I guess this is just a frustration post…may not be a good idea but…I am frustrated by the lack of understanding by many potential clients about what we do regarding our services. Yes, I get that we need to educate them on the process and the expected results. Laying out the expectations is important. Educating them on our services -what we are going to do for them and why it is important-is part of the sales process and continues throughout the relationship. What I really don’t understand is how another professional service provider can question my fees when in fact he is insulted when someone questions them about his fees. I recently had an attorney refuse to pay my start up/setup fees. He wanted me to waive the fee AND reduce my monthly fee or he would go elsewhere (to an Indian-based company). I asked him if he would waive or reduce his fees if a potential client said he would find another attorney because of his fees. He said of course not. He can justify his fees with his knowledge and experience. I said so can I. I also reminded him we are a U.S. based company and work is done here and only here at our location or remotely by people who who for me and are located in the U.S. My fees are my fees. They are determined by the amount of work needed to accomplish the client’s goals and make a profit. He hired an Indian-based company.
Second peeve – the $500 website. I cannot compete with those freebies advertised on tv, the cheap overseas websites and the do-it-yourself sites. Nor do I want to compete with them. It is not what we do. We put our hearts and souls into each and every website we build. We make changes to designs and layouts well beyond the scope of work that the client has agreed upon. Why? Because we care and intend to keep that client as a client for many, many years.
I tried advertising on some well-known directories and social sites. There seems to be a wide-spread view that all websites, regardless of quality, usability and added value components should cost $500 or less. I recently had a quote request…in fact two in the same day…for comprehensive ecommerce sites and the budget was less than $500. And they both received multiple bids.
How do I compete for a client’s business when they are just looking at price and not value and certainly not results? It has become a difficult world to compete in when it is all about price. Services have become a commodity. It has been accelerated by the demise of print media companies and their transformation into digital marketing companies. Now the independent web and marketing firms are forced to compete with Yellow Pages, Super Pages, ezPages, ValuePak, and all the other print media companies that have hundreds if not thousands of direct sales people scrambling to hold onto their jobs while learning about digital marketing and web sites. They sell on price regardless of what they claim. It is about volume and commission. Their advantage is they have been selling on price for years to the local business owners and don’t really need to know anything about the product they sell or what it does…they rely on closing and moving on and then some customer support rep back at HQ calls them to get the details-“pick a template and a color, your site will be up in 2 business days.”
I believe business owners will catch on eventually. I believe they will know they need to go to professionals for their digital needs. I have spoken with several clients who told me their goal was to eliminate the need to pay for print ads whether it be ValuePak or the local newspaper and move that budget to online marketing. They are currently caught in a contract with those print advertisers but they won’t renew. They have spent years developing their brand. It is not something they want to fit into a cheap website and they want to speak to the people doing the work, not the sales rep. So maybe there is hope.
What’s your opinion? Leave a comment or contact me directly.