The Best Consultant in the World – Your Customer
When we think of consultants, we often think of a sharply dressed expert, gray at the temples, who darts from business to business analyzing, proposing, and then billing you for enormous sums of money. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a simplification and an unfair characterization, but as a consultant myself, I don’t think I’m too far from what many people think of when they imagine a consultant.
It turns out, rather unsurprisingly when you think about it, that your best consultant is not like that at all; that is, unless what I just described is a depiction of a customer of yours. In any event, unlike a consultant, your customer probably won’t charge you a dime for their work. On the contrary, she might even treat you to a coffee or why not lunch for her services — since she will be gaining great value from the conversation.
The thing is, we often see the customer as being on the other side. We are on this side, the sales side, and the customer is on that side, the buyers side; and we are careful to maintain our territories.
Why do we do that? How many times have you personally wished that one of your providers would call you to ask: Would you mind taking a look at how we serve you so that we might improve in the areas that would help you serve YOUR customers better?
If there is one person who knows how they want to be sold to, it’s your customer. They know exactly how they view your value proposition and how they want to be pitched to, delivered to, reminded, invoiced, etc.
What would happen if we had an honest conversation about those things and more with the person who was the most impacted and has the greatest effect on your business? What if you showed them your delivery or even (gasp) you sales processes? Are you afraid of them sniggering at you, or is there a fear that sharing too much will dull your competitive edge? Are those fears justified or could there be some value in having a friendly talk.
It’s time to ask your team these questions because it just may be that you are unwittingly looking past the best consultant for the job – and don’t forget the FREE part.