Recommending Your Competitors

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Last week, I was in a meeting with a client discussing what had the potential to become a very large project. Developing a completely customized solution would be out of the question (budget-wise), so we looked at potential content management systems, including Drupal, ExpressionEngine, and WordPress.

While they were really excited about the potential of a robust content management system, I also suggested they seek bids from companies that specialize in developing websites for their industry. Such companies may have a proprietary CMS that does exactly what they need.

They have been a client for over six years, and had we not suggested it, there’s a good chance they would have continued to use our service for this project. But judging from my past experience with niche industries, sometimes specialist website and marketing companies can cut costs. Having solved such issues numerous times, they know what already works.

It’s still too early to tell if my recommendation will result in us losing the redesign contract, but I can tell you that we have their utmost respect. Even if they go with another vendor for the actual development, I do believe that they’ll seek our counsel regarding the strategy and planning.

In the end, I want what’s best for our clients. If they can get a better product or service with a competitor, then I’ll recommend they go with a competitor. Don’t be afraid to send your clients elsewhere—you’d be surprised at how it can have a boomerang effect. They may take one project to another vendor, but they’ll trust and respect for you for your honesty, which will bring far more business to you in the long run.

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