Trust through competence

03/05/2012

I’ve been shadowing my CEO on some customer projects recently, and it’s been eye-opening.

Sure, he has a decade and a half of high-level engineering experience that he draws from, but what’s most interesting to me is the dynamic that exists during client calls: even previously hostile customers listen with rapt attention, excited to hear about how their business could improve.

Early on, when I would handle customer calls on my own, I found myself just hoping not to blow a deal. Slowly, I became more confident in what I was “selling,” and that confidence in turn assured the person to whom I was speaking.

There is a posture that gives customers the confidence to spend money with your company, and it’s forged only by 1) actually knowing what you’re talking about, 2) experience (not just the ability to do the work proposed, but a demonstrated history of delighted customers), and 3) a deep understanding of the customer’s business.

Oh, and having a quality product to sell.

As I told clients for years during my freelancing days, the technology is the easy part.