Finders…keepers? How to conduct the best research for finding companies
(Posted on 23/02/21)
Whether it’s choosing a business to provide us with goods or services – or a company to work in partnership with – the research and selection process is a journey. Which way we turn on the path to making a final choice can be influenced by a number of factors; such as price, service quality and the power of their brand. However we find companies to work with, or services to employ, when we eventually find them, will they be a short-term stopgap, or are they keepers?
The place most searches begin is on the internet, via a phone, tablet or laptop. There used to be business directories such as Yellow Pages, but these are now all but extinct. If you have access to the internet, this is the easiest way to find companies that meet your requirements and also read feedback that may endorse your decision. It’s close to impossible to think that a company can survive in the modern age without an online presence, at the very least a website. At its most basic, a website needs to provide an indication of regional location and details, and some basic sector-specifics.
A site for sore eyes
So, if the first point of call is your website, then that is one aspect of your presence that should really be a true reflection of the business. It needs to demonstrate that the company and its staff, whatever the sector, are reliable, trustworthy, efficient and professional. It should also reflect your company brand and make your products and services appealing. On a basic level, it must also include such information as contact details and hours of business. Powerful imagery and insightful, informative text will also help attract traffic and customers. Compelling text accompanied by well-chosen images can convey a company’s message. Customers will ‘click’ with businesses they think will be the right fit for their requirements.
Another powerful tool in the selection process is personal recommendation. This can hold major sway over the appeal of one company over another. If you respect the recommender’s opinion, this will immediately turn your thoughts in favour of the company. A personal recommendation can also give you confidence in the honesty of the appraisal and the compatibility of your needs to the company’s offering. Endorsements that appear online, on the website or elsewhere, can positively influence decision-making. Personal testimonials are usually a ‘real person’s perspective’, an actual user who has not only been happy with the service provided but prepared to put their name to a positive piece of publicity. These are both encouraging factors in a business’s suitability.
Your social media presence is very important these days too, and a significant factor for some customers. It can be time-consuming, but worth the effort. Interesting online discussions can lead to further networking opportunities too, which can ultimately lead to more work. Social media interactions are also a good way to ascertain a company’s reliability. If someone’s dissatisfied, they usually don’t hold back on how they feel on social media – and social media posts can be more up-to-date than website copy, or testimonials.
When clients are looking for businesses to invest time, money and trust in, they need to be able to access the appropriate ‘touch points’ to learn about the business and its status. In this way they can do their research and find the company that is the best fit for them, their budget and their needs.