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Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 1
Top Contributor Alumni

I did an analysis of a commercial website for a potential client yesterday. It is a mid size corporation in the transportation sector. They had a decent looking website but one that had obviously been built by just adding new text and images to a pre-configured template and not much more.

 

The site took forever to load because of a 6mb image among other things on the home page. It was so slow that it is the only site I have seen actually score a zero on Google Page Speed test (although it had a 92 on mobile friendly).

 

As part of my analysis I said that the web is full of amateurs masquerading as professional web designers and websites like this one are the result.

 

After sending the report I looked up the management staff of the company on Linkedin. IT turns out the marketing director is also "in charge of company web design and content". Ouch. Maybe I would have said it differently if I had done more homework before writing the analysis. But it was the truth...

 

Have you every really done anything embarrassing in front of a client?

 

 

5 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
I refer to those instances as opportunities since you may very well end up working with that person. Maybe that is all they where able to do at the time. I have seen some companies refer to these things as "Questionable Practices".

I am by no means as expert at communication, just my thoughts Smiley Happy

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
Sadly, there are far too many novices handling very complex website, marketing and/or IT services. And for companies that are top-tier and worth millions.

In your case, Mike, the CEO may have handed the website to him without the marketing director wanting it and is doing the best he can and actually loves you right now for setting the company straight. I have had this happen and later became a valuable team member (and still am to this day). They later admitted that they were in deep, way over their head... but the boss set things up that way. Now they are so happy to have me handle it and focus on the things they know and know well.

You did the right thing by giving them an honest review, which will serve you well in all future communications.

____________________________________________________________
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Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
I have a similar senerio which happened a few years back.

I was on a weekly call with the CEO and a few managers which covered our top 10 clients in which we went over weekly results. This one week I was late and joined in halfway through where I began to share my bumping heads with a certain customer in which we were covering, basically I had mentioned that this certain client was a "pain" in so many words.

Just as I blurted out the CEO unmuted his phone to mention he had some visitors in for the meeting and it was that client. Ouch!

The client admitted that he was tough that week and we all had a good laugh luckily.

Had to share this one seeing the title of this post. Cheers!

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 5
Top Contributor Alumni
I like your attitude :-)

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 6
Top Contributor Alumni
Ohhh I can feel my face getting red....haha well at least it worked out for you.

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

Do you want to work with them after what you've discovered about their website, @MikeJohnston?

If they are the people who built it, then they are terrible at what they do - not a good client, unless you can solve everyone of their website problems and they are planning to pay you for that.

If they are not the ones who built it, and they trust your professional authority, then their next question will be: "What should we do to improve and/or fix the situation?" - And once you've shocked them into realization of the problem in this unconventional manner Man Tongue, you better offer a few quick and long-term fixes. Which will create an opportunity for you to help them succeed.

Whatever happens will therefore be for the best.

 


Julia Muller,
AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor
Clients are one thing you may have a very established relationship where you may be able to be a little more frank, prospects are a completely different story.

We should never ever be ashamed to deliver honest assessments of what we find but there are are variety of ways to approach and deliver the findings - you need to find your sweet spot.

Personally, I always try to be as tactful and humble as possible, you just never know when you might cross paths with the folks you're bashing again (whether you know who you're bashing or not). On the surface, something might appear to be awful and mismanaged etc...but we don't have all the details of the prior engagement nor what was expected - For instance, maybe a company stiffed the last agency on payments and in turn, received no management on the AdWords account. James gave another potential example. You know that old adage about assumptions right? Smiley Happy

Also, something I learned in my years of martial arts training and competing, there is always someone out there bigger and badder than you, in this case a better designer/developer/account manager, you're not the best and neither am I.

I prefer to simply suggest opportunities for improvement. "During my analysis, I found that your site load time was a bit slow, in case you weren't aware this can negatively impact your rankings...There is a solution though, what we could do for you to help improve this is..."

If our/your results can speak for themselves, I see no need to put someone else down to boost myself up. I actually find that more amateurish than someone trying hard to execute something that they perhaps shouldn't be in charge of. At the end of the day, if you're having the discussion, likely the folks on the other end recognize there is a problem already, keep the focus on finding a resolution and what you bring to the table that separates you from the rest.

So I ask you this. By suggesting that "the web is full of amateurs masquerading as professional web designers" do you feel like that separates you from someone else bidding on that project? Could simply focusing on sending over success stories, case studies and solid recommendations to improve their current website have accomplished a similar or better result?

This is just my perspective and I'm a pretty straightforward guy, but when it comes to clients and prospects, I've learned the hard way how to tone things down quite a bit and always think twice.

Thanks for sharing, Mike.

-Tommy


Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 9
Top Contributor Alumni
Yeah I usually try to be a bit more tactful in the way I say things but that was one occasion where I spoke out A bit more than I usually do and ended up regretting it LOL

Re: Insert foot in mouth?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 10
Top Contributor Alumni
Well the strategy to fix the site isn't the problem at least. I'm being a little bit selective. And only going after accounts I actually want to work with as opposed to every business out there