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Client Message And Your Message Collision

When selling services to other companies, you need to re-consider your key website messages.

Recently I came across a »corner case« of web site design.  Two clients were providing services to other businesses (B2B), but in entirely different industries.  Both struggled to create websites and key clients gave negative indications.  The problem and the solution for both was the same….

Let’s imagine a simple outsourcing relationship to better understand the problem.  Outsourcing is likely to be promoted based on a critical knowledge, price, location, language, or other advantage that the supplier (“SmallCorp”) has over their client’s (“BigCorp”) internal resources.  However, BigCorp is selling to their customer’s with a message that they are uniquely qualified to solve a specific problem.  The SmallCorp’s message, if ever exposed, is completely incompatible with their cleint (BigCorp’s) message.  In an age where nearly anyone is potentially exposed to end customer-facing communications, it is high risk that an outsourced person could expose his name to an end client.  Once exposed, social networks (linkedin, facebook,etc) quickly expose SmallCorp – including  which company this person works for and what “priorities” his company has.  The result—client message collision.

The solution, is to… ….position any public communications from a Client’s perspective.  Focus on the benefits that your Client’s customers would recognize as positive.  A tech support call center outsourcing company (SmallCorp) might be tempted to promote that they “can cut support costs significantly”—this would appeal to supply managers at BigCorp that are looking to review their support strategy but such a message would be an embarrassment if communicated to BigCorp’s customers and not at all attractive to BigCorps customer facing teams.  Alternatively, a non-conflicting but similar message could be “We improve customer satisfaction by providing scalable, knowledgeable IT support staff at times when you customers want support”  then later the SmallCorp salesman could talk to their prospective client about the limitations of inflexible internal staff and promote the fact that such an approach fits within existing budgets.  This second message is more complex and perhaps not as compelling to a task-focused supply chain manager of BigCorp, but real, quality-focused decision maker’s within your BigCorp will relate far better to the second than the first.

The key is to ask yourself how your Cleint’s customers benefit from your service.  Example include: saving costs in non-critical areas, adding flexibility to better adapt to customer schedules, allow  customers who would otherwise not be able to consider the Client’s offering to now have the option, etc.

As you do this, remember, service selling , when done correctly, is almost always complex—emotional rather than truly rational, quality and consequences of poor quality are difficult to demonstrate, and the key differentiator will be trust.  This means your website is only selling a conversation with a potential client, not the service itself.  If you are not sure, say less in public and more in conversation.

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