Sight Unseen

Do you have a business where people buy your product or service before they actually see the final results?

There are many business in this category.  Think about it. Architects promise to design you a new home.  Doctors offer you a way to feel better.  Graphic designers promise a creative logo.  Life coaches help you to find your direction.  Website designers promise a website that attracts visitation.

In all of these situations, you do not really know what the outcome will look or feel like, yet you still have to choose who you want to do business with.  It is not as if we say to our doctor, “Listen, I am going to work with you for the next month.  Now, if you and I together can get rid of this funky rash, then I will pay you.  If it is still there, you are out of luck and I am moving on to someone else.”  We don’t say to our website designer, “Look, show me what you are going to design.  I will ask 2 other designers to do the same thing, and then I will pick which one of them I like the best and pay that designer.”

We choose who we are going to work with based on criteria other than the final results. What are some of the factors we use to choose a service professional?

What have they done in the past?

We like to see examples of past work.  Can they show us logos or websites they have designed?  Do they have testimonials that express the results that others have achieved by working with them?  This helps to build confidence in them as a professional.

Do I like them?

When working with a service professional we want to like the person.  We want to have an enjoyable experience, because it is usually a process.  This is not a one time ‘buy and fly’, but a relationship.  We are looking for someone with whom we resonate.

How is their customer service?

We call on the phone, we want someone to respond.  We have opportunities to interact with service professionals and their offices before we make the buying decision.  If we have trouble getting answers and courtesy from them before we buy, we will not choose them.

Did someone refer me to them?

A personal referral goes a long way in helping us to choose our provider.  If our friend had a good experience with them, we feel confident that we will too.  We can ask our friend lots of questions to find out the ‘real story’.

Are they hearing what I want?

Since we are hiring them on faith that the final product will reflect who we are, we want to make sure that they have heard us.  Were they listening when I was talking or were they talking while I was talking?  Did they ask about me, or did they just tell me about themselves and what they do?  Did they ask me probing questions?  Did they repeat back to me what they thought they heard?  We know when we are really being heard, so don’t try to fool us.

These are just some of the things that the consumer pays attention to, consciously or not, when choosing a service provider.  A good business manager will make sure that they are aware of the type of buying decision their prospects have in front of them and proactively help them to see their business in the best light.

Can you add to this list of decision making criteria?  Let me know.

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