What a butler can teach web designers about selling

Andrew Neitlich
Andrew Neitlich

This week my wife put her foot down and insisted that we get a cleaning service to save our home from the sloppy living practices of our two dogs, two little boys, and of course, me.

As we looked around for such a service in the phone book, they all seemed to be pretty generic, and none were able to come out when we needed them.

Then my wife called a company called The Butler Did It.

The owner of the company came out to provide an estimate, and the way he went about it provides a great lesson to anyone involved in Web Design/Development:

– He arrived in a black Jaguar (used, but still impressive)
– He was dressed nicely, with polished black shoes, and professional business casual attire (which is rare in this part of Florida).
– He carried a nice brief case.
– He used a clip board and fancy pen to take notes and prepare our estimate on the spot.
– He showed us a portfolio of gorgeous houses where he had worked, including photos of the unique way his company vacuums carpets, folds napkins, etc.
– He provided a list of references, including a magazine article featuring his company.
– As he toured the house, he explained what his service does that no other cleaning service does (e.g. cleaning window sills, and other stuff that I have no clue about but that impressed my wife).

By the end of his visit, we viewed him as way more than a cleaning service. He was indeed a butler, and while anyone can hire a maid, few people get a real, live butler! We wanted to have a butler! We had to have a butler!

His prices were a bit higher than typical cleaning services, but not much, and by the time this guy was done with his presentation we didn’t care.

Now that’s how you sell services!

I was particularly aware of this approach to marketing thanks to a post Brendon Sinclair made in a Sitepoint forum some time ago. I can’t find it now(maybe someone can and will post the link), but he explained how he gets away with charging higher prices than the competition. Guess what? He uses many of the same techniques as the butler.

So credit for this blog goes to Brendon who, if he chose, could clearly be a very successful butler should he ever decide to change careers (although at this point he’s probably done well enough to hire butlers for his butlers) :)

But seriously, regardless of the specific service you offer, you can set yourself apart simply in how you dress, how you behave, and by communicating ways that you pay attention to important details that others miss.

And don’t forget to use a fancy pen!