Customers Are Doing Their Homework

As a small business owner I’m sure you spend quite a bit of time pondering your customers’ purchase-research and buying habits.  After all, knowing what makes your phone ring and what factors play a role in making the sell are worth their weight in gold.

As a professional service provider, ProLedge is continuously evaluating our digital assets, processes and employee-client relationships to make sure we’re providing exceptional bookkeeping services.  We want to share some recent findings with our fellow professional services organizations (i.e accounting, marketing, legal, consulting, construction, architectural and tech firms).

Hinge Marketing conducted a study of over 1,000 professional services purchasers to find out how buyers are checking out sellers today, and which tools no longer get the job done.

When asked how they “check out” service providers, 81% responded they head to the company’s website.  The next most common response – 63% google the service provider. 

That all seems pretty logical, but it’s important to note that buyers use 3.2 research methods, on average, doing their homework on a service provider so they’re not stopping with a quick Google search and trip to your website.

The next most common methods include peer referrals via verbal and social communication.  62% of buyers ask friends or colleagues if they know anything about the service provider and 60% take to social media platforms.  Among social media platforms, LinkedIn is by far the most commonly used source of information on service providers.

What key insights do these findings give us as small business owners?

  • Keep your website clean, user-friendly and up-to-date.  Make sure your contact information is easy to find and include rave reviews from satisfied customers.
  • If you don’t have a business LinkedIn page, create one.  Populate your business profile thoroughly and provide a link to your website.
  • If your executive and sales teams aren’t active on LinkedIn, they should be.
  • Yelp and Google are two of the most widely used review-based platforms.  Actively participate and always respond to reviews, especially the bad ones, immediately.
  • Over half of customers will contact referrals you provide them.  Make sure you’re nurturing those relationships.  It’s easy to take advantage of a long-standing business association, as they don’t require a lot of hand-holding.  These clients are your bread and butter; don’t assume all is well.  It’s important to check in and make sure everyone is still happy and the relationship is still mutually beneficial.

Best of luck on continued business success!

Research details: The report was based on survey data of 1,028 buyers of professional services. The services regularly purchased by respondents include accounting/finance (54% purchase), marketing/communications (47%), legal (40%), technology (35%), management consulting (33%), and architecture/engineering/construction (20%).

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