed.
If they have questions, note them down so you can cover them. Most often their questions can be answered by showing specific examples of a previous (similar) project.
Answering Client Questions:
6) Project Brief - Ask the client the following questions. (5 mins)
You can skip if already asked or the client gave context before. If you're unsure, clarify at this stage.
The following information is essential to create a proposal!
- What is their budget for the design work?
- If they don't have one or you sense an awkward silence, say "The Hypersprint itself is productised and we charge $X USD (check with the latest pricing), however, each client is unique and we'll create a quote with multiple options and deliverables".
- How important is visual design/fidelity (the look and feel of the product)?
- If it's important, a visual design iteration with a second user test is a good choice. This is also the case if you have a sense that one week/iteration might not be enough if the concept is very complex and potentially requires additional screens.
- Is the goal of the prototype to share the concept with investors or to implement it straight away?
- Implementation might require a component library. Double check if that's the case.
- Do they know if they are designing for mobile or desktop?
- If both, that should be included in the scope.
- Is there a live interface or are there existing designs?
- If yes, it might be worth user testing upfront.
- Do you have any other questions for us?
6) Suggest an approach to structure the project
- With the information you've gathered, suggest a rough approach to the project. It doesn't need to be very specific at this point but it always helps providing a cost estimation.
- For example: Since you have an existing interface, we'll start with user testing so we have more data for the collaboration sessions. We'll run a Hypersprint to test and validate an improved UX. Since getting the UX right is super important, we'll run a UX iteration week.
- Explain the deliverables the client will get:
- For example: you'll recieve prototype designs which we'll validate twice. Your development team can implement them straight from Figma.
- See if they have any feedback or need anything else.
7) Tell them what happens next
After the call you will start preparing the proposal and calculating the cost. Both will be sent to their email.
"I've got everything I need to create a proposal and quote. I'll include the option and cost of adding a component library compared with only the design sprint, etc.""I'll send it by email by [give realistic estimate with your current workload]"
Creating the proposal should take no more than two days - proposals have to be prioritised to give the client precise information as soon as possible. This should also reflect Deep Work's agility and speed of work.
You can also give them an estimation of when the project is likely to start and the payment terms.
"If the proposal and quote is good, we can normally start [give realistic expectation]""To start the project we typically invoice 50% upfront (unless the project is longer with milestones) and a simple Statement of Work"."That's the only admin, there's no need to do anything else as we onboard your team and everything starts on the collaboration. No need to create briefs or prepare."
At that point you can say your goodbyes and thank-you's.
8) After the call
Here's an example of a good debrief:
Known us/Andrej for some time.Need a web presence that communicates what they do, the amazing partners, team and shows users their roadmap. Moving away from a perception of no team or a chance of being a scam.Very keen to do a landing page sprint and visual iteration (visual important as want particular game/pixel based style).However, were extremely disappointed when I communicated a first possible start date would be sometime in March.Were honest that they'll need to look elsewhere to find a quicker turnaround.