11 December 2006

What to reveal and when

Initial meetings for organisations selling business services, as we do, are an opportunity to let the client see how you think. Those meetings are also a potential minefield:
  • how much expertise to share?
  • how critical to be of existing suppliers?
Of these, the first depends on the nature of your work and the extent that your client can understand it and has resources to deliver it. If he understands the nature of the work and has the resource then it is probably best to talk about satisfied clients and not try to share too much detail of what he might do differently. If on the other hand, your expertise is a black box and he lacks the resources to do much in the area then you can share as much expertise as you like and there is little commercial risk. We think that we strike the balance reasonably well - it is important to look well informed and creative without giving away what we believe are the 'right answers'. The one truth is that whatever you share, the client will assume that you know more.

The second is much more problematic. I met someone recently and he told me about one of his suppliers and the advice they had given him. I believe that - as described - he has been given bad advice, but it is important not to be too judgemental without knowing more about the situation. As I have said before on this blog, clients aren't always briefing perfectly during these introductory meetings.

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