Business to Business

Just as with any business, an important aspect of what I do is sales.  And as a part of what I do to market my business every day, I make cold-calls.  In some weeks, I may place as many as 500 cold calls to a wide-variety of businesses.  I prefer to operate in this “business to business” environment, because it is what I have known for the majority of my life.  Yet, there is one thing about this B2B relationship that baffles me.

Isn’t there a mutual respect accorded among  business people?  When I call you to offer what I clearly feel is a valuable solution to help you grow your business; I am doing so in a manner of the utmost professionalism.  Yet I am often met with rudeness.  Granted, it is often a  person who is of the opinion  that  a website would be a waste of time and money.  But even still, is there not a more professional and cordial way to handle this situation?  When a potential customer calls and asks for a product that you do not offer, do you tell them they are stupid for asking?  Or if you are backlogged with work for several weeks, do you tell a caller to quit wasting your time because you do not need their business?  Of course you don’t.  So why  treat a fellow business owner in that way simply because you may think you are not interested in the service they have to offer?

I understand that a cold solicitation is an interruption and sometimes a distraction. But simply asking for a 2 minute explanation to understand what the call is all about is preferable to rudeness. Even if we put professionalism aside for a moment, how about doing what makes good business sense?  What if I am, in addition to being a website developer who is cold-calling your business, also a potential customer?  What if I am presently in need of the products or service that you offer, and you choose to treat me with disrespect?  And moreover, if I am insulted by the way you treat me, does it not stand to reason that I might tell other friends, family, and associates that they should not patronize your business?  What kind of impact could that have on your bottom-line?

I am never dishonest, but there are some times when I truly am a potential customer of a business I am calling.  And I make it a habit to always endeavor to do business with people who do business with me.  So when the opportunity presents itself to tell the business owner that I am also a potential customer, I often times hear the very tone of their voice change.  I guess it is just sad but true that a business owner might react so quickly, without thinking, until they are presented with the possibility that there might be some immediate business on the other end of the phone.

So perhaps, in the end, there is a very basic lesson to learn in all of this.  In the spirit of the writing, “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten,” we should ask ourselves, “can’t we all just play nice?”  Having an effective online presence  is, after all, a wise business practice and so is demonstrating a respectful degree of professionalism.

Published in: on September 19, 2008 at 11:27 PM  Comments (2)  
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How Much Does a Website Cost?

How much does a house cost? A new truck? A new piece of machinery? It depends, doesn’t it?

No doubt, these are all significant financial decisions, and the final price tag is something that affects the kind of item a consumer might decide on. But in all of these cases, the answer to the “cost” question depends on a lot of different things – mostly what the consumer wants included in the item. And more than likely, the first response to the “cost” question must be “well, how much do you want to spend?” or “what price range is in your budget?”.

Yet, when a website developer answers the “cost” question by asking what is in a potential customer’s budget, the potential customer invariably thinks the website developer is asking because he intends to gouge the customer for as much as possible. Why?

And consider this. If a consumer were to find a realtor that would answer the “how much does it cost” question without asking you for any more information, what would the consumer think when he told him a price that was more than he thought he could afford? What if this was you? If the realtor said, “well I can sell you a house that costs $300,000” and you knew it was about twice what you wanted to spend? You would probably respond with something like, “Well, that’s too expensive. Can you help me find a house around $150,000?” What you would NOT think is, “Wow…that realtor was trying to take advantage of me. I better go find another realtor that is willing to sell me a less expensive house.”

Here’s the difference in how most business owners look at the website in comparison to how most consumers look at the other financial decisions previously mentioned: when one goes to buy the house, he is a consumer who has already decided that he will likely make a purchase of some kind. With the website, however, many business owners ask the “cost” question with the intent of factoring the answer into whether or not he will continue considering. This is where the shift must occur. Some even ask how much something costs for the main purpose of saying “no thank you, that’s too much.” What they really ought to be asking at this point is, “What do you think a website can do to increase my business?” Followed by a discussion about what they want and need in a website and how much it will cost to create it, based on their desires. Eventually, like all other business purchases, a decision can be made on a cost/value basis.

You must first embrace the fact that you must have a website to continue to do business. Only after you have accepted this fact will you then be able to approach the decisions about a website from the proper perspective, only then will you be able to discuss the feature and benefits you want in a website in an effective way, and only then will a developer be able to provide you with the high-level of service – like what you receive from the realtor – and help you make the correct decisions about a website that will function for your business while also falling within the confines of your pocketbook.

“I already have a site.”

Every day, more and more businesses are creating a presence on the world wide web. And every day, I hear more and more people tell me that they already have a website. Unfortunately, inherent in those five simple words that are so oft repeated to web developers that undoubtedly inundate a customer’s telephone and voicemail every week is one very flawed assumption: that having a site means they do not need my help or my services!

Sad, but true…that many sites that may meet the minimum criteria of a “web presence” are, in fact, a liability to their owners. While the site owner strategically counters offers to assist them with internet marketing by Consultants such as myself, they are also floundering in the virtual world and are frequently harder to find online than they may be in physical reality. As I often ask, “does your site rise above the crowd, or get lost in it?” As a business owner, it is up to you to not make the mistake of assuming that your website – simply because it exists – is doing everything for you and your business that a website should. The reaility is that the world of internet technology is changing so rapidly that you can not FIND enough time to stay on top of it AND run your business…which is why it is important to let someone you trust make sure that your website, and your internet marking strategy, are comprehensive and effective.

Choices, choices, choices

There’s a big difference between a salesman and a consultant. A salesman tries to convince you that you want and need what he has, exactly the way he has it. No modifications to fit your needs, no changes to make it more of what you would like. No customization. In a salesman’s mind, “as is” is perfect for you. A consultant, on the other hand, cares about you. A consultant gives you options and helps you decide what fits best for you and your company. In other words, a consultant gives you choices.

When it comes to your website, POTW is the consultant you’re looking for. Everything from the initial website design, to the format, graphics, text, content, and search engine optimization strategy is customizable to fit your needs…no cookie cutter approach to any aspect of your web solution.

Maintenance of your website? We have MORE options…to assure that the ongoing maintenance of your site is done exactly the way you want, and in a way that fits your budget. Once we teach you and your staff how to use our user-friendly WYSIWYG interface, your Monthly Hosting and Membership fee gives you access to our Technical Support Staff, via toll-free number, who will assist you in making the changes necessary to keep your website in tip-top shape. All of this for no extra charges.

No time? No problem. Let us do your website maintenance work. We offer a variety of Maintenance Package Options to fit your needs and fit your pocketbook.

With POTW, you get a true Web Solution Consultant experience.