There is a saying –
If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!
Not too long ago, this was a tried a true saying. I know many an IT consultant, particularly the techie ones, who would go to a customer and start to call out all sort of techie terms to confuse the shit out of them. At the end the customer would have just accepted the ‘facts’ as told, none the wiser to what has transpired.
Nowadays, I am seeing it more and more difficult to pass that by. There are still those who live in bliss, not knowing the truth, but then there are others who thirst for knowledge and begin research for themselves. Information that long ago could have only made it to the few via books or training, are now being found free of charge on websites and from forums. You can also download some of those books and training from those “pirate” sites (I don’t know which since I don’t do those sort of things). So now when a consultant comes in and starts calling out terms, the customer is now equiped to start asking some really hard questions. At the end, if the consultant does not watch himself, he can loose all credibility.
So what does this mean? It means as a consultant, it is important to know of the capabilites and knowledge of your customers and what it is they want. It will become increasingly difficult to please a customer as he knows what is exactly out there and would always ask why – why choose this over that or why place this here and not there? As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The most important thing is to really listen to the customer first before you start the talking. I know you all know that, but I have learnt that it is often difficult to practice that.
Customers will not get dumber (at least I don’t expect that), so it is imperitive that we get smarter. Keep training, reading and learning if you really want to stay in the game.