Join Lauren Bacon for an in-depth discussion in this video Q&A: Convince clients to spend money, part of Web Career Clinic Weekly.
- [Lauren] Hi, I'm Lauren Bacon and welcome to this week's edition of the Web Career Clinic where I'll explore how to build a career you love making good stuff on the web. This week in Web Career Clinic, we're answering a question from our lynda.com members and if you didn't know that you can send me your questions, well, you can. The easiest way is to tweet at me. I'm @laurenbacon on Twitter so fire me a question using the hashtag ProWebClinic. Today's member question is so good.
It's a really common question in fact no matter what kind of work you do. This person wants to know how do I convince my boss to spend money on UX? But you could also ask, how can I convince my client to spend money on strategy or my colleagues to allocate budget to design or any other process that requires an investment of time and energy and doesn't necessarily have obvious results. I mean, if you're a UX person, you can see the results of your work but it's not always easy to convince other people that it matters and the same goes for say investing time in cleaning up old code and getting rid of some technical debt.
So let's break this down and I'll use the example of convincing a boss about the value of UX but please adapt this for your own purposes because the principles are the same. First of all, a lot of us try to convince people of things when we should be persuading them. That might sound like semantics but it's actually a very different thing. When you're trying to convince them, you're trotting out a bunch of arguments that you find compelling but when you work at persuading someone, you have to take the time to figure out where they're coming from and what matters to them and then adapting your approach accordingly.
And the reason that's important is that it's far more powerful to let someone come to their own conclusions than it is to just talk at them. If you can help them get to a place where they have an aha moment about the value of UX, you will never have to talk them into valuing it again. They will remember that experience and then they will become an advocate for it. Think about it this way. I could sit here all day and tell you how important it is to floss your teeth and how little time it takes and show you pie charts and blah blah blah but will any of that actually get you to floss your teeth? Maybe once or twice but it's not going to shift your behavior in the long term because as soon as you turn off this video, you're going to forget about flossing and you'll find something else to think about.
Lectures don't convince most of us but if I help you figure out a way to make flossing your teeth easy for you and you find yourself enjoying the experience of having super clean teeth then you won't need me to convince you of anything. You'll already be persuaded that flossing is a good thing, that it's easy for you and it's an obvious thing to work into your daily routines. So that's where you want to get your boss to. You want your boss to say to themselves, hey, this is easy and maybe even fun and it feels great to do it.
I immediately see the benefits and they speak for themselves. Got that? That's persuading. Okay, so how do you go about persuading your boss that UX matters? Well, it depends on what matters to your boss. What are the things that keep them awake at night? What are they focused on? This is where you need to use your empathy skills because you need to understand how people tick in order to persuade them. Are they all about the money? Are they obsessed with being innovative and cutting edge? Or maybe they're conservative and they like to know that things have worked well for other organizations before they try them out.
Whatever their focus, you need to tailor your approach to fit it. But here's the biggest thing you can do to persuade anyone of the value of something. Show, don't tell. Figure out an experiment that you can run without having to get permission or budget and run the experiment then share the results. If you're a UX person, look for processes you can improve and ideally ones that have the potential to significantly affect the business's bottom line.
That means focusing on the AARRR metrics. Also known as pirate metrics. Acquisition. That's attracting new users. Activation. Getting them to take action in some way. Retention. Keep them coming back. Revenue. Converting them into paying customers. And referral. Getting them to bring their friends along. If you can make a UX recommendation that results in a significant uptake in one of those metrics, you'll persuade that boss in no time.
So run some mini experiments where you identify a problem area, figure out the approach that you think is going to work like doing some A/B user testing for example and then once you've achieved the results you want, share them with your boss. Ultimately, a good boss will invest in things that make good business sense so you need to talk business to them. There's a great blog post that goes into more detail on this approach which I highly recommend and thank you to Rian Fendermarva for rating it.
So to recap. Don't convince, persuade. Focus on what matters to the person you're persuading and show, don't tell by running small experiments. That's it for this week's Web Career Clinic. Tune in next time as I explore another topic for web professionals. If you have questions about your web career, hit me up on Twitter at @laurenbacon using the hashtag ProWebClinic. See you next week.
If you're interested in a career in web design, programming, UX, SEO, project management, or content development, this course is a great place to start. Learn about the career options that are available to you, identify a path that fits your skills and preferences, and look a few steps ahead of where you are now, to plan your professional future.