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10 Ideas to Help You Sell UX Work

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We know that UX is important. Google knows that UX is important. But when it comes to selling in
UX work it can often feel like nobody else knows that its important. Clients and colleagues often
seem completely intractable on ideas when we present them. So how can we better serve those
customers and get them to take on board what we do as valuable? Weve got 10 tips that may well
improve the success of selling your UX work:

1. Its Not About You and Its Not About Users


Your work is all about your users when youre doing it but its not about users when youre selling it.
When you sell to someone, you need to address their needs. You have to take the time to walk a mile
in their shoes and see through their eyes. The objective is to make your work relevant to reduce pain
that theyre experiencing or to help them boost their own profile. They may come to care about you
and the users as part of the process but its not whats going to get them to buy in first time round.

2. Examine Your Approach


Facts and figures are a great way to support a business case but an endless procession of facts and
figures devoid of personality can turn people off. You need to inject some wit and charm into the
process. The more likeable that you are, the easier it will be to win your audience over. Your passion
can become infectious if you let it be. Its hard to sell the sizzle without a little personal sizzle.

Author/Copyright holder: premasagar. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

3. Use the Environment to Pre-Sell Your Work


Create a visible and easily accessible space that you can pin relevant and useful UX work to. Break
down what happened, why it happened and what resulted from your efforts. When your customers
can see what you do, they can find it easier to ask about what you do. Not all sales pitches are
conducted in 20 minutes in high pressure situations, sometimes a gradual process of education can
help win people round too.
4. Leverage Other Clients to Help You Sell
Theres nothing more powerful in a sales process than the testimony of a satisfied customer. Put
together case studies of things youve done in the past and distribute them with new proposals.
Ensure you have quotes from previous customers (that can be reference checked if needed) and give
your customers a great reason to buy from you. Past performance doesnt always indicate future
performance but its much better than starting from scratch on each sale.
Author/Copyright holder: Frank Gruber. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
5. Have a Clear But Flexible Process
Having a clear plan that shows inputs and outputs makes it much easier for a client to see what
theyre getting and why they should invest in that process. However, dont forget that the process is
supposed to serve the clients needs. If they need changes, and those changes are reasonable, the
process should be able to be changed to reflect their needs. Dont be afraid to update the process
and get buy in during the project either. Plans in battle dont last beyond the first engagement, they
dont in UX either.

6. Tailor Documents and Deliverables


Your documents and deliverables may work for one client but not another. Make certain that you
have examples to hand and discuss them in context of the new clients needs. One may want
detailed in depth reports, the next may want a comic strip version custom documents and
deliverables can be a huge selling point.

Author/Copyright holder: baldiri. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0


7. You Know What They Say About Assumption
Its the mother of all **** ups. When you assume you make an ass out of u and me. You get the point
right? The point of sales meetings is to discover what your client wants. By all means make
assumptions but share them with the client and then ask them if theyre happy with them.

This wont just help you sell the engagement, it will avoid embarrassing egg-on-face moments later
in the day. Your expertise is best used to solve a clients problems and even if theyre very similar to
something youve done before they are unlikely to be exactly the same and the client may desire a
very different outcome.

8. Use a Little Fear


You need to help your clients think about what will happen if things arent good at the end of the
product development process. What are the implications for their jobs, their business, etc? If you can
link your solution to preventing bigger problems its much more likely that the client will decide to
do business with you. Big sales are a bigger risk to a company than buying a stapler. Showing you
understand the risks, will increase confidence that you can manage them.

9. Consult More, Speak Less


The more you listen to your potential clients the more likely you are to genuinely understand them.
Questions are good but so is shutting your mouth and letting the client talk. This is a balancing act,
otherwise the sales process could take forever but in general most salespeople talk too much and
listen too little. Check out Neil Rackhams excellent SPIN sales book if youre wondering what kinds
of question to ask.

10. Use Data To Back Up Your Points Wherever Possible


Statistics, charts, graphs, quotes, etc. can all make for a much stronger argument. If your clients are
unsure of something you need to show them that youre not the only one thinking it. This can be a
big difference between you and the competition. Many sales people bluster without any evidence.
You can always send evidence that you dont have after the meeting though try not to offer
something that youre uncertain of in case there is no data to support it.

Summary
Selling your work can be difficult if you dont know how to sell. The tips above will help you cut down
on the anxiety and focus on what you can offer your clients. That should lead to more sales and
happier customers too.

Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Jeremy Brooks. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

Topics in this article:

User Experience (UX) Design Freelance Service Design

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