Jay PinkertToday’s guest post is written by Jay Pinkert.

Dear WordPress Expert,

Thank you for helping me migrate my blog from WordPress.com to my own self-hosted site. You satisfactorily met all the deliverables enumerated in our service agreement.

If you infer from that statement a recommendation or endorsement, please don’t. It’s a shame, too, because with a bit more transparency and salesmanship on your part, I gladly would have paid for additional work, and given you a full-throated endorsement (I’ve been known to blog about the power of positive Yelp reviews).

Here’s some unsolicited advice on simple, easy touches to add to your sales and customer service repertoire that can transform an OK client experience into a WOM-worthy one, generating more leads, higher revenue per engagement, and more/better ratings and reviews.

  1. Anticipate your prospective clients’ needs and practice suggestive selling. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, many professional services clients don’t know what they don’t know when they initiate a project (that was certainly my case — I even asked for recommendations). Be ready to suggest plugins, widgets, and especially themes. Too much choice can be paralyzing.
  2. Clearly define what’s in-scope and out-of-scope on the project. Lawyer-preneur Jay Fleischman does his prospective WordPress clients and himself a great favor with “Here’s What I Will Do For You” and “What I Will Not Do For You” lists.
  3. Provide a punch list of registrations, settings, and links that need to be completed before the site goes live. Helpful reminders cost you nothing and can make you look like a hero. If you’re not going to complete the tasks for your clients, remind them about:
  • Google and Bing webmaster tools
  • Feedburner/RSS feed
  • Google analytics
  • “Connect” buttons for social platforms
  • Domain Name System (DNS) update for e-mail (A three-day outage taught me that lesson the hard way)
  • Comment management tools

And last but not least…

Show up for meetings on time (or at least call if you’re running late) — It IS a big deal.

You know, on second thought, don’t take my advice.

Despite the reputation of WordPress for user-friendliness, I decided to engage a WordPress consultant for my blog upgrade because 1) I wasn’t confident in my ability to transfer the content database from my WordPress.com site, or implement even the simplest cut-and-paste coding, and 2) I didn’t have the time or inclination to learn. But being forced to figure out so many things on my own has more than erased both of those impediments to mastery.

I might even be proficient enough now to add simple WordPress blog implementation to my own service offerings — and compete with you.

I guess that’s another reason to say “thank you…”

Jay Pinkert is a principal with Shatterbox, an Austin-based marketing and communications consultancy that helps professional firms and small businesses generate leads and distinguish their brand through content-driven programs. He tweets from @FollowtheLawyer and @ShatterboxVox.