Welcome to Televution. My companies create intellectual property and provide services at the nexus of media, entertainment, marketing and technology. This blog is a personal perspective on those themes.

Monday
Jun142004

What a Client Feels

Some years ago, I met a man named David Maister, who is an author, and an expert on service firms. He wrote a book on being a person who works in a services firm called True Professionalism. In it, he talks about what it must be like to be a buyer of services. The summary below is a worthy reminder of what we should consider when meeting with a potential client.

What a potential client feels:

  • I’m feeling insecure. I’m not sure I know how to detect which of the finalists is the genius, and which is just good. I’ve exhausted my abilities to make technical distinctions.
  • I’m feeling threatened. This is my area of responsibility, and even though intellectually I know I need outside expertise, emotionally its not comfortable to put my affairs in the hands of others. 
  • I’m taking a personal risk. By putting my affairs in the hands of someone else, I risk losing control.
  • I’m impatient. I didn’t call in someone at the first sign of symptoms (or opportunity). I’ve been thinking about this for a while.
  • I’m worried. By the very fact of suggesting improvements or changes, these people going to be implying that I haven’t been doing it right up till now. Are these people going to be on my side? 
  • I’m exposed. Whoever I hire, I’m going to have to reveal some proprietary secrets, not all of which are flattering. I will have to undress.
  • I’m feeling ignorant, and don’t like the feeling. I don’t know if I’ve got a simple problem or a complex one. I’m not sure I can trust them to be honest about that: it’s in their interest to convince me its complex.
  • I’m skeptical. I’ve been burned before by these kinds of people. You get a lot of promises: How do I know whose promise I should buy? 
  • I’m concerned that they either can’t or won’t take the time to understand what makes my situation special. They’ll try to sell me what they’ve got rather than what I need. 
  • I’m suspicious. Will they be those typical professionals who are hard to get hold of, who are patronizing, who leave you out of the loop, who befuddle you with jargon, who don’t explain what they’re doing or why, who …, who …., who …? In short, will these people deal with me in the way I want to be dealt with?
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