Let’s say you’re introduced to a potential client by a friend. You chat, they seem really interested in the work you can do. Don’t sour the budding relationship by telling them “send me a project brief”!
First off, not all clients know what a project brief is. The ones that do often have an adverse reaction to it, similar to being called to the CEO’s office for no reason.
Those fears aren’t unfounded, of course. Project briefs are rarely brief and are often hard to put together. Often they’d rather off load that work to you, the developer. But of course, you can’t create a proposal if you don’t know what exactly the client wants you to do.
Why not make it easier for them then? Just send a short questionnaire with a few questions and take it from there. Better yet chat with them and ask them personally, or talk it over like an interview. You’ll build a relationship and close the deal much more easily.
You only need to ask these five guide questions (six if you count the optional one) to get the same information you need in a project brief:
What’s your business about?
People love talking about themselves, and what better way to do this than to ask about their company. If you’re doing this chat-style, you can even ask about a few minor details like their Facebook page, website, or office location. Keep these details in your back pocket since you can learn more about them by visiting them there.
What do you want built?
Since you’re a problem solver, ask about their problems. Often, they’ll reveal not just what but also why they want it built. If you can narrow it down to specifics, great. If it’s just some lofty goals, that’s also good for now. Just make sure to nail the details and deliverables down when proposal time comes.
Who will be using it?
An oft-forgotten question, you should also learn about who their targets users are. Are they the Facebook crowd or a more digitally-savvy set? Do they skew older or younger? Are they using it for work or at home? These and more questions will help you in your development, especially in your interface and process designs.
When do you need it by?
This question, we forget to ask on purpose though. For some of us, “it takes as long as it takes” is the motto. But of course, clients need results and that means having deadlines.
How can I reach you?
You might think this is a redundant question. After all, you already emailed them (or chatted, as the case may be), so you already know their contact number. But believe me, it’s much better to get all the details including the various contact people you need to reach, including accounting. Especially accounting.
What’s your budget range? (optional)
I tagged this as optional cause it’s best that you set your own rates, rather than having it dictated upon you. I don’t know about you, but it does motivate me to work if I am comfortable with the price I give. If they do give a budget, offer packages and make the amount of work you do fit their budget.
That’s brief enough for a project brief, don’t you think? You can always drill down to the details in succeeding chats or emails if you really need to. Now go and close that deal!