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Want to Avoid Undesirable Projects? Ask the Right Questions

Every web designer has the ideal sort of client and project they want to work with. Whether it’s a project that will utilize a specific CMS or working with a client in a particular industry, we all have our comfort zone.

But many of us are contacted with opportunities that aren’t going to be a great fit. It might be that their timeline is too tight, budget too low or their project isn’t within our niche. On its own, that’s all well and good.

The problem is that it’s possible to waste a lot of time to conclude that a potential client isn’t going to work out. For example, you may go as far as meeting with them and writing a detailed proposal, only to realize that this is not a project you want to take on.

So, how can you come to this conclusion a lot sooner? One of the best ways to weed out the undesirables is to start asking questions.

Get to the Point

In the quest to be polite, it can seem a bit rude to start asking the tough questions right away. And, there may be some truth to that, as it’s hard to build a good relationship by interrogating someone.

Nonetheless, it is possible to be both cordial and direct. Depending on your personality, this may be difficult to do on the phone or in person. That’s certainly true in my case, which is why I prefer to keep the process limited to email communication – at least until I have an idea that the project is worth pursuing.

Email provides a medium where it’s possible to be friendly, yet ask very direct questions. You don’t have to use fancy wording or over-complicate things. The simpler the question, the better chance you’ll get a useful answer.

Start off with just a few queries that paint a broad picture of the project. For example, questions like:

    • What’s your budget?
    • What’s your timeline for finishing the project?
    • Do you need to accept online payment

These types of questions are short, sweet and specific. They will get you better results than something overly-general, such as:

  • at are the details of your project?

Beating around the bush just prolongs the process and makes it more difficult to determine if this is a project you want to take on.

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