Clearly Convey Your Value To Clients With A Process Sheet

We Are Branch: Convey Your Value To Clients With A Process Sheet

When piecing together a suite of business documents for the Branch launch in September, one of the must-haves on our list was a Process Sheet. A lot of creative businesses have a Price Sheet that lists their most popular packages and rates but a Process Sheet is less common. Over time, I had learned the hard way that I needed one. When reflecting back on my design career, one of the biggest mistakes I made early on was not properly conveying the value of my work to clients.

As a small creative business, when someone new inquires about your services, put yourself in their shoes: most of them haven’t worked with a professional in your field before. Because of this, your pricing might seem totally outlandish to them. It’s not completely their fault — often, they wonder how “a logo” could possibly cost so much but it’s because they don’t see all the in-between steps of the process clearly. It’s your job to inform them about your unique process and why the tasks take the length of time they do. Once they understand this, the value of hiring you becomes much clearer.

We Are Branch: Convey Your Value To Clients With A Process Sheet

At Branch, during our initial conversations with potential new clients, we a send over a PDF document outlining each step of the process with the estimated amount of time it takes listed under each step. This serves another, less obvious purpose; it holds both sides accountable since the first few tasks are a team effort.

Besides value, the Process Sheet conveys another important component: time. If someone contacts you and asks you how long their project will take and you reply with 2 months and little explanation, that seems like forever in their world! After all, they are probably running a small business and the faster they have that new identity in place, the better. But, once you break down the timeline with each deliverable and they see how it contributes to the final outcome of their branding, they’ll usually sign off.

A Process Sheet conveys the value of your skills, time and effort upfront. The more your clients feel like they’re in the know, the more they will respect you. And when both sides are happy, the work always turns out better, doesn’t it? —Shauna

12 thoughts on “Clearly Convey Your Value To Clients With A Process Sheet

  1. This seems like super sound advice, as I’ve definitely run into the sorts of issues you mentioned with design clients (especially very small business and individuals) who obviously don’t understand the process.

    Can you suggest somewhere to see examples of what this sort of document might look like? I tried to do a little Googling and came up empty handed.

    1. Kele: I basically made up my own process sheet that explains each step of the process Branch takes clients through. It was an invention of necessity! Yours will probably be different than ours but essentially, commit each step you normally take your clients through yo paper and turn it into a PDF. A lot of designers just list their processes on their websites but for the Process Sheet, there’s a lot more detail to each of the steps. Hope that makes sense! -Shauna

  2. I would LOVE to see your process sheet! It would be a great learning tool for us beginners! Any chance you could send me one? I’ve been meaning to put one together myself but it’s hard to know what to do!

    1. Ashley: I purposely didn’t share my full process sheet because we each have our own unique steps that we go through depending on our business size and the clients we work with. Our processes develop over time and shift as we work with more clients so the process yours will probably be much different than ours — think about the steps you take with each client you work with and commit them to paper. Once you analyze what you’ve written down, think about what’s working and what you could do better and continually modify it. Good luck! -Shauna

  3. I too would love to see an example.

    This sounds like a fantastic idea, I often find client education to be a bigger part of my workflow when I am working with people who aren’t used to buying professional photography services (small businesses and internal marketing departments as opposed to agencies/magazines). There are often terms or line items on my invoices that I have to spend a lot of time explaining or justifying to them (Like why it’s important to have an assistant on set, why permits are important, travel costs… etc)

    1. Luke Copping: With photographers, I think it can be even more tricky since the scope of your work can vary so much. In your case, some sort of new client guides might be a better fit — in the past, I did some for wedding photographers that covered what to expect, some frequently asked questions, how long it would take for them to receive their photos and that sort of thing. Photographers have a lot more to cover! -Shauna

      1. That is so true, and it is so dependent on the type of client we are working with too. The workflow of creating images for an ad agency is very different from that of an editorial shoot. And even further removed from the process of working directly with small businesses and in house marketing departments. All have different needs and radically different expectations of what to expect from working with a photographer. Ad agencies are usually more familiar with how copyright and licensing works into purchasing photography, while small businesses owners can need some coaching. And there are some line items on invoices that are often questioned or need defining so that clients understand their importance (Some recent ones include explaining to a client why we could not have child talent on set for an educational shoot for 15 straight hours or why and how we bill for travel expenses and catering)

        I think having a more in-depth production guide or book to use during the client intake process is a fantastic idea. I have a small digest version that I use for strictly corporate and headshot clients that I have used to grey success as a marketing tool, but something more comprehensive would be extremely useful in helping to set client and process expectations upfront and ensuring a smoother workflow and better client relationships from the beginning.

  4. In love with this post. Thanks so much!
    Would love to know what other business documents, that you mention in the first paragraph, would entail. I’ve got the obvious, like receipts, quotes and invoices, but I always wonder what I’m missing. To an extent it would definitely vary with business though…

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