Archive for May 8th, 2009

Some Valuable Tips for Responding to Request for Service Providers

So I was looking for a print layout designer recently.

I used a few different places and was inundated with an avalanche of responses.

You’d think that would be good news — lots of choice!

The problem is the sheer volume of responses to sort through was a daunting task.

Fortunately, that job was made much easier by the majority of the responders themselves who couldn’t follow the simplest of instructions or provide the basic information I asked for.

If you ever respond to project requests and requests for services providers, I want you to know what those on the receiving end go through so you can step up your game accordingly and not be one of the ones who gets tossed immediately and unceremoniously in the round file.

  1. Don’t make me hunt. If your portfolio is poorly organized and I have to dig around too much to find something relevant, I won’t bother. Convenience for the client is the name of the game. Don’t disrespect their time. Have a well categorized portfolio that loads fast. Provide direct links to just the relevant pages if at all possible. Trust me, your helpfulness and organization in this respect will impress. It will speak volumes about your polish, professionalism, intelligence and service.
  2. I don’t care about your resume. If I didn’t ask for one, don’t send me one. I’m looking to hire a professional, not an employee. Pros don’t submit resumes. What matters most to me is seeing examples of your work and a demonstration of your qualification, competence, talent and skill. If you’re a designer, I’m looking to see what your style is and whether you understand and demonstrate a knowledge of design principles in  your work, as well as polished level of service and customer care. That tells me loads more about what it will be like to work with you more than any resume ever could.
  3. Don’t send me irrelevant information. For example, web design is not print layout design. I don’t want to know all about your web design services if I’m looking for a print designer. Don’t send me your web design portfolio. If I specifically ask about print layout design, just send me what I asked for. Because when there are a million other people capable of respecting my time, sending me just what I asked about and able to follow simple directions and requests, you will not get a second look. All that shows me is that you are going to be difficult to work with because a) you can’t provide the most basic level of service and responsiveness, which b) will mean that I will potentially have to keep repeating myself and asking for what I need/want over and over.
  4. I’m not going to have a meeting (especially not an in-person one) to see if you can provide the services I’m asking about. I need to first determine whether there is a compatible fit at the most basic level. I don’t have time to waste in a consultation if I can’t first determine that you meet some basic criteria. So the first step is qualifying/screening the responders and finding someone with the talent and expertise I’m seeking. From that pool, I will then determine who I want to schedule consultations with. Consultations come after the qualifying process. That goes for me and that should go for you as well in your own business.

You have to put yourself in the shoes of the client. One request for a designer can yield hundreds and hundreds of responses. It’s overwhelming.

So us clients must whittle things down, if only for our sanity, but also because we have other things to do.

Respect your prospective client’s time and demonstrate that you will be a joy to work with.

You do that by following directions, complying with simple requests for information in the manner indicated, provide thorough information.

It’s okay to be yourself (in fact, having a personality will help you stand out from the crowd), and it’s okay to go a little beyond the scope in providing the requested info, as long as all the requested information is provided first. Just don’t go overboard and make sure anything additional you provide is relevant.