Craig Bloem, Founder & CEO of Free Logo Services (which is not his first startup), says,
Ethan Roberts, President of Monkey Mind LLC, says,
Eric Leland, of FivePaths LLC, says, “We regularly hire consultants and programmers, and help our clients do so.”
Next week we’ll look at what some successful IT consultants and independent programmers have to say about the best ways to get clients. But this suggestion is too good to keep on the shelf for a week…
So: Have you considered writing a book about the area where your greatest skills lie? It can be a major career boost.]]>
Jeff Trotman, President of Westglenn Software:
I’d say the most important thing is not to make the people you are dealing with feel stupid because…
Using jargon instead of English is another variant of this. If you can’t make “non-geeks” understand what you’re talking about, you’re not going to advance very far.
Bruce Campbell, VP Marketing, Clare Computer Solutions:
When someone calls for help with IT, chances are they’ve already tried a bunch of stuff which either didn’t work or maybe even made things worse. So they call for help in a state of high anxiety and/or embarrassment. Lower-level users tend to worry they’ll get in trouble for what they’ve tried, and higher-level users are frustrated that their usual regal authority has no effect on recalcitrant computers.
The first few seconds of the call are crucial. Techs that have the ability to soothe as they ask for help will do well, and techs that (purposefully or accidentally) give off a “What did you do now?” vibe will always have trouble. Even if both techs can solve the problem, the tech who soothed the client will have a grateful client, while the haughty one will have a client who is still angry even AFTER the issue is resolved. In fact, that client will probably transfer the earlier anger over the IT issue into anger over being humiliated by the tech.
I have taken classes over the years in “dealing with difficult people,” and they espoused a form of “verbal jujitsu,” where the first moments of the interaction with the client are spent creating empathy. Instead of getting defensive (“What did you do to break it?” “There’s no way our products would do this”), they say things like “Wow, that sounds really frustrating – let’s see what we can do!” and quickly, an adversarial relationship becomes a partnership with the exact same goals.
Russell Henry, independent IT consultant, Washington D.C.:
A psychologist friend of mine once said, “Sociology, Psychology, and the other ‘people sciences’ are far harder than physics, math, and the other so-called ‘hard sciences’ because humans are so incredibly complex.”
Time spent learning how to get along with coworkers or clients can be just valuable as the same amount of time put into improving your technical skills. In fact, it may even prove to be more valuable in the long run.]]>