For years I’ve been telling prospective clients the story of my company: that we are an application development firm, that we’ve been around for 21 years. Yada, yada. The normal stuff.
What hadn’t occurred to me is that one of our key selling points is that we’re a Midwestern company. Three clients have recently shared with us that our being a Midwestern company was seen as a positive factor in their decision to go with us. One is a major national association (hint: one of the U.S.’s top 5 largest by membership), an architectural firm (also based in D.C.), and a major healthcare company in Florida.
Really? Why? After all, even when I think web application development, I think Silicon Valley, NYC, but... Michigan?
Maybe they picked us because we're better at coding, which in turn may be because we’re stuck indoors for eight months of the year, only bundling up to go outside to shovel off our roofs. Of course, that’s a stereotype, as is the “just fell off the turnip truck” image some people have of the flyover states.
Full disclosure: my “truck” is an all-wheel drive Subaru to get through the snow, and I’ve been known to jump out of the hot tub a time or two to make snow angels. Point being, they aren’t wrong about the snow.
What’s not a stereotype is that we Middle-staters tend to be more reasonably priced than the coastal concerns, and that has a lot to do with prices being lower overall. We like to make a buck as much as the next person, but our Midwestern sense is that if we’re feeding our families and our debt doesn’t keep us up at night, we’re pretty well set. And return business is big with us Michiganders and our neighbors. We like knowing that our clients trust us to look out for their best interests, that if we think they’re asking for what they don’t need, or not asking for what they do need, we’ll tell it like it is.
Here’s another factor: all three of the aforementioned companies had previously contracted with other application developers, mostly in big cities on the coasts who, as it turned out, were more interested in taking their client’s money than in giving the client what they needed to get the job done.
Bottom line: we’re fine with the stereotypes, as long as they include the best ones. Like our work ethic. And our fair rates. Even our snow angels.
I enjoy the heck out of the television show Silicon Valley. But that's a valley I could never inhabit. We don’t need to impress our friends by having Kid Rock play at our corporate barbeque. Besides, Kid Rock lives here.