261 – Getting a brief and scoping the project. WordPress Business Bootcamp – Series 1 / Episode 3

‘WordPress Business Bootcamp’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley


Welcome to another in the WordPress Business Bootcamp series. It’s the series where we relearn EVERYTHING we know about building WordPress sites and running a web design business from start to finish.

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The Premise is we have our first potential website client, Ms. A. All we know is that she is a lawyer in a large city. She asked a mutual friend… who thought of us. We have few skills and no business or processes in place. She has no previous website. No branding or copy.

Nathan and David (as we go through the series) will be taking different routes to get our business going and our client’s website up and running.

Presently, we are on Season 01 (of the series which is looking at the things that need to happen) BEFORE THE BUILD. This is episode 03… “Getting a brief and scoping the project”.


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Going Traditional with fixed pricing. There is an element of value pricing in the sense that the quote may reflect the perceived value to the client, but no attempt to find business pain points and price accordingly. Mostly pricing will be an estimate of the time it takes.


Going agile. Fixed free for a sprint of work expected to deliver a MVP – which is dependent on the client delivering their stuff. Basically, they are booking a few hours with the expectation of booking more to improve on what we had.

Episode 3. Getting a brief and scoping the project

Episode intro: The Problem

We need to make the client some form of proposal before we can move to our next episode on setting up an agreement contract and payment plan.

The proposal probably needs to focus on the main thing our service offers (some may be more about the design aesthetic, others more about producing business leads).

We probably need to bear in mind how legally rigid our contract will need to be. Tthe more money involved probably the more detail in both.

We need to decide on our form(s) of communication.

We need some way to find out what work is here for us. Can we deliver it and come in with a profit… and feel happy about it?

The proposal has to fit the contract and be in line with you service offer (more leads or pretty).

First Contact

Let’s assume Ms A. has reached out by email saying what we already know. That she is a lawyer wanting her first site and she heard we might be able to help. What next… email return?

Do we qualify her for the budget now?

Do we get her to fill out the qualifying form which asks about budgets and puts enough obstacles in the way that it weeds out ‘tire kickers’?

We’re really not too sure of the wisdom of this approach as some of the ‘poor’ clients ended up being long term clients, who, over the years paid way more in after-care work than I could ever have hoped for.

Are we in danger of turning people into ‘tire kickers’ by giving them reason to be apprehensive (all the stuff we mention in Watertight Marketing series of podcasts).

Do we indicate how we work?

Does this need to be locked down or kept pretty vague at this point? Should we introduce how / why we do things differently (this need an update), like David does:

Do we go straight for a meeting?

This can be a great idea because it just irons out so many of the issues. It’s making a good impression and you’re becoming the guy that you have no objections to.

What do we want from sending a return email?

Nathan prefers the phone call, not the return email. And if he cannot get a phone call, the email is to get their number for a phone call! He always explains that ‘he can get more done in 5 mins on the phone than he can in 10 email exchanges”. Maybe this would not work for all people though?

Face to Face Meeting

Should you record this and if so, how… phone? I tried a few things like Zoom. Sometimes it’s pointless, but they can be invaluable as a way of referring back and seeing if you missed some important detail in the heat of the moment.

David prefers taking notes – now going to a Google doc to share later.

Do we just listen or present something or both?

It’s a Q&A type of thing. Nathan used to try to do the ‘Go Wide Go Deep’ thing, until he realised that this was often a little uncomfortable for both the clients and him as well!

Perhaps just make a list question from things which you glean from their email… what type of lawyer, partners, what I they hoping to get etc.

If they have a live site what do we want to know about it? Maybe what they like and don’t like. What is missing and what does not need to be there.

Do we ask about competitors’ sites and sites they like and why?

We should not be as interested in what they have as what they think that they need, and I sometimes ask them to show us sites that they think are cool. Perhaps ask a question about the ‘feel’ of the site, fun, professional etc.

How do we work out the content – copy images branding (who does what)

Nathan literally hates this and have never, ever got it figured out. Lorem was the default fallback! This could be a good use for the content creation AI tools that we’ve seen cropping up so that the Lorem is better than just random Lorem. At this point it is just a question to find out the extent of work they need.

How do we separate the ‘must have’ from the “like to have”?

This usually happens when the budget becomes clear and the cost of that ‘essential’ thing is so high, that it becomes less important! This is a great moment to show that you know what you’re on about as well. You can explain that literally nobody will use the ‘need to be logged in’ chat solution that they think they need etc.

How do we cope with the inevitable desire for a ballpark cost?

Just give it to them! I’m sure that not all will agree, but often this is what the client needs to move things forwards.

How do we deal with surprise requests for things we are not sure we can do?

Make the proposal a contract. We’ve cocked this up so many times. Just be honest and say that I don’t know how to do that, but I’ll get back to you. Then go figure out if you can / cannot do it.

Do we talk about site maintenance and content updating?

David drops this right at the start, but no pressure. He makes more of that when the site is ready to go live. Most of his care plans came after they said that they did not need one, and then a few months went by and they realised that they had no time / desire to do what they thought would be simple.

Follow up after the Meeting?

Nathan: Tell them we will be back with a proposal or maybe further questions?

David: Ask them to book and pay for the next stage?


Is there anything we can learn about the existing site (stats on bounce rates signups)?

Can we achieve everything with the tools and skills we have already?

Ask the questions, but mostly the answer is yes.

Do we need to hire in skills?

Nathan: For me, this was always the design, but since Page Builders, I feel less worried about this.

David: I might turn down complex code jobs. Like to make clear my skill limits sometimes.

How do we know how much time it will take (building, dealing with the client, delays)

Nathan: If it’s simple pages, content, CPT stuff, that’s not too hard. If it’s something weird, that’s 100% guesswork.

David: I have a minimum 12 hours that a site takes me. The rest is largely down to

How many pages are unique compared to ones that are templated/repeated.

Nathan: I think that getting a template for all-the-types-of-content is a really great idea. Makes it easier to build, easier for them to understand.

David: The scope will not form the basis of the contract and price. There may be an agreement rather than a contract and we assume the scope is wrong. It could cost more or less, but the client is in control of that.

As always we hope that you found these show notes useful, but there’s not half as useful as using them alongside the audio! So hit the play button and give it a listen and let us know in the comments below what you think, or join the WP Builds Facebook Group and search for the thread there.

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome. So the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you've reached episode number 261 entitled getting a brief and scoping the product. It was published on Thursday, the 13th of January, 2021, my name's Nathan Wrigley. And in a few minutes I will be joined by my co-host David Walmsley, because this is one of our WordPress business boot camp episodes.

In fact, it's in series one and it's in episode three, which means that there are two episodes prior to this, but I'll tell you a little bit more about that in just a moment, because first the usual. As you might imagine, we would love it if you were able to subscribe to our content so that each time we drop a new episode, you had it available to you in your inbox.

If you like. And the best way to do that is to go to our subscribe page. That's WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Once more WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe over. There are a multitude of ways that you can keep in touch. There's our YouTube channel. There's links to our very friendly Facebook group also links to our Twitter feed, but probably most importantly, there's a couple of email lists that you can sign up to right at the top of the page two forms for two different types of content you're going to receive.

The first one is to do with the podcast episodes that we put out on a Thursday. That's the one you're listening to now. And we also record a live this week in WordPress show every Monday, which is put out on a Tuesday and you'll get that as well. Alternatively, if you want to find out about WordPress deals, I'm going to be making a bit more of an effort in the new year to find lots of WordPress deals.

And there's a list just for that as well. So whole load of things. WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. If you have to see something a bit quirky, head over to this URL, and yes, it is a URL. wpbuilds.social. wpbuilds.social. Yes. That is a URL that is a mustard on install, which is an open source project.

And I want us to emulate something like Twitter. It's a little bit quiet in there at the moment, but if you join, you never know. I'm always in there and we may be able to strike up a conversation. So one more time. WP Builds dot. If you fancy finding some deals, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash and deals.

It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week, we've got tons and tons of WordPress products, things like themes, hosting, plugins, and blocks all on there. And those deals never go away thus far. I don't think we've removed any, perhaps we've removed one. I can't honestly remember, but it's a sure fire way to save yourself some money, go and check it out.

It's searchable and filterable. And I think that rounds off the housekeeping for this week. So let's talk about what's going on this week, David and I are doing an extended episode series. It's called the WordPress business bootcamp. We're in series one, but we plan to do multiple series, probably five or six.

Probably going to take us the entire year. And we've done a couple of episodes so far, we're still in series one. And this is episode three, entitled getting a brief and scoping the project. So as you might imagine, it is about those exact things. What do we do when we need them? Puts out a proposal for a website.

How do we get the brief, how do we work out what it is that we need to do David? And I discuss it from both our different perspectives. He's going for the agile approach. I'm going for the more traditional waterfall approach. So we have an interesting discussion about all the different things. Do we organize meetings?

Do we keep it all in email? Do we tell them the way that we work or keep that a little bit secret? What do we do in terms of getting a possible budget for them and indicating the ways that we work? There's a whole load of different things that we might do many ways that we might do it. And we have a chat about that on the podcast today.

I hope that you enjoy.

[00:04:28] David Waumsley: Welcome to another. In the WordPress business bootcamp series, it's a series where we relearn everything we know about building WordPress sites and running a web design business from start to finish. The premise is that we have our first potential client who we're calling miss a, all we know about it is that she's a lawyer and a large city.

She's asked a mutual friend who thought of us. We have few skills, no business or processes in place. She had. Previous website or Brandon or copy. And Nathan and I, as we go through this series, we'll be taking different routes to get our business going and our website up and running. So we are presently on season one, which is the season before we build.

So it's the before build season. Sorry. I'm not explaining that very well. And we're on episode three, which is about getting a brief and scoping the project. So Nathan, should we just quickly recap on. Up to so far.

[00:05:20] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I guess the idea is that you're taking a different approach to me and I'm going more from the traditional kind of waterfall model.

So I've got a fixed price. I'm going to talk with the client and try to figure everything out. Before I begin the build, give them a contract, give them a proposal, those kind of ideas. Then just build the website handed over and see where we go from there. But the idea is that I get everything scoped out right from the.

[00:05:49] David Waumsley: Yeah, and I going for, which is new to me, and this is where I'm learning. I'm going. What is known as the agile approach, where. We don't pretend to think we know how the project's going to go. So we make a start on it, maybe with the aim of delivering some kind of minimal viable product, which just could be a landing page.

And then we'll take it from there in iterations of work as an ongoing thing. So that's the approach I'm going at with this?

[00:06:16] Nathan Wrigley: Yup. Yup. Sounds good. So what is this episode three and the intention really here is we're talking about brief getting a brief and scoping out the project. That's the, the intention of.

[00:06:27] David Waumsley: Yes, exactly. So we haven't even made contact with our person next. So our problem is, we need to make the next step we've. We know that they are interested. We'll assume that they've sent us a quick email saying we know, blah, blah, we hear that you could help us with a site. And that's all we know.

So we've now got to start moving it forward to find out, We've really got in terms of work. So we can then think about what we'll be talking about in the next episode, which will be the new agreement and the payment plan and all that kind of stuff. So we're really talking about how we're going to do our communication and how we're going to find out what the scope of this project is, what we're taking on, what works here for us.

[00:07:06] Nathan Wrigley: We we spoke quite extensively about what we were going to do today before we hit record. And one of the, one of the real key takeaways for me is that my. Own age and life experience has a real bearing on this. And what I mean is, I think, depending on, let's say that you're very young, you're 18 or something like that.

And you're new to the workplace. I think this whole conversation could be completely different. If you're that age, or let's say that you're in your fifties or something like that. And you've been in, you've been in work and you've seen scoping documents and proposal documents, even though it's got nothing to do with websites, you've probably run across these things just by having people into your house to do the painting and decorating, they've probably given you some kind of proposal, but up until the age of 18 or 19, I probably never seen one of those kinds of documents in my life.

And so I think it really does depend. What your life experiences, how this whole conversation would it be? I think so.

[00:08:09] David Waumsley: And also I think, if you're new into it, which we are supposed to be, or at least putting ourselves in those shoes, I think certainly for me, I felt the pressure to need to know how to do things.

When somebody asks me for an invoice or something, I'm scared to death, what does everybody else submit? How pretty is it? Do you know what I mean? Everything you get really tied up in being conscious of how you're not a professional yeah. And comfortable in your own skin. So I think.

This first contact is always the trickiest thing. Let's should we just talk about how we're going to do it because you and I might do it slightly differently anyway as it stands, so that emails come in, so what's going back from you to them. Okay. Yeah.

[00:08:48] Nathan Wrigley: So I'm going to have to take this from the position of where I am now.

Not probably what I would have done as an, as a 20 year old. Honestly, my first job these days would be to get that person on the. No matter what I do. I want to get that person on the phone because I feel that I do a better job talking than I do writing. One of the things that I learned early on.

Essentially I can achieve far more in the three minutes in a phone call than I can with the 15 rounds of emails. I get an email and then I have to reply to that. And then another question comes in and I reply to that. And I find that in most cases, just the process of talking gets over that hump, but it also establishes a real rapport, I think.

And then the phone call really. In my case, because most of the stuff has been local. Most of my website bills have been local. The intention of that phone call is to set up some kind of in-person meeting where again, I feel that's my a game. If you like, if I can sit with you and talk with you for an hour, I feel I can be more persuasive and demonstrate what it is that I'm going to bring to the table.

And so that's all I want to do with the.

[00:10:06] David Waumsley: Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I guess I'm similar. I feel I can probably do more in-person if I can talk to them and get some relationship, I would think, like you say, I think I would have been different perhaps if it had been 20 I'd have been very conscious of myself.

Probably liked to put more things in and then email you, you have another step though, which you've got from training courses as well. So that first email you might respond first to send them back right to your site. Oh

[00:10:34] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. Yeah, of course. That's a good point. So the there's this kind of I don't really know if I believe in this anymore, but it certainly is something that I've done in the past and we'll get onto why I might not believe in it, but having been on various.

Courses and spoken to various people about this. I've set up a form, which is like a tire kickers form. The intention of this is that at first contact, I send you to a slightly over-complicated form, which establishes whether or not you are actually that interested. In other words, There's more questions than perhaps there ought to be.

It's definitely not a form with two fields name and comment. This has got all sorts of information about, what is it you want to achieve? Do you have your branding stuff in place? All of that. And there's, it probably takes back. To 10 minutes of hard work, filling it out, but it also sets up the pricing expectations.

So it, it demonstrates clearly that in my case, there's no point in trying to pursue this. If you've only got, let's say 200 pounds for want of a better word, because it says what's your budget. And the minimum figure is in excess of that. And the more that I've done that the less, I believe that's a good idea because do you want to explain your thoughts on that?

Yeah, I guess

[00:11:57] David Waumsley: I mean, I've, I've moved away from it. I was also, I've heard the same advice from multiple places and I can understand it going back. I think maybe going back a little while it was easier to get clients there was there wasn't the page builders hadn't taken off. So more people needed our skills.

And I think, We were in a profession where we're not the best business people on the whole, we tend to be creative. So we do this stuff and then we'd get abused. Really why people not. And the idea is to just raise our game a bit, stop going down to the lowest figure and, set some high expectations.

Know that your value of the job that you do. So I understand it, getting rid of those people are setting an expectation, but what I found myself is because I don't get those people and I feel like I've turned people, I think, into tire-kickers through my conversations, by, by making them, giving them reasons to be apprehensive, all the kinds of reasons we talked about in that series, we did ages ago about water type marketing things that can get in the way of them saying yes.

So now I'm flipping it. And saying, okay, we'll just have the chat. Because of my agile approach, I'll just say let's just start. We don't know how it's going to work out and we'll go with your lowest risk thing, even if that's just the landing page. So what I think is what seems to be the case is that the people who might have been weeded out.

Because it's, I don't know, just over two grand and they did think it was just a few hundreds. We'll probably spend that two grand because they'll upsell themselves because they just didn't know at that point what our website meant or could mean to their business. Yeah. I

[00:13:37] Nathan Wrigley: completely agree. And that's why that modus operandi feels to me, at least like it might not have legs in every situation because certainly some of the clients that I've worked with best over the years, If I'd have put them through that.

I probably wouldn't have got through it. I literally wouldn't have heard from them. They, they, would've got halfway through it and just sort out, forget this and just shut the website down. And that would have been the end of it. So I can see that it's definitely got some utility, but yeah.

But so fight a fake barrier in the way. And for want of a better word, you'd like, like you say, tire kickers. Maybe the tire-kickers are just tire-kickers cause they don't actually know what they want. It's not, cause they're not good for you. And they won't provide you with income over the years.

It's just that they're really not sure what they want and they just want a bit of advice and putting up that barrier. Pushes them away. And so I'm not a hundred percent certain if that's the best way to do it. Does it work? Yes. Is it always best? I probably think these days, no. So there's something to be said.

[00:14:46] David Waumsley: Yeah. And I think time has moved on. I think this is why it's good for us to we evaluate, because also back in those early days, when I think people were saying, get rid of the tire kickers because of the circumstances though, we hadn't really got used to the idea that we would be selling ongoing care plans because we needed those because the licenses of page builders and stuff in the early days of WordPress.

It was all pretty much lifetime deals or no licenses at all. So you didn't have that to consider. And I think now our models have changed. Like my model's changed to almost a hosted business. Really? That's what brings the money in. I do, you those people I wanted to exclude will be longterm, quite profitable for me without much work.

So it changes because of, I think the technology has changed and what clients want has changed. And and you know, what we can offer has changed over the time.

[00:15:38] Nathan Wrigley: It's quite a beguiling thought though, isn't it? The idea that you'll put this form up there and you will weed out everybody.

Who's going to waste your time. Whereas really, I think you could probably figure that out in two minutes in a phone call as well. So I think that will be my ongoing approach is just to try to talk to people. You'll very quickly figure out if they have no idea, if they're just browsing around really akin to going into a shop and just picking things up and examining them and putting them down, there's that whole process.

And. Making yourself available. I think it certainly these days, everybody can put up a form, but how many people are willing to get on the phone with you and chatting through with you? Maybe that's going to be the difference in the.

[00:16:22] David Waumsley: Yeah. I guess there's got to be some businesses out there.

Definitely because, it's obviously going to be a case, bigger agencies than us will need to have, 20 K or something because they've got staff team of developers or something with six people and you can see under their circumstances, they do need to weed that out. Cause there's no point but yeah, for us, I think it's, you've really got to think of. Whether that's going to work long-term in your favor or not.

[00:16:50] Nathan Wrigley: So I would say for this mystery person, who's coming through the door, miss a though. It is it. You've got to do some sort of qualification there, even if that's just.

Talking to them on the phone and asking them things about their budget. We'll get onto that in a minute, you've gotta, you've got to have some process. You can't just jump on board of every single person who communicates with you and start building their website. There's gotta be, there's gotta be some process of figuring out what the scope of work is.

So anyway, let's delve into that.

[00:17:22] David Waumsley: Yeah, let's do that. But just one question for you. Do you think you like to get on the phone or you give time to people a little bit because of the fact that you're local, because even if they're not going to be the right person for you, the fact that you've engaged with them and they know who you are, they might pass on your name.


[00:17:36] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That's definitely happened. I, in fact, I would say that. Revenue stream for me, is people just phoning up and saying, oh, I heard about you from I'd actually is curious. I don't know if you, when you were living in the UK or where you are now in India. I don't know if you do that, but I offer.

We'll begin conversations with people who I've never spoken to before. The first words which come out of my mouth are, oh, a friend of mine, such and such told me about you. And I use that as a tool to make them aware that I know. That they've done work for people that I, do you know what I mean?

That you sort establishing the circle of friendship and I I'm, that's definitely happened to me in the, people have phoned up and said those words back at me, such and such a person told me that you build websites. And so I'm giving you a call and I think it's really effective word of mouth stuff.

Oh, it's gold.

[00:18:31] David Waumsley: Yeah. Gummy good stuff. Good. S good. Psychology there. I think tried mentality. Yeah. One of them. Yeah. Oh, okay. Let's so we both go for a call. I go, my thing is that I just try and, just say let's just book a chat and then I send them to my chat thing where they could book it and then I'll have an online chat.

Because I can't see people in person. My clients are thousands of miles away from me. So do

[00:18:58] Nathan Wrigley: you do a zoom call though? Where you show your face on camera or is it just audio? Yeah.

[00:19:04] David Waumsley: I put the link there says they don't have to show themselves if they don't want, but I'll be there on camera myself.

I don't know why. I think that showing my face is a thing that's going to aid the process. But I do

[00:19:19] Nathan Wrigley: know, I think it does. I think it really helps, honestly. I think if you, if you just do audio. That's one thing you might be really good at that, but I don't think there's any downside to coming on campus.

Obviously if you are, if you are living in an environment and you're showing that you're incredibly untidy and messy and you've clearly got a room where there's just debris and Detroit us everywhere maybe not, but in most situations, if you've got a you know, you're in your sitting room and you've got, you've made an effort with your presentation and so on.

I don't think that. I think that seems like a good idea.

[00:19:57] David Waumsley: Anybody who's listened to this knows how unfocused I am when I'm talking and that's what they get. So if they can pull up with that off to a good start, if they can't have weeded them out. Yeah. Okay. So what is, yeah, so now we really just need to look at what kind of questions we're going to ask someone so we can start getting this proposal ready.

So that first call is going to be some way of gaining some basic information about. What they want, always that when you're moving them to a, an actual meeting,

[00:20:28] Nathan Wrigley: really the purpose of that phone call in my mind. Is to just get a meeting of some kind into the diary. And, but inevitably that first conversation does go in all sorts of crazy directions, so they might ask me about how much I charge. They might ask me how many people work with me and all of those kinds of things and how many websites are built. And can I show them you know, different websites and so on and so forth. But my intention really. It's just to essentially, I use a bit of a script.

I don't have it written down, but it goes something like. I would, I'd love to chat with you about this some more, but I feel that the best way to do that is if I come over to your office, I'll bring a computer. We could sit down over a coffee. Maybe it'll take half an hour, 20 minutes, something like that.

And I'll just show you what I can do for you. And that's essentially what I'm trying to get out. And I can, I can't even think of a time when somebody said no, that's weird. I don't want to do that. Usually that works very well.

[00:21:32] David Waumsley: Yeah, that's good. So you get to their office, you look at their coffee machine and it says it makes espresso coffee and think that's another grand on the project.

That's right. Yes.

[00:21:42] Nathan Wrigley: Depending on the quality of the coffee. No, I'll tell you what though. It can, this technique though, can misfire because. You really can end up in places where you think, oh my goodness, me, we've got, we've just got nothing in common. Or you end up in a room with somebody who has clearly got no interest in the project.

So it's not a magic bullet. It can totally misfire, you end up having to talk to somebody who doesn't want to be there, or the conversation is really awkward. And you do your best to turn it around, but you end up walking out thinking, oh boy, you know that was difficult. But then I think to myself, that, that was always going to be difficult.

It's not made worse by me showing up. I've just figured out that this client and I probably aren't gonna work too well together. And you have to make judgements.

[00:22:30] David Waumsley: Hey, what'd your phone call? Kind work out who you're going to meet and responsibility they have? You always pick, like I do one person to work with on the project.

So do you find out at that point, what their responsibility is or do you just wing it? Well,

[00:22:47] Nathan Wrigley: I asked, I ask that in that meeting anybody. In the end, when the project goes forward, I want one person because I just find that's way, way more straightforward. But at the point of meeting, I would like anybody who can either, either move the project forward or shut the project down.

I want all of those people in the. So typically that's one person, but sometimes it might be two or three people. I think the most I've had is three or four, something like that. And I just would like them to be there so that everybody knows what they're getting themselves in for.

[00:23:25] David Waumsley: Yeah. I mean, how do you go about judging the size of this. Do you do, do you present anything at all or do users really know the questions to ask? Listen,

[00:23:37] Nathan Wrigley: I've adopted the th there's this thing called the go wide go deep thing. Yes. And Troy Dean from what was WP elevation, put this on my radar and I quite like it just because of.

I say I quite like it. I don't know if it works terribly effectively for me, because I find that I'm better often just having a general chat, but the intention of that system. And you can Google it. Google WP elevation, go wide, go deep. The intention of that is just to drill down.

And keep asking the question why, why do you want this? Why do you want this? And then for every response that they give you ask another question until eventually you dry up. There's nowhere else to go. And hopefully at that point they've delivered to you. The crucial kernel of what it is that they need.

Whether I don't know, we want to sell more widgets or we want to rebrand, or we're having a complete, we're moving all of our offices to a different city or whatever it might be. The intention is to drill down to that. Yeah, I've used that in the past. I think you have to have. I sort

[00:24:45] David Waumsley: of, I've listened to that stuff and it's not that dissimilar from what a lot of other people who run these kinds of courses to help you sell your services.

Do Chris dough is another one who trains people, how to talk to the clients to find out what it is that they want. But. Tend to be coaching it in terms of what their business needs from and what you can deliver to help their business grow more to get obviously the value price in that most of those prefer.

So I haven't really, because. Because I've seen people shut down. We had a friend of ours who was shut down by all of his target market for trying to do that because they guess what he was trying to do is trying to find a routine to offer more than what they wanted as far as they can. Certainly what had a pretty website.

They didn't really, they didn't see it as their place to start helping them with their business aims. So they were cutting. Prematurely. So I've always avoided it ready even though I've I, I could see the sense in it and depending on the type of business you have, I can understand why, it can be useful training for people, but for me, because of the clients that naturally came to me through my colleague where a lot of local trades people that, they were barely understanding what the web could do for them.

So, no. Go that route.

[00:26:06] Nathan Wrigley: I think this is a really interesting conversation because it does bring up all sorts of things. And I think in the absence of any idea of what you're doing if you are literally doing this for the first time, like we're imagining we are doing, having some process in place some system.

And in this case, the go wide go deep system is a good idea because at least you're walking into the room with a sense of, okay, my purpose right now follow this plan and that's nice and reassuring because if you go into. And you've never done it before. And all you end up doing is having a general conversation.

And I've definitely done this before at the outset, just essentially have a conversation like you would do down the pub in the hope that something productive will come out of it. And it hasn't because I didn't stare at it. And you end up walking out of the premises and you thinking just happened.

I don't even know what that, what was the purpose of that? And it was because I didn't take the lead. So I think there is, I think there is utility in having a system like that at the beginning, but I'm sure that as you develop in the role and you've done it more and more times you'll feel.

Actually that's that isn't working for me or your perfect the system, or drop it entirely and come up with your own system. But I think at the beginning in the scenario that we're talking about, having some system is probably quite reassuring and it gives you a purpose going in and honestly it will allow you to direct the meeting and make sure that nobody's wasting anybody's.

Yeah, I

[00:27:42] David Waumsley: think for me, I've got a few stock things that we'll do without a system, which you'll just be really finding out, I mean, if they've got an existing site, which we know with our client that we've made up, they don't. So I'd probably the next thing I'd want to know is do they have anything, do they have any branding that's been made for them, maybe about calling cards or something, which has got some colors and fonts that I can use.

Do they have any content ready? Just to get some idea and to get some idea as well? For me about what I might need to bring into the project. Do they have the time for that? Yeah. A little bit, I think you do as well as ask them if they, if there's any particular competitor sites that we should look at, or whether there's any particular sites that they like, that's their sort of.

Preference. Yes. Yes.

[00:28:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah, I think it's really interesting because in a sense, you're the geographical location of you compared to me means that we do things differently. You're trying to get people to go to our website, to fill out a calendar booking form in order to have an in-person in air quality.

Zoom call whatever. And I'm trying to do exactly the same thing. I'm just trying to get them on a call so that I can go ultimately and see them in person, obviously COVID dependent, but w we're both trying to do the same kind of thing. We're trying to take it into a personal meeting.

And for me, that works, if you are not very good in those situations, I'm guessing you would use. W walk away from the strategy that both David and I are adopting and try something. Yeah.

[00:29:17] David Waumsley: And I think one thing I've learned over the years with this one, which I definitely got wrong in the beginning is that I let the, I tried to find processes that would make me look professional and make me know where I'm going in for onboarding.

So that involved some other things where they could submit content and information that might help me. Come to a proposal or something, but I just realized that people are just people and you have to adjust to them. So in some ways that having a chat with them can work in your favor because at least kind bend into who they are.

Where I think, it can be a real disaster if you try. And as I constantly say this one kind of banks. Pegs into round holes people. They're going to give you the information one way or another, and you might have to have around about conversation for me though this one, the proposition.

And the next episode, when we talk about contracts puts the pressure on your model. Not mine because mine tries to skip that altogether with the same. I'm saying for me, the beat, the big key things for me are, look, I have a page builder here and I'm quite happy to help people if they want to save on spending money on what I can do.

If you've got some skills and that you can do some of it yourself, you can add into content and get used to it. And I'll find out whether they want to do that, whether that's of interest to them, because I want to set them up. So they've got a few videos so they can start and really work with me. Whether that's just not going to be right for them at all.

So I try and work that stuff out, but usually I'm saying, look, this is how I, what I need to explain to them is that I've honestly, I want to save them money. And I think neither of us, if we're honest, we'll know where we're going. So why don't we just start on this? To start with and see how it goes.

Yeah. That might just be a landing page to get something up there, which will work as a site. And then, if it carries on and you're happy you book me again and we carry on and we get the rest of the site done. Yeah. And we book it until you're happy. Yeah.

[00:31:12] Nathan Wrigley: It really we'll stand in stark contrast to my methodology that I'm adopting for this series, because I'm all about trying to figure out everything at this point.

Exactly what they need. How many pages, how many custom post types are needed, all the images and the assets and the copy and all of that stuff up from so that I can accurately predict how much it's gonna cost, which was obviously, the subject of a different episode, but yeah, completely different.

I need to work really hard in that meeting. To the initial meeting where we're trying to figure out what's going on. I need to work really hard to ascertain exactly what they need so that I can walk away from that. In the knowledge that I've, I'm going to give them the right price, that will be profitable for me and get the job finished.

[00:32:03] David Waumsley: Do you ever get, with functionality cause that's usually the most difficult bit. For us, the challenge is actually this design is something, but that's often the bit where it gets tricky. I mean, with your clients, have you ever been surprised with this where you've missed it on that first conversation, and then they've turned up with something which is really complex that they need that they didn't let you know about?


[00:32:27] Nathan Wrigley: not so much. I can't think of an example. Where do you mean literally what I got from them? Oh, totally not what they wanted. Yeah, that's that's no, I don't think I've ever missed the target that much. The truth is that in most situations they don't really want anything complicated. It's all within the scope of what WordPress and a hundred.

Pre discovered plugins can do. No, I don't. Those kinds of problems have arisen during the build, but not at the outset. It only became obvious when they saw what was going on and thought, oh, I want to change that slightly, but I've never had something where it was utterly ridiculously different now.

And I think if that happened, you'd have to basically say, okay, scrap that proposal. I'm coming in for another meeting and let's do it all again. You

[00:33:19] David Waumsley: bright. Fair enough. Yes. No, I mean, most of the stuff that I know that you've done tends to, even though it's got a lot of functionality, it might be e-commerce, but it's a fairly standard setup where you know, what you can offer and things like state agents sites and things like that.

[00:33:34] Nathan Wrigley: And you though of you, you run a ground with that. I know that you used to do the sort of proposal model, that's not what you're going to be doing in the future. Have you ever missed the target? I've

[00:33:45] David Waumsley: kind of missed the target with my agile approach. Because I haven't fully, I took on a job, which at the moment it's been vacant.

I, it moved over to me and it's been going on for a very long time and they had a very clear vision and they asked me because they started doing it on Squarespace with somebody else was going to add some code on it. And then they wanted to move it to me because I'd done. This would be their seventh site for the same company are lots of different divisions.

That's why they were doing it independently. So they brought it back to me said, can I do. Very clear. They want this vision they functional. And in terms of how images would open and displays, right? Yeah. Lots of JavaScript stuff. So I said, yes, I can do that. You know, there's a few little things where you'll have to be aware of.

Custom coding and it's page builder, but it's gone through about, I think we must be on the fifth vision now. And some of the things they've been asking me, and I'm so grateful that I said, look, my skills are this. I'm an implementer who knows a bit of CSS, pretty good on that. Pretty terrible.

When it comes to JS, if we need something else, we need to hire it. And if it has to be, particular, and because I set that up front, it's not been too much of a problem, but it's not running the way that. We'd like it to run. I wouldn't do it again. Let's put it like this. Yeah. I would set it up in a different way because I'm not part of the process about why it's getting changed

[00:35:04] Nathan Wrigley: the vision.

Yeah. You grow into the ability to admit your limitations. I would imagine that almost everybody begins. This whole career of web development probably does go through that imposter syndrome of, okay. I need to pretend that I can do everything because that just feels well, I'm in a competitive marketplace.

There's a whole load of people that will be quoting or proposing for this website. I need to be able to claim to be able to do everything and it takes. Maturity going through life a little bit to figure out actually, you know what? I can just tell them that I do what I do and we can figure out how to do all the other stuff, but it might mean, another third party person coming on board.

If it's something that's out of scope, but in your case affordable. It's, you it's, we're not charging big box. So that's what.

[00:35:59] David Waumsley: Yeah, exactly. And they couldn't go for big books. I'll find them the solution. If they really want to do it, they still want to do it with me, tinkering around changing existing modules and stuff.

But and they're happy with that, but I wouldn't do the process. I'm now learning again, the way that I started that. I would have definitely been arguing. Let's get it out and then form. So it earns you some money instead of the process. Yep.

[00:36:23] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Shall we move on? Should we talk about, do you want to, do you want to talk about what, what would happen in that meeting?

We've probably got a slightly different, although I'm sure there's a lot of crossover between what would.

[00:36:35] David Waumsley: Yeah so my meeting is just the same one. Ultimately at the end of the day, we see if we like it. If I can understand what it is that they want and get some idea what the criteria is then my next thing is always simple.

They just go and book again online. The first session when. And also book by hosting for that. So mine, I've got it really easy here. You have to drill down a lot more in that

[00:37:00] Nathan Wrigley: meeting. So there is a bit of a process and I can't claim to have been the originator of this process. Most of this is just borrowed from other courses and listening to other people talking about it.

But as an example do actually record the meeting. I set the. Yeah. It's nothing elaborate. I'm not saying up a microphone or anything like that. It just plunk the phone down and say, I'm going to record this meeting if that's all right. Because it's quite likely that I will forget most of what we said in, the fine detail if we get into that.

So on goes the phone nobody's. Freaked out by that so far. And I do say honestly, I will be destroying this audio as soon as it's, the project has been launched and this there's no use for it anymore. And then I just open up a chat and it usually is this sort of go wide go deep thing where I'm just asking them questions essentially.

I'm just trying to find out what they want. It's as simple as that, I'm not doing a presentation, I'm not sitting down and showing them a set of slides or standing up in front of a lectern or anything like that. A chat. Okay. Tell me what you need and we just go through it and that process.

I don't know, 20 minutes, half an hour, something like that. And as soon as I sense that the that I'm getting to what it is that they really need. We just drill down on that and begin to talk about what it is that they would like out of the website. And it's very much an iteration where they say things like, can I do this?

And I say yeah, that's, that's really in, in budget or that's the sort of thing which is typically done or. Pretty obvious that they've got no familiarity with the internet. There might be a casual user of websites. I feel it's my job at that point to inject. Have you thought about this?

Have you thought about adding this capability or what if we did it this way so that people could search for such and such a thing? So it's tooling and froing between me and them, but I recorded it. So that afterwards, if I forgotten anything and I'm taking notes, by the way, all this time, if my notes aren't up to scratch, or if I'm just scratching my head thinking, what did they say there?

I've got a backup to go to.

[00:39:16] David Waumsley: Yeah, really good thing. I could do that very easily with when I've got them online and do it. I don't, what I started doing recently, and it is very recently is I've put up a Google document by the side of things that I know that I probably want to ask them usually based on something, so I know it's a lawyer.

I might be interested in what type of lawyer they are, whether they've got partners or stuff in our case. All these things that I feel I should have asked them and a few pointers of things. I want to tell them about how we do our business and then anything they say, I kind of slot on my notes. There that's all it is.

And sometimes that will form the basis of something. I would just share with them as the first Google document. I'm really into that idea of keeping it simple, the way that you and I communicate is through a Google document and it's quite effective. And if there's no, no startup almost everyone's got a Gmail account.


[00:40:08] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, but the intention really is to drill down and figure out what it is that they want. And at the end of that meeting, when everything's said and done, half an hour has gone by or an hour or whatever my intention is to leave that meeting with. The line. Okay. In a few days, time, I will drop a proposal into your inbox.

That's basically where I'm going next. After I've listened to them, I'm saying, okay, something will arrive. And I don't specify tomorrow or the day after, because I'd never quite sure that I'll get around to it as quickly as that. But the intention is to leave them thinking, okay, something will arrive look out for it in your inbox.

I'm not doing typed up versions. I'm not printing this out. This is all going to. Email, I'm sure that, lots of people will be actually printing it out on fine quality paper and handing it over. But that's I'm doing.

[00:41:03] David Waumsley: Yeah. Occasionally from these meters. It's interesting.

Cause somebody is, they've had a previous excite before and they've got different aims and their site isn't doing very well, which is recent job. I now a third job for the same client, but I didn't know. They'd set up these square posts as a square space sites elsewhere for different areas of the business that they do our conversation.

I literally. I'm going to have to think about what you're trying to do and come back. And it turned out that what we're now doing is an entirely different thing to what they were doing. They were. Trying to sell different kind of installers of something in different areas. And now it's turned into a whole content marketing platform that we're building for them, because that would be the sensible way for them to attract people.

So it's interesting how some of these things can go. But yeah, you've got a scope thing I mean, what kind of things are you, what do you need to put into your. Document

[00:42:06] Nathan Wrigley: your proposal. Yeah. This is really interesting just before I get onto that. Can I just sort say it's interesting because you might run, my real intention is to leave that meeting and everything that I need from that moment on is tied up.

But yeah, in the show notes that we shared that there's this idea of what if you get home and you realize that there was something that you missed or something that you wish to ask. I don't know at that point, what I would do, because I don't think I've ever had to do that. I would make the proposal based upon the meeting that we had in the hope that I'd covered everything during that meeting.

But if there was obviously something that I'm thinking, oh, darn I didn't mention that. Or I didn't ask about that. I guess I would be back on the phone trying to organize just a quick telephone conversation to clear something up. But I don't know if that's something you want to comment.

[00:43:00] David Waumsley: Yeah. And also I was just, going back to our.

Fictional lawyer. I just, yeah, I think I would be a little bit more scared than I normally am because, you know, women tend to be more efficient than men in my experience in the workplace anyway. And I'm a woman. And also she's a lawyer, so she's bright. So

[00:43:25] Nathan Wrigley: time is money. Time is money, David.

I know I

[00:43:28] David Waumsley: might have to sharpen up my skills a bit. We have in mind and put down a really good list. I mean, I think I'll be trying to establish a lot of things for if I needed to scope in your shoes. I would definitely be trying to get to whether it's going to need hiring in skills for this kind of thing.

Yeah. Yeah. And I don't know what else I would be. Yeah. Fortunately, I can go, you would probably win this better than I. I might have to go for miss B.

[00:44:01] Nathan Wrigley: I don't know about that. The actual proposal itself, do you want to get it? Are we at the point where we would talk about that? My, my document follows template, basically.

I'm filling in the blanks. I wrote it years ago and I've just tweaked the language and essentially it does start out. A little bit of woefully nonsense about who I am. We've been doing this for such and such a number of years and so on and so forth, those kinds of things, just to add a little bit of context and then I'm right in, on describing in fine detail, essentially I'm picking apart their project into sections that they can easily understand.

So it might be things like, setting up the WordPress website proceeded by getting some hosting up and running, and then we're talking about, setting up a, possibly a wire frame. I don't tend to do that anymore just because page builders take all of that burden away, but getting something bare bones, making sure that we've got the right number of pages and then moving on to the next stage.

And I'm just blocking the project off into different stages. The final stage being, handing it over. And then I, in the proposal further down, I will illustrate what the financial terms are. It might be a 30, 30, 40 split, or it might be a 50, 50 split, 50 as a deposit, 50 upon completion, and then sign at the end and we're off.

That's really all that proposal.

[00:45:37] David Waumsley: Yeah. I'll know. It sounds good because I really haven't put anything that you would call it a proposal together ever really it's turns out to be an email of what we're trying to do. And since I've moved to this new approach, it's new for me, but I'm just wondering is I think it's has a bearing.

So you need to scale. Depending on how tight your contract is, it's all about mitigating risk, isn't it with your contract. So I presume if there's a lot of money on the table, the scoping needs to be more intense. The document you send it.

[00:46:12] Nathan Wrigley: There's no doubt if the project has more zeros on the end, then yeah.

The proposal. Is this better? Shall we just say, I take more care in every word that I write. I might even, excuse me, I might start to tailor the actual color scheme on the proposal so that it matches their branding. I might even go to the lengths of, I dunno, finding images off their current website and include those kinds of things as kind of background images, all of that nonsense just to make it feel a little bit more.

And yes, I will go into much finer detail in terms of. Every single shred of the whole thing will just get more of my attention because I feel it's worth it. I think you'd be mad to treat a proposal for 200 pounds. The same as one for 20,000 pounds. They're just, you just need to spend more time on it.


[00:47:07] David Waumsley: Yeah, of course, but I mean the next step is going. If they say yes to it, it's difficult, isn't it? Because when you put the proposal, it's a sales document, isn't it. And it's got to be attractive to them. It's got to, they've got to think, yeah, you're the person to go with, but you've also got to set yourself up.

So when you do move to the contract, you've referenced what you're talking about as well, when you want them to sign that. Yes. For me, it's okay. Because the contracts in my particular situation have gone out the window. Yeah. It's just the basic agreement. But also the thing for me, I'll throw it in because in terms of, they're always going to ask some ballpark figure for the cost.

So usually my get-out is that I say, look, I know this is why I do it our way, because we don't know how it's going to go, but I can tell you that. Yeah, looking quite decent website is going to take me a minimum of 12 hours, usually 12 to 16. So a sprint of work to get them minimum. Website outward cost that much, but the rest depends on you.

If we're moving into, I have to come up with a copy and stuff to add on and stuff like that. So I give them that as my kind of ballpark figure where I can give them a fixed fee, which is one sprint of work based roughly on the sort of hours that it's going to take me to do my side of the deal.

Yeah, I think we've probably come to the end. Is there anything we've missed out?

[00:48:24] Nathan Wrigley: Let's have a little look scoping document now. I think we've probably about nailed it there. David. There's a lot on this document. I will, what I might do with this one because you and I had a bit of a tubing and fro-ing with the show notes, I might just copy and paste the show notes in, and it will demonstrate where we were thinking about a lot of these we've covered most of the ground, but there's probably a few bits of a mess, but most of it is.

[00:48:50] David Waumsley: Yeah, indeed. We've got probably the most comprehensive notes on this one that we've entirely ignored them. Yeah,

[00:48:57] Nathan Wrigley: it just goes to show. So what's the next one. Then

[00:49:00] David Waumsley: we're moving into agreements, contracts and payments again, the pressure's going to be on. Because mine have

[00:49:07] Nathan Wrigley: a simple, is there ever going to be an episode where the pressure's not on me?

Is it

[00:49:13] David Waumsley: I'm really solid? My kind of approach on this one. Just

[00:49:16] Nathan Wrigley: sit back and watch the money. Rolling. Don't do anything. Yeah. Okay. We'll see you in a couple of weeks. Yeah,

[00:49:23] David Waumsley: I enjoyed that. Thank you,

[00:49:24] Nathan Wrigley: bye. I certainly hope that you enjoyed that episode today. Always lovely to chat to David Waumsley, and I'm really enjoying this brand new series plus a brand new we're obviously on episode three, but many, many more episodes to come.

Please drop a note or a comment either in our Facebook group, go and search for the WordPress business boot camp. It's episodes. 261, or drop a comment on the WP Builds.com website. We'd be most interested in what it is that you think about the content that we're. Okay. We will be back next week. It won't be David and I having a chat it's most likely to be an interview.

Don't forget though, this week in WordPress happening live on a Monday WP Builds.com forward slash live. Alternatively, you can subscribe on our subscribed page and we'll keep you updated. Whenever we produce content. I hope that you have a little. Safe week I'm in a fade in some cheesy music and say, bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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