I put myself in their shoes

My family and I are planning on moving this summer, and because of that we’ve had to interview and hire a lot of different people… Realtors, contractors, movers, etc.

It’s not often I do this, so it’s easy for me to forget what that process is like — but I’m trying to take this as on opportunity to see things from the other side, because this is how clients probably feel when they are looking for a web agency like us.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed about how I’m feeling…

  • Overwhelmed by the number of choices of companies/people to hire
  • Unsure of how the process works, how things are priced, when I should get started
  • Weighing the pros and cons of just doing some of this myself

Some of these are big decisions, that have real consequences — and every bit of it feels expensive to me. So what I think I’m really looking for is the vendor that will put my mind at ease.

But, to be honest a lot of them are failing at that.

They’ve made me question if their a good choice or not when they:

  • Don’t send me info or call when they say they will
  • Leave out some of the details I specifically asked about
  • Seem to be making things up as they go or on the fly

Like most people, I’m not just looking for the cheapest option. I’m honestly willing to pay a premium if:

  1. I know exactly what to expect
  2. The vendor is reliable (even by just following up when they say they will)
  3. I have a clear understanding of how things will work from start to finish
  4. I feel like my concerns are being addressed

I’ve found these things to be really interesting observations. Even though they are in completely different industries than ours, I can imagine our customers feeling the same way.

So, how to we put our clients minds at ease and make ourselves the best choice?

I have a few initial ideas:

  1. I need to finally get a “welcome/intro packet” together. This is something a lot of folks in TABLE have done and had success with. I think if any of these vendors would have sent me over a little PDF that gave me a broad overview of how the process works, I would have felt a lot more comfortable.
  2. I need to take notes or record conversations. It’s impossible to remember every little detail a client mentions on a call, but you never know which one of those little things is really important to them. I think vendors can easily forget to address these things as they seem obvious to us — but they are key to showing your client you’re listening.
  3. Being over communicative is better than the alternative. I feel like I’ve been reasonable, and as a business owner I know that things “come up” and throw schedules out of wack. But if I’m not going to be able to provide something when I said I would, then I need to communicate that and provide a new timeline.
  4. Show them I’ve been there before. One vendor used a story of a client they worked with that was in a similar situation to me, and explained how things turned out. This was super powerful. I know we all have these kinds of stories we can share (and this makes a great argument for case studies!).

I don’t think it really comes down to who has the best product or price — it’s who can identify what’s important to a person, communicate clearly, and prove that you’re reliable.

I think if I paid half as much attention to these things as I do playing with tech & tools, I’d have twice the business I have now.

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