In last two weeks I had two meetings with customers from completely different parts of the world, but from the same industry. Each of the meetings was a eye opening experience allowing me to relearn what I knew about trust.
One meeting was with an existing customer, who came to learn more about the company and look for possible cooperation. This was an easy meeting, where there was basic trust and the conversation rolled exactly to the things he needed help and we had a meaningful perspective. Even so, by using the same rules of trust creation we were able to move forward and even have a basic plan for creating real value for them.
Second meeting (or meetings actually) were with potential customers, who didn’t knew us and were much more hesitant in presenting the existing areas of difficulty. Here the rules were much more difficult to implement as it had to be gradual, exposing the information and knowledge emphatically and real.
For me these meeting help me understand the basic human nature:
Empathy is critical – one must try to be in the other shoes and learn what the goals and pains are
After understanding, one must provide value – either by creating something to reach the goals or by alleviating the pain. This is critical to show you really care
Last is to make it real – not just PowerPoint slides, but it has to come to an execution plan
Your role is critical; to move the discussion forward by revealing the true needs and wants of the customer. Hence the title Linchpin given by Seth Godin to the self proclaimed role.
(the image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5364620816/in/photostream/)
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