How to Choose the Right Service Provider for You Immediately

Jun 1 21:00 2002 Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology Print This Article

Has this happened to you? You check out ... ... check out their ... check out their ... and ... even get a referral from a friend, and then use their services and i

Has this happened to you? You check out someone's credentials,Guest Posting check out their reputation, check out their education and expertise, even get a referral from a friend, and then use their services and its all wrong for you?

Choosing a service provider -- coach, therapist, trainer, accountant, lawyer, physician, teacher -- is one of the most important things you do. If its been a disaster for you in the past, here's what you can do differently: use your intuition.

Intuition is a top emotional intelligence (EQ) skill. We all want more of it, and the way you develop it is to use it, so start now! We'll assume you're looking on the Internet, but the same strategy can apply if you're looking in person.

1. Go to the person's website and open your senses to your reactions. Do you like the colors? Colors have a real vibrational effect on us. The person chooses them for a reason (though it may not be conscious), and you'll react to them for a reason (your job here is to get it conscious). Do they appeal to you or not? Simply register your reaction.

2. How's the layout and navigation? Is it intuitively in line with how you look at things, how you think, and how you like to get around. It will tell you how the creator's mind works, and since you'll be working with them, that's important.

A different spin would be if you're looking to develop something you don't have. For instance, if you're left-brained and trying to develop your intuition, creativity and right-brain. In this case look for a site that seems "disorganized" and "scattered" and even "alarmingly original" to you. Right-brained, creative people think holistically, not linearly, and it takes one to teach one. The more it irritates you, the more you need what they have to offer!

3. What's the ratio of "about you," "about me," and "about information." This ratio will probably hold true in the delivery of their services. If the person is all about him- or herself, that should tell you something.

4. Is it about feelings or intellect? Look for some balance there. Even if you're looking for an accountant, it's got to be someone who's able to connect and relate to you. You don't want HIS or HER financial plan, or the one they give to everyone; you wants YOURS.

5. Does the website show some evidence of abstract and conceptual thinking? This is important because you need someone who can get to the big picture. With a coach, for instance, if their background is marketing, and you want coaching on your job as an engineer, it can work out fine if the coach is able to get to the fundamentals of work in general--the things that apply to all jobs--even though they've never been an engineer.

6. Pay attention to the level of "correctness" on the site. You want a service provider who's fixated on perfection, but who pays attention to you and gives you excellent service. Their website should project this. If it's full of typos and grammatical errors, misspellings and incomplete sentences, note this and see if you want to be treated in this careless fashion.

7. Sterility and cookie cutter. There's a difference between "professional" and "sterile." Again, register your reactions. For instance, if you're shopping for a coach and want one to help you specifically to help you make a personal budget, you may want someone who's very linear and precise. If, however, you want a coach to help you create the life of your dreams, you need to be looking for a coach who has created a website that lives, breathes, and excudes "vision." (Check out http://www.bemyguide.net/ for a good example)

8. Call the provider and listen to the voices. If its an answering machine, does the voice appeal to you? You'll be working with that voice. If its a receptionist, are they cordial, informed and welcoming? Were you brusquely put on hold? Did they sound too busy to give you adequate attention? Were they in a rush about something?

9. Other sounds. If there are sounds on the website, or music played while you waited on the phone, how does it affect you? Remember, this is totally subjective; there are no "right" or "wrong" answers. It's going to the Core You and coming from the Core Other Person. Was it C&W, classic music, or something else, and does this jive with you? Charles Schwab lets you listen to stock quotes. Southwest Airlines has humor. A church has C&W music playing while you wait. A coach has a recorded inspirational message.

10. The person who answers the phone IS the service. After I became established in the field of marketing, I refused to work with a CEO who didn't get this concept. Whatever you're doing, whatever you're selling, the person who answers the phone call is the entry into the business. Pay close attention to this phase of choosing. Do you want to work with someone who is so emotionally illiterate that they have a rude, unintelligible, uninformed or provocative phone-answerer?

11. Some professions, such as coaching and therapy, offer a free initial consultation. Take full advantage of this opportunity and put your senses on full alert. Do they withhold information, promising what they will deliver if you sign up with them, or do they jump right in? Does their tone of voice and style appeal to you? How does the office look -- too orderly or too sloppy or just right? What about the colors? Are their lots of books and piles of paper, or nothing at all? What about the prints on the walls and the photographs on the desk?

12. Hard-sell and desperation. These are yellow flags. It's a catch-22 that once a professional is established and confident, they get more clients. So ... if they seem desperate for your business, it's a warning sign.

In your search, keep your senses open to what you find. Sight, sound, smell, touch and feel, and let that important "6th sense" be your guide. After you do the homework (check credentials, authenticity, training and expertise), it becomes a subjective sense of who will be a good "fit" for you. In today's competetive world, you'll find many who meet the "homework" test, and from those, you can use your intuition to choose the right qualified person to work with you.

By getting in touch with your senses, this is what I mean. If it's a good fit you should feel right about it, your stomach muscles relax, you get goose bumps of excitement, you feel like opening up to this person and start saying things you might not ordinarily, you want to tell them things, you can't wait to see or hear them again, or make your next appointment, you feel sure they can do the operation successfully, you feel hope and optimism about your stock investments, you feel like you've "come home", you can't wait to start working with this coach on this problem which suddenly seems lighter and more solveable.

If it isn't right for you, here are some signs: you get a knot in your stomach, your blood pressure goes up, you flush or feel hot, you get a headache or stomach ache, you feel anxious (drumming your fingers, bouncing your leg, biting your nails), you get chills, the hair on the back of your neck stands up, you feel irritable--scratchy inside, you feel like taking a shower when you get home (to wash that stuff off), you can't wait to get off the website or phone, or get out of the office, you can't stand to look at them and resist eye contact.

After you've done all the analytical, logical homework, tune into your intuition to help you make the right decision for you.

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Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology
Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology

Susan Dunn is a personal and professional development coach who helps people develop their emotional intelligence and intuition. She teaches distance learning courses on these subjects as well. Email her for her free ezine.

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