It’s really easy to find a specialist supplier. It’s really difficult to find out if they are any good at that specialism. Especially when it is in an area that you know nothing about.
Giving a keynote speech to an industry group recently I was stunned to find how many felt that they did not have the confidence to hire a website designer. This motivated me to write this short guide.
How to hire an expert (when you don’t know)
Are you a business owner who feels that they got mis-sold or ripped off by a website design project?
Did you pay a lot of money and find that the website you got did not deliver what was promised?
This is my tried and tested technique that will help you to find a supplier who is both an expert and will work well with your project situation.
- Start with the outcome you want. Can you describe in plain English what you want to happen by the end of the project? Use this to explain what you want to buy. So you could say I need a website that will showcase my products to customers living in Australian cities who buy mens fashion. That is much clearer than “I want a website that will put me on page one of Google”. [By the way, that’s impossible to promise – so don’t trust anyone who says they can do this for you.] When we work with clients seeking websites, read the descriptions we write about their projects.
- Ask good questions. By gaining detail from questions, you can discover the depth of expertise in each business you talk to. Let’s say you have a written quote from a web developer explaining how they’d achieve your outcome. You can ask them questions like “What’s the best way to achieve my outcome?” and “How will you go about doing that?”. So if they say that on-page SEO is the best way to achieve search results for customers living in Australian cities who buy mens fashion, ask them to show you HOW they’ll do it. Step. By. Step. Yes, I’d ask them to explain in this level of detail. If they can’t do it, or do not appear consistent, or are unwilling that’s a big red flag that they may not have a robust process methodology.
- Know the language they use and understand it. Write down the words they use in written submissions and in conversation. Go away and look them up. What is on-page SEO? How do UTM Tags work? There is no shame in research and increasing YOUR knowledge. And afterwards, you can follow up and get them to explain more about the phrase they used once you understand what it is. So that’s back to Step 2 – ask good questions.
- Run tests when you are face to face. Any skilled operator should be able to show you real live work jobs that they have done or are currently working on that will be using the same techniques as your project. So when you meet your expert – get them to SHOW you what they mean. Open up Google Analytics for YOUR website live in the meeting on your laptop. Ask them for their views on your recent traffic history. Watch how they browse inside Google Analytics – do they know the sub-menus, can they navigate confidently to the answer they’re talking about, do they explain something which you hadn’t noticed? Nobody who works in marketing should be ignorant of GA. Including YOU. So if they don’t or can’t use it. Run away fast. Another test you can run is to show them a problem you have and ask how they’d fix it. Then ask them “How will I know that this problem is fixed?” so that they show you the proof that they are an expert and good at their job and can prove it as well.
- Think hard before hiring a friend. Many business people like to recommend other businesses. Nothing wrong with this. But in my experience, your friend or your friend’s friend is probably not the only person who can help you. Do interview the friend, but also go and look for other supplier experts and compare them fairly. You want the best value for your business, after all, don’t you?
Now you’ve got a good core set of skills to start your expert hiring process. Be courageous and keep good records – you won’t regret it.
And if you want a website built, or some direct response copywriting, or a video made and overall effective marketing done that brings in sales – get in touch with us. We will either teach you how to do it yourself or we can do it for you. Easy!