How do you choose?

When buying a product or service, how do you choose?

Yes, it’s a deep subject as with all businesses when selecting a service to help you take care of things so you can continue to grow your business like a bookkeeper, advertising agency, product supplier, printer, office cleaner, or other industry it comes down to a few key things.

  1. Price for what you receive
  2. Value for what you bought
  3. Knowledge – Expertise
  4. Reliability – Trust
  5. Continued Care

Let us tackle them one by one and you will see a lot of these can be answered by those closest to you that you have already built a relationship with to help you find the right service provider.

1) Your first thought when adding an outside resource to handle or provide things you need to keep your business growing is for a lot of people the price.  Most will look for the bargains the service providers that offer ‘The Best Rates’ in town.  Be wary of this tactic getting a good price for the services you receive is not always about getting the lowest priced you’re offered.  You know what it costs to maintain overhead if you receive a product for $50 do you sell it for $50?  You calculate your time, value, and overhead before putting a price on an item or service.  So when looking at prices received from the companies you need the services from consider several things before you decide how much you are willing to pay for it.

  • How many things are included (Those nice little extras)
  • What do others say about the value they received (are they getting more or less for their money)
  • What kind of experience is the service or item backed by (It is not always about the amount of certificates on a wall)
  • Old saying still applies – ‘You Get What You Pay For‘ if it’s free or priced lowest are you getting the same value in some cases you do…

2)  Your next might be to ask yourself how do you know if you are receiving a good value for the service or product?  This is a valid question for any of us that have bought something only to turn around and see the exact same thing for less.  Again, you have to ask yourself was the item or service being offered for less have as much going on as what you bought?
Example:  You buy cleaning service from ‘Ace Cleaning’ for your office and it includes; Emptying trash, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the restroom & windows.  This service is 2X a month for $150.
A week later you get a mailer saying ‘Acme Clean’ is offering the same list of services the same amount of times a month for $99…  Hold onto that first thought: “I NEED TO SWITCH” admit it you know it crossed your mind.

Let’s look closer – in addition to the services offered by ‘Ace Cleaning’ they bring their own supplies to clean your office with and they have a strong social media presence and put in plugs for all the businesses they clean.
While on the other hand ‘Acme Clean’ uses your cleaning supplies, has little online presence & uses it only to promote their own business.
So look closer it is not always apples to apples when you are comparing companies.

3)  The intellect question… When you ask, does this company really know their stuff or will this product live up to its standards or the standards of your company?  I like to ask for recommendations if using a service or a list of companies that are using the product before buying.  This is not rude, this is smart business.  If the product is so great then surely others are saying how great it is.  If the service a company is offering is the best and they are stating they are the experts then again they must have someone willing to testify to this fact.  Ask for validation of their customer satisfaction guarantee.

4)  Reliability and Trust – for me this is big!  I am willing to pay more for a service or product that will stand the test of time.  How many have bought a product (cell phone) and the first few weeks you’re in love with it and then you experience electronic depression when it doesn’t perform like it should.  That amazing new technology gets a one way ticket out the window.  Or on the service end you hire a company to take care of something you need and at first they are actively rolling out the red carpet & then leftover syndrome hits and you are no longer the brightest toy they have and the red carpet turns brown.

Again, easily checked just ask for references to who has bought their product or used their services for more than a few months.  Look for longevity in the references, someone who has been using them for more than a couple months.

5)  Number 4 rolls right into number 5 with Continued Care – When you first agree to a service or buy a product and the company falls over themselves to make sure you are happy (at least I hope they do…), doesn’t it feel great.  How do you know if the company you choose will continue that care for the long haul?  Do your homework – ask others you know have used the company you are about to hire or buy from.  Research their company what are others saying about them, do they have past clients are they still singing praises even if they no longer need to use their services or buy their products?  No one wants to hire a service or buy a product and have the newness wear off after the check is cashed.

Word of mouth most of the time cannot be bought if a community is talking about a company listen and let friends, co-workers, family, clients help you make the right choices in using other businesses.

Visibility also a great tool for helping you decide on who gets your business.  If a company is all over the place and the feedback is 99% of the time positive, it’s a good sign they are willing to back their business.

Price Point looking for value compared to price given, understanding it is not always the lowest offered that you want to run with.  Paying for good product or great service will connect you with a product or service you will continue to be happy with even after it’s been paid for.

Hope this article has helped you when needing to make a choice to purchase a product or service.  It is okay to shop around, to ask others and to require proof of value.  After all you worked hard for your money make sure when you use it that it is working hard to earn you more or bring a value to your business or life!

 

 

 

Kristi Kirkland
Answer Marketing Inc

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