For a daily shop-o-need cycle, a small investment to 'try-out' the new and be in 'trend' is perfect. But, what about bigger and larger decisions for your office or which window blinds to invest in while renovating a home or which agency to trust your SEO campaign or which chat software to install for your customers or which builder will give you a dream space. The large investments demand a trusted partner, and here, we are sharing the top things you should give importance to before reaching the decision.
1. How big is the team? - Let's continue working with the above examples if you are looking to get a Hanas Blind installed, a small team is OK, but to purchase one or two floors in a commercial building, trust a builder with a larger team. Your need should define the team size. Why? A bigger team means, more people, more ideas and a better-managed team at both micro- and macro-level. But, in rare cases, a bigger teams can mean, more chaos.
2. What are the skill sets? - Once again, this is a basic requirement - the company or team you wish to hire should have the necessary aptitude to deliver. If you are looking for someone to drive your digital marketing campaign, knowledge of online marketing tools is a must - even if it's a start-up. A person starting a business may be able to meet the demands of the profession, while an established player's creativity has been tested, time and again, and they can be result-driven as per requirements.
3. What kind of experience do they have? - A wannabe entrepreneur may not have the experience, but their creativity may not be a match to the seasoned players. Once again, it all boils down to what you need! Creativity in decorating your home is welcome, but a seasoned player who knows the ins and outs of building bye-laws is required when you build a commercial space. Keep in mind, however, there is always an overlap between real-life knowledge and bending of rules to stand over the head and shoulders of others.
4. Have they worked for your industry before? - This question may not be applicable to personal purchases but to hiring agencies and personnel chosen for a job. Knowledge of the industry easily translates into a team well-versed with the challenges and benefits to focus on your industry. Don't be hesitant, ask for references from old clients or customers, and if possible check-out the work they have done earlier. However, they should not compromise on the value you and your company represents.
5. Are they open to communication? - Communication is not all about speaking, it is also about listening. It is a two-way street - you have to articulate your ideas and dreams clearly. And, then you have to keep your mind open to the suggestions of the agency you want to hire. In the initial talks, you can gauge, how attentive they are when listening, and how clearly they state their ideas to you. A good agency or company will be judging you on these parameters.
6. Are they discussing achievable deliverables? - Once again, the line between the two is so thin, that is quite possible for you to be misled. When discussing the deliverables, say the increase in traffic from an SEO campaign, are they just saying, "Trust us, we will increase the traffic." Or are they concentrating on telling you - 1x growth is possible in the next six months if these steps are implemented. The latter may come back and say, results were not achieved, because of lack of support, but then they will have to back-up each piece with evidence giving you an unbeatable experience for the future.
7. What are people saying about them? - That's why word-of-mouth references and online reviews are so very important. These are genuine experiences from people who have associated with the company, and are either bowled over or are filled with anger. The fact is most agencies and sellers working can deliver good to outstanding results. But, there will always the ones that fell short of expectations - people messed up, planning was not right, communication stalled, etc., etc. Talk to as many people as you can to gauge the average success and failure rate.
8. What is their demeanour? - Do they smile often while speaking to you, even while making the presentation to you? Are they relaxed while communicating or are all of them tensed up? Share incorrect information or demand an outdated process, do they agree while secretly rolling their eyes? Or do they stand up and correct you, sharing with you the reasons why your ideas need to be ditched? Any intelligent person knows they need a person who smiles, is relaxed and is not averse to telling off their clients, in a reasonable manner. You may have heard of arrogant geniuses, with no manners, but those men and women are few and far in between, and if you are working with one of them, then you should be ditching this write-up and spending time on benefitting.
9. What are the services included? - Take in writing the services included and not included. If you planning an SEO campaign for the first time, you need to study the industry, ask questions of the experts, even the silliest one and get them answered in a cohesive and comprehensive manner. These are to be discussed before finalising or signing the deal. As was mentioned earlier, there can be no compromise on the communication between you and the person who you are dealing with
10. What is the proposed budget? - This has been saved for the last, for the simple reason, you know the heart of a purchase rests on the cost. You may be a person will pockets as deep as the Pacific Ocean, but even you would not want to waste your money on things which do not bring value - in terms of beauty or functionality to your home or office. Ask for the costs to be incurred, and please opt for a smaller or cheaper option, if you are in doubt about payment.
In conclusion, hiring an agency or a company may be a part of the shop-o-system, but that system rests on the shoulders of responsible salespersons, account managers and clients. Yes, you have to be careful while choosing a company, but your contribution is just as responsible for the final success.