We justify our selection with facts, but we make our selection based on emotion. No matter how veteran our resources or how proven our track record – there’s no denying our new clients are placing a lot of faith in us.
They are probably worried. Those worries are more than likely unspoken. If we knew the nature of their worries, we would, of course, address them. But what do we do when we don’t know what we don’t know?
We can approach customers who have been with us for a while and ask them: I’d like you to be brutally honest with me – what was worrying you as you entered in to this project?
- I was worried I’d make the wrong selection.
- I was worried that costs would go beyond what was budgeted.
- I was worried that the project would take longer than planned.
- I was worried you didn’t have the bench strength to get us through the project if you took on new clients.
- I was worried that if the project sputtered, I would lose credibility among my peers. And, if the project failed, I’d lose my job.
If these customers serve as references for us, we can encourage them to share these initial perceived vulnerabilities and worries and what we did to assuage these worries.
A few months ago, an exasperated business owner shared with me that everyone “says the same things.” And while it’s great to talk to references, they’re being served up as references because they will only say glowing things.
Perhaps those references would be more effective and mitigate the cynicism if they shared their fears. What do you think? Please share your thought in the comments section.
Copyright © 2011 Dawn Westerberg Consulting