Sometimes “Hard Lessons” are The Best Teacher
April 17th, 20004 will be a day I will long remember. After spending close to four months responding to the clients RFP for systems integration work, I received a phone call from the executive sponsor informing me that they had awarded the consulting work to another firm.
It’s funny when people have to deliver bad news how short their conversations are. “But wait I responded before he hung up, can you give me some feedback as to why we didn’t win the work?” Sure, he said. “You all had the best services bundle, the most experience in our industry, best economic model, highly experienced talent, but you know we just liked that other group better!” What on earth do you mean I responded, how could that be the deciding factor given everything else you mentioned?” “We just seem to like them more, they bonded better with our team, had better chemistry with us and we felt they put our best interest first and we trusted them more!” So at the end of the day, I learned a very important lesson about working with clients, It’s all about building trust and acting like a trusted advisor that really makes a difference.
For the product company with a professional services organization staffed with technical specialists, field service professionals, consultants, engineers and various other technical experts, how can you make the transition from technical specialist to trusted advisor in all your interactions with clients?
Six skills are required:
1. You Have to Think Strategic
2. You Have to Understand the Fundamentals of Change Management and How to Manage it
3. You Need Technical Expertise Coupled with Good Communications Skills
4. You Have to Project a Business Acumen Presence
5. You Need to be Able to Talk to Clients About Value
6. Building Trust Is Based Upon Creating Relationships
What would happen if your clients trusted you more? All kinds of great things, like allowing you into enter into their world, asking for your advice, sharing what things will occur before they actually do, seeking you out to help other parts of their organization without the constant focus on just price, and treating you like a partner who has terrific ideas which are acceptable and highly valued throughout their organization.
Bottom-line, creating a trust based relationship with all your clients for your technical specialist is a journey worth pursuing. The skills learned in this process will always sustain the test of time. Remember, its all about building trust!