Service providers' websites are the most commonly used resource for buyer evaluations, according to a recent report from Hinge.

Asked how they "check out" potential professional services providers (such as an accounting, marketing, legal, consulting, or tech firm), 81% of buyers say they head to the seller's website.

The next most common strategy is online search, with 63% of buyers saying they google the service provider.

Recommendations and opinions also play an important role: 62% of buyers ask friends or colleagues whether they've heard of the person/firm, and 56% talk to references provided by the seller.

These various channels are complementary rather than mutually exclusive; buyers use 3.2 methods on average to research a service provider.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 1,028 buyers of professional services.

Social Media

  • 60% of buyers say they use social media to research a potential professional service provider.
  • Among social media platforms, LinkedIn is far and away the most commonly used source of information on service providers.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 1,028 buyers of professional services. The services regularly procured by respondents include accounting/finance (54% purchase), marketing/communications (47%), legal (40%), technology (35%), management consulting (33%), and architecture/engineering/construction (20%).

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji