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Charm Clients, Win Pitches


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It was indeed a helpful article, but after reading it I was left with the question: Is that all there is?

Why networking events are not the way to go? What are other ways of pitching yourself and your company to new clients besides filling out the existing proposals and knowing how to bid on a project, and conducting presentations?

Based on the content of this article it should’ve been titled ‘Charm clients with winning proposals and presentations’. I would’ve liked to read more ‘secrets’ on acquiring and charming new clients and getting that coveted RFP from them.


I really enjoyed reading this post – I must confess it was the first one I read from beginning to end since Dec 1st :)

I’d really like if you would give us more posts on your ideas about the commercial, marketing, selling part of the web – all those things we web designers have no clue about.

Paul should let you write more often!

Johns Beharry

Oh Markus great post, took some time to read but I kept on. I really liked the part about proposals and the Perfect Pitch.

Very informative especially to a eager young lad such as myself.


Thanks for your excellent write-up Markus, this is extremely prescient for me. Also, I think it’s the first time I’ve read an article and could actually “hear” the author’s voice (I listen to Boagworld every week, though there is significantly less ribbing in this format).

matthias edler-golla

interesting article! for us it quite often works to generate three different packages of “feature modules” (low, middle, high price) and let the client decide on what (s)he needs…

most of the time the client goes for the middle or high price package – no one wants to look cheap! ;-)

Ben Falk

There’s a lot more to running a successful web design firm than simply being good at web design. Thanks for your insight into the business side of things!

David HUghes

Very interesting and helpful article – thanks.

As somebody who is starting a business (great timing!) it’s the getting work rather than doing work that scares me most.



Loved this article from the beginning till the end :)

I really liked the start where you explain what not to do. I finally have something to link to when trying to explain why cold calling isn’t my thing.

Dennis Deacon

Wow, great article. Read like a chapter from a book; maybe Paul’s (you never mentioned that you contributed to it). Seriously, great stuff, and I agree that you might consider further this type of knowledge sharing. There’s obviously a great demand for it.


Really good article. I have to really underscore the comments on price negotiation—thinking about this before the pitch is critical. Don’t try to bluff why the site could cost ‘n-x’ if you can’t answer why you added ‘x’ in the first place!

This is why taking a modular approach to your pricing is useful—and it helps potential clients who, with all the will in the world, can’t come up with the funds for the all-singing, all-dancing site initially requested. We’ve had lots of clients for whom we’ve developed extensive sites based upon this approach.

Julian Moffatt

Terrific article Marcus. We try and hit most of what you talk about in our approach.

And man, can we testify to “sales people” angle not working.

If you know web design (and chances are you do if you are here) then sell yourself. We’ve tried them … they don’t get it and therefore can’t sell it well. Simple. But it something you learn as you go.

Thanks for writing.

Christopher Olberding

Great post. I would like to emphasize the point made that networking events and groups and sales guys are not the way to go.

Between starting in web and starting Station Four I went through a number of companies that had a sales team and heavily leveraged the local Chamber of Commerce and other networking organizations for new business. So it can be done, there’s business there.

However, in every case managing the sale guys was a mess, which seems pretty much like the norm in our business. Projects were over-promised and under-quoted, sales reps would propose and sell the client inappropriate solutions and in the end this would usually resulted in a low quality end product.

Also the new business that came in through networking events always seemed to require that we give a ‘deal’ to someone’s ‘buddy’ and fostered unprofessional relationships.

Joel Hughes

fantastic post! I’m printing this out and sticking it somewhere I can see it so I can refer to it when I deal with new proposals.

I particularly liked the fact that giving ball park costs should eliminate a load of people and that when dealing with price hagglers you should not shift on price.

Some great stuff in there!



Good stuff, all of it. I have an added curve ball in my life. I have moved to Sweden 2 years ago, which means I need to do everything you said in a new language. This has proven very tough indeed. Although most Swedes can speak really good English, companies want to do work in Swedish.

I’ve studied Swedish for a year and can hold my own in normal conversation, but it’s hard when you’re covering work related conversation. Aaaaarrgh!!


Not sure I agree with cold calling is dead. Not sure anoher good way to introduce your company to someone that has never heard of you? Any suggestuons would be welcome

James Curran

Just reading this for the first time even though I’ve been listening to the Boagworld podcast since the early ones.

This is still a great article even if Marcus doesn’t agree with himself anymore on certain points.

Have just been writing a proposal today and now I’m knackered, why can’t they just give us the work. No, we’ve got to write a bloody essay about it first.


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