More times than not, sensitivity to the value of customer needs are similar to a Bee Hive; as long as the Queen is being fed you get honey; but if not, you’re likely to get stung. Consequently, this necessary push-pull is the reason that tech companies grow, and why clients continue to want more – it’s just a natural ‘thing’.
However, mutual dependencies between a client’s needs and a consultant’s efficiency become particularly critical when it comes to business requirements that directly tie to the customer’s bottom line. This is why Big Data is so important to today’s business segment since the technology provides for a way to create, catalog and measure information that is precisely applicable to making money, rather than conjecture.
To get into the heads of customers, however, one first has to ask the right questions at the right time. Therefore, here are a couple of handy hints to help establish an early query process that typically leads to the effective delivery of solution-based professional services:
Ask the prospect what he/she ‘really’ wants from the business relationship; and what the end-game will be? If one can get to the heart of this matter, the early drill-down will pay immediate dividends, while helping to avoid ‘what now’ minefields later. The simple truth in this case is that if a customer can’t clearly define what he/she wants early on, it’s likely that the consultant is likely to work the wrong problem at the beginning, leading to ultimate failure at the back-end of the relationship.
Next ask for any formal documents, plans or even notions that offer a clear articulation of the customer’s goals. Many times, the application of technology is not the ‘problem’, as much as a need for focus on more policy or process-oriented solutions. Either way, the consultant will need to clearly understand the customer’s ‘lay of the land’, before he/she can play on it efficiently.
In the end of the day, if one can acquire succinct answers to these questions early on, other more detailed bits of information will emerge downstream. This, in turn, will not only lead to a sense of easy confidence between customer and consultant, but also a practical ability to ‘understand’ of what the customer ‘really’ needs.