Business relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial. You throw some business my way, and I’ll throw some yours. But, as in any other partnership, the temptation to put a thumb on the scale and take more than your fair share is pretty much constant. Meanwhile, when it comes to technology, the insane profusion of new tools and products is making everyone more dependent than ever on the experts who can guide them toward the best decisions. So how do you find an expert consultant you can actually trust?
This week’s Tech Club features an interview with Senior Consultant Scott Walsh about how he discovered just how valuable it can be for business leaders to sit down and talk to someone with wide experience in the tech industry. Before making decisions about which technologies are the best to adopt in a given business situation, these leaders have to wade through a morass of highly complex options. They’re often downright desperate for guidance.
But of course they don’t want to write a blank check to some tech firm promising to fix all their problems. So Scott’s challenge at the outset is to establish trust with the client. In this episode, James and I ask him how he does that.
Scott guides us through topics like:
- Why he foregoes the standard sales-type meetings where you have lunch and ask if they have any projects for you
- Why knowing more about a company and its tech ecosystem increases the likelihood of success for even one-off projects
- Where the gap tends to open up between clients and vendors
- How he avoids the role of showing up simply to help with a given project
- Why trust is so important and how he works to establish it
- What the two criteria are that he applies to each project idea—and why letting clients know what these criteria are helps them trust him
- What some of the top benefits are of letting your consultant know about non-project-related parts of your tech environment
- Why Scott sometimes plays a game similar to Good Cop-Bad Cop with our sales representatives
- How clients’ relationships with tech consultants are like patients’ relationships with doctors
- Why the interdependency of various technologies and the degree to which they’re integrated into your business processes make it difficult to make narrowly focused one-off projects really succeed
- How longer-term partnerships tend to develop and how Scott likes to manage those relationships
- Why being terrible at sales makes him a good consultant
- How Scott’s consultative role overlaps with my own goals as a content marketer and how large of a role trust plays throughout the processes
- What advice he has to give business leaders searching for IT consultants they can really trust
- What our Tech Radar is and how we’re using it to keep our clients ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest emerging IT products and services
- Why he loves to get follow-up phone calls about the topics he discusses with clients
- Why a lot of what he does is finding the best way to present options to particular people in client companies
Mentioned in this episode:
Scott’s T-Rex arms may make him a terrible arm wrestler, but he can speak knowledgeably about a staggering range of tech-related matters. He’s as loquacious and personable as he is funny and irreverent. So kick back and enjoy some jokes you won’t want to explain to your kids, and with any luck you’ll learn something you can use.
Got any other questions for Scott? Got any ideas for a topic you’d like us to cover in an upcoming episode? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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