Working With A Digital Agency: The Classic Car Analogy

16 Sep 2014

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Working with a digital agency, choosing a new CMS for your website, or trying to work out which services are vital for your business can be a difficult and lengthy decision, and not that dissimilar from choosing a classic car, as Avenue Digital explains.

Recently I’ve been looking for a classic car

First I need to decide what I want. What features should my car have? Soft-top? V8 engine? Sports car or luxury? Once I have a list it's time to look at manufacturers. And think about the all-important budget. I could probably find something in my price range, someone willing to sell me a cheap Ferrari but I shudder to think what sort of state it would be in.

So, I know what I want. Next I should research. What are existing owners of these cars saying they’re like to live with? Are any available in my price bracket? If so what would I get? How easy are they to work on? How easy are parts to come by?

By the time I’ve done this part of the search I’ve probably narrowed it down to one or two cars, and if I let my heart rule, it’s probably one. I love it. This is the car I want. I know what they sell for, I’ve set my own budget and so begins the task of travelling around to dealers to begin the bartering process.

Shopping Around

"Tell me, what sort of budget did you have in mind?"

There’s that word: ‘budget’. That dreaded word we all seem so afraid of. I know I shouldn’t tell this dealer my budget, I’m not entirely sure why other than it’s just not the ‘done thing’. What am I worried about? That he might select the worst car on his lot for my budget? That I could end up driving away in a lemon when I might have found something cheaper and better elsewhere?

An hour later and I’ve seen all the cars, from double my price range to half of it. Not the salesman’s fault, he doesn’t know how much money I have so he’s hedging his bets, I can’t blame him. The car I want is there, but listed as slightly out of my price range. I walk away, the dealer doesn’t look the haggling type.

Roll forward a few months and I still haven’t found the car I want for the price I want. I keep looking back on that first one I saw but then I remind myself it was out of my price range. My planned road trip will have to wait. I torture myself further by doing what all classic car enthusiasts do, I meet up with a whole bunch of other enthusiasts with the same car as the one I want.

When I get there I meet a man, driving the car, my car!

“You mind me asking what you paid?” A vulgar question usually but in these circumstances it’s fine, we all want to know and all are happy to tell.

He tells me. Not only did he pay less than the price I saw it for, he paid less than my budget.

I’m metaphorically gulping back tears. Did he haggle hard?

“Oh no!” he says, “I told the salesman my budget and said I really, really wanted this particular car and he made it happen. Took some negotiations and backwards and forwards, give and take and all that, but we got there. Couldn’t be happier.”

Digital Agency Similarities

Now re-read my story but instead of a classic car imagine I’m going after a new CMS for my website. All too familiar right? You don’t want to reveal your budget, scared that the agency or agencies you’re talking to will simply say “of course we can do it for that money”, even if it would have cost half as much.

What many people forget is that no organisation that sells goods or services just want you to buy one, they’d go out of business pretty quickly. We want to help you, we want to take you forward, be the best that you can be. Why? Because if you are the best you can be, and we’ve helped get you there, we can shout about it just as much as you will want to. And in order to get there, in order for us both to be shouting about success, we need a long term relationship, we need open and honest conversations from day one. It’s in neither of our interests for the other to go out of business.

When buying a classic car I can spend a fortune and get one that has and does everything from day one, even though all I want to do is drive it. Or I can spend less and get one that will still drive and, over time, I can add to it, upgrade, enhance, and make it better than the one I would have spent a fortune on, one that suits me.

It’s the same with software, more so but we can’t have those conversations when the conversation is “I want X, how much”. Usually a client knows their budget and usually something can be done to make something happen within that budget. Hiding both from each other means no-one gets the CMS, or car, they were after.