So, we have established that your customer service needs to be that much better, you are most likely the only communicator with the potential client and you have to make a great impression…it’s all on you! Your portfolio also needs to be that much better. Many times just giving samples of your work isn’t going to convince clients, especially seasoned ones, that you know what you are doing. E-mailing clients a PDF with a few prior projects is the best way to do it. Just sending the link to your portfolio is informal and honestly a bit lazy. Unless your mailbox is overflowing with potential work opportunities take the time to e-mail your clients a well developed PDF portfolio. Using a portfolio format helps ensure that your information is kept private and it should be easier for you to get consent from prior clients if you ask to display work you’ve done for them in a private and secure way, rather than displaying their site’s embarrassing before and after pics for the whole world to see.
Place emphasis on your process! People want to see HOW you got to your finished product. I have heard this from the beginning and I recently attended a UXPA meeting in NYC where this was the emphasis of the meeting. Show how you got to your finished product. It will be easier for you to get fairly compensated for you time and hard work if you show your client that you are using a well honed process. In your portfolio describe and show (through pictures) that you have a process that works for you. Don’t be ashamed of showing pictures of your whiteboards, your post-it notes detailing your IA, or early sketches you did on a piece of computer paper. All of these things show that you have a process and that there is actual work that will go into your wireframes. If you client can conjure up the image of your working step-by-step on their project, chances are they will feel much more comfortable in hiring you.