I recently went through the process of trying to hire a builder to get a second garage built.
It was a fascinating experiment and a great reminder that most service providers are unwittingly repelling clients.
First came the task of finding reputable builders to speak to. So I turned to the two sources that I trust the most: referrals and online reviews.
This eliminated most of the competition since unless you could actually be found on online (with strong reviews) or someone recommended you personally, you were invisible.
After searching and asking around I was left with roughly 10 builders that seemed worth getting in touch with.
This elite group now had to face two very difficult hurdles to try to win my business:
1) They had to return my call.
2) They had to answer basic questions I had about putting up a garage.
Faced with these momentous tasks, the herd thinned quickly.
Half never bothered to call me back (or in one case called a full week later).
Several of the ones that I was able to reach struggled to provide satisfactory information about garage building. Which is odd when you claim that this is a service that you provide.
Fortunately this still left me with three builders that came across as knowledgeable, could explain the process, give suggestions, and actually sounded like they wanted the work and knew what they were doing.
Unfortunately this means that the vast majority of garage builders in a city of one million people couldn't pass the basics of:
1) Getting found by people that want their services.
2) Responding to leads that come in.
3) Being able to explain their services.
But here's the best part: these results are typical for service providers!
It is easy to assume that the market for our services is saturated.
That everyone is a graphic designer. Or a Wordpress developer. Or freelance writer.
That the competition is insurmountable.
But when you flip things around and look at finding a provider through the client's eyes, your competitors have set the bar very very low. So low that you can stub your toe on it.
Whenever I need to hire a service provider this fact drives me crazy (crazy enough to rant about the experience to my entire email list).
But as an agency owner I love it, and you should to.
Because if we can just be clear about what we do, make ourselves easy to find, and actually communicate with potential clients, we're already ahead of 90% of the competition.
It's not hard, it just takes a conscious and consistent application of effort.