How NOT to get new clients!

Today I spoke to a long term client about some new updates on their site. I’d spoke to her briefly a couple of weeks ago where she mentioned that a local developer had been sniffing around trying to get their custom, pulling holes in the current website, despite being told they were not interested in hiring him.

Okay, so I appreciate that people looking for work will look through the local businesses and tout their work to them. If you’re low on work you need to see what you can get. Luckily we’ve never been in that position, but I know if I was then I wouldn’t approach it in the following manner.

First the developer visited the shop, asked if they needed a new developer and pointed out a few design/content issues that needed addressing (some of which are already being addressed anyway). My contact was away at the time but the owner was there and he entertained the guy a little. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do. The developer clearly took that as the green light and turned up again when my contact was there. She told him that they were not interested, they already had a development company on board and he wouldn’t be hired. He didn’t really take the hint however, then asking who did the site, who hosted it, what platform it was running on (it’s not hard to find this information out but still…). She asked him politely to leave, eventually he did.

A week later he was back (persistant, or desperate, that’s for sure!) and just sat down waiting for the owner who was in a meeting. My contact again told him to leave, in which he replied that as they didn’t seem that bothered in his content points he’d gone and phoned the press office of their supplier, pointing out that the supplier’s name wasn’t mentioned on the front page of the site, and that the catalogue on the site was out of date (although that’s the supplier’s fault for not getting the current one sent out until last week!). Strangely enough, that didn’t go down too well!

I can appreciate in these times that people are maybe low on work, but honestly, if you’re going to try and get new clients, or steal clients from another developer, then do it a bit more ethically and don’t treat your prospective new client badly or try to go above them! You really won’t make any friends and potentially damage your own reputation.

On a lighter note, shortly after a regular customer of theirs asked for their site developer’s details as they loved the site and really liked the functionality and design of it 😉

4 Responses

  1. I know this wasn’t any fun to live through, but it sure makes a great story.

    I know the economy is not doing well but this really is over the top. I guess there are certain advantages in having a site for people in recovery there aren’t any people fighting over our business.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Charlie, yeah the story is good 🙂 I guess it just goes to show how desperate some people are, but it’s really not the right way to go about getting new business!

  2. David says:

    I have experienced the same thing. A local web designer found our website and proceeded to contact every website listed on the portfolio page (and also used Google to find other sites we have developed with our link inserted into it) saying how poor the site is and how much better they can do.

    Luckily I am on very friendly terms with our clients and they let me know what he was upto. Funnily enough his own website goes against everything he told them is bad about their own website.

  3. Sarah says:

    That’s quite bad, someone targeting all of your clients intentionally. This guy was just a customer, a fan I guess, of the company, has just lost his job and I guess trying to get in with a few big companies to build a portfolio.

    He just didn’t go about it the right way though! Not to mention, someone off the street is unlikely to have insurance against anything going wrong.