This might be a foolish question as this is sort of the basis of business in America, but, I figured I'd run it by you folks anyway.
What do you think of calling on clients that are being serviced by competitors? Now, I'm not talking about clients who have gorgeous websites with standards-compliant code and good copy and all that. That's a fool's errand, their providers are obviously doing a great job and those clients most likely would not switch under any circumstances. I would hope all of my clients would fall into this category.
I'm talking about, you land on a terrible website from a friend of a friend, and see a "DESIGNED BY SO AND SO" at the bottom, click it, and find that lo and behold this company has a number of websites that are poorly designed and not working for their customers.
What do you think about giving those customers a call, letting them know you stumbled across their website, and seeing where it leads? In the immortal words of Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth!"
It's a law of the universe that what goes around comes around, but, so long as we're taking care of our clients the same shouldn't be able to happen with us. Should we be free to go after competitors who are taking their clients for granted? Does it go without saying that we should? Do we virtually have an obligation to those clients to get them set up right?
I think you'd be nuts not to contact these prospects. The only difference between this and cold calling them is that you're aware that they have a real need. Hopefully they also know that and you can get come business.
I agree. As a friend put it, it meets all three of his decision-making requirements:
Moral: These guys are getting burned, and that's not cool.
Economic: There's a great potential for me to get money here.
Capitalistic: If you want to keep a client, you've got to do a good job!
I called one today with great success, and have e-mailed another. The one I called was a referral from my wife, but they were extremely excited to speak to someone who could help them.
One thing I have found cold-calling people like this is that people who have bad websites usually know they have bad websites, and are anxious to speak to someone who can make it better. I have set up a handful of appointments this week alone calling people like that. It is almost always warm right off the bat if you approach with value and something good to offer.
I don't see a problem with this and like Mike said, you'd be crazy not to if you think you can give these folks a better website, one that might actually make money for their business.
I'd be very polite about it though because you never know if it was a friend or family member who designed their site for them and I'd try not to step on any toes. Then again, if a friend or family member designed their site for them they might feel obligated to keep it no matter how convincing you are, so you've probably got nothing to lose with those types no matter how you approach them.
Ravedesigns, that's great advice. Even it was a friend or family member who designed it, you can still often times succeed offering a better solution so long as you are not disrespectful or rude. I try to be very, very kind and giving of the benefit of the doubt, even when I deeply suspect that bad work was the result of intentional negligence.