How UX Thinking Helped Sell A $60k Agency Project

UX thinking

So often we think of UX design as a thing you do after a web or app design proposal gets approved. It’s just part of the process, right?

That’s true, but UX thinking can also be used to help sell a design project. In fact, I recently helped a small design agency close a $60k project doing exactly that.

If you’re a freelancer or run a digital agency, you might want to add this to your sales toolbox. Here’s how.


Did you play with legos when you were a kid? Do you remember dumping them all out on the floor to see what you had before you tried to make something?

I still like to take a close look at everything before I start working on it, probably because of legos and also because I was a project manager for 10 years before moving into UX design.

Web projects are very similar to legos. Before any pixels get pushed, you have to take everything into account from point A to point B. Who is the audience? What do they want to do? What do you want them to do? What’s worth doing? Why?

Where are the gaps and how can you fill them? This is what the discovery process is all about.

Even before the contract is signed, imagine everything your customer’s customer is going to experience from the moment they find the site on Google until they place the order. That’s the heart of UX – matching user needs with business goals.

Keep It Simple

Digital projects also come with a ton of intimidating technical and marketing jargon, so it’s important to lay things out as simply as possible. After all, the sales process is a just series of conversations. So talk normally with people about what’s involved. Learn as much as you can about how you can help.

And since successful design projects require close collaboration with everyone, it’s super-important to get clients on board with your project process in a way that’s easy to understand.

Why? Because business people don’t care about all of our fancy UX techniques and wizardry. If they hire you it’s because they believe you can get them results.

The Client’s Problem

Take that recent $60k project for example. Our client was overwhelmed by having so many moving parts to her web presence. Between her multiple websites, an e-commerce shop and social media channels, it seemed like her brand had been pieced together with duct tape.

During our discovery meetings, we gently pointed out the discrepancies and showed her how altering various pieces of the design and page layout would increase conversions and enhance the overall user experience.

Site Map as Solution Map

To illustrate things visually, I created a map of her entire digital presence along with everything that fed into it – video footage, email campaigns, blog posts, social media, etc. Using a simple Sketch sitemap template, we laid everything out like a big jigsaw puzzle.

That’s when the lightbulb clicked on for her.
Previous web teams had built sites for her without even considering the user experience, and those sites were performing very poorly as a result.

By starting with a solid UX strategy first, we were able to provide examples of ways to reduce the number of assets she was managing and design a clear, consistent user journey she could see and understand.

A Happy Client

There was zero hesitation on her part when it came time to close the deal. She said “You’re my team. I only wish I could have found you sooner.”

So far things are going great, and we expect to launch the new site early this Spring.

I’d like to partner with more digital agencies in the future. If you’re interested in this approach and want to discuss it in more detail let’s chat. I’d love to learn more about what you’re working on and how UX thinking can help.

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