Aligning Interests for Best Results

Brent’s dream of having his website show up on the first page of Google search results was finally realized.  The problem was that although this sounded like the ticket to big sales, his results were a disappointment.  Why were his results so much less than expected?  There were two causes, one was technical, the second was much more fundamental – misaligned interests.  When your vendor’s interests are not well aligned with yours, the results will always be disappointing.  This is a fairly common dilemma that most business owners find themselves in and often they don’t know what the root problem is or how to fix it. 

Are You Working Toward the Same Goals?

Are You Working Toward the Same Goals?

The alignment of interests between your business and those who serve you is essential for the success of that business relationship.  When there are conflicting interests, the results predictably end in disappointment.

Performance based pricing

In Brent’s situation, his SEO specialists offered what seemed like a win-win pricing strategy.  Performance based pricing.  The problem with this was that the outcome that Brent was most interested in was increasing sales.  High search engine ranking was just a means to that end.  The specialists’ interests were in achieving as many high rankings as possible, thus raising their level of compensation.  In other words, the specialist would be content to achieve first page Google ranking on a lot of easy, low-competition, low traffic keywords.  If you’re in Brent’s situation, find out what the average length of time your specialist keeps a client.  This answer gives a lot of insight into whether your vendor defines success by long-term relationships.

Focus on aligning the outcomes that matter most

In Brent’s situation, his primary goal is to increase sales.  His secondary goal is to have a trusted partner that can take care of the search engine optimization process that is needed to increase traffic and sales online.  He doesn’t want to have to look for a new “trusted partner” every few months.  The right specialist will be looking for a long-term relationship with their clients.  Relationships don’t last long-term unless both parties are getting their needs met.  In other words a long-term relationship with a client is only possible for an SEO specialist if they are producing not just high rankings, but high rankings that result in increased sales for their clients.  By aligning with a partner who values the same thing – a long term relationship that is built on results that are delivered, both parties win.

The alignment of interests in any relationship is critical for long term success.  Aligning interests is essentially about making sure that each party achieves a win, not at the expense of the other, but with the help of the other.  Think teamwork.  The key to aligning interests is to make sure there is a connection between the outcomes that matter most for both parties.  In other words, “are you working toward the same goals?”

  • Linda Cochrane December 19, 2011, 11:26 am

    Thank you for highlighting this idea and sharing your knowledge. I especially like the idea of focusing on the outcomes that matter most. I find that when I step back and ask why am I focusing on this, that what I should be focusing on becomes more clear. Great post on an important topic.

  • Charles December 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Thanks Linda. Glad you found it helpful. So often the “real goal” only becomes clear when we start asking “Why are we doing this?” or “Is this really important?” or “Why is this important?”. Increased clarity is frequently found only after intense questioning.

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