Sales experience needed in an IT consulting role?
OK, first answer these questions…
Who are you?
What do you do?
What do you love?
Who do you work for?
What type of work is it?
Why are they hiring you?
Now, revisit the first questions above and then consider…
What would your clients say they value most about you, about the work you do you?
How can you be better, bring a greater value?
Finally, iterate on the full set of questions again…
In “Visibility of Value – Testing Within the Organization”, I discussed that in order for a testing group to move from the perception of being a cost center to being an effective and efficient cost-optimization center, the group needs to make visible the impact and value of its efforts beyond the actual project.
For the individual IT consultant there are strong parallels, and answering the questions at the beginning can help give insight as to where your value, as a consultant, actually exists.
If you think of yourself as a person who is filling a position, then you will come and do the job (and do it well no doubt). But in this case, aren’t you then just one of many interchangeable people that could get that job done? How does that help you get that client to bring you back next time? What made you special?
If instead, you think of yourself as one business providing services to another, then you should feel a shift of focus in thinking and approach. Sure, the work still needs to get done, but how you go about doing it and how you extend your contribution beyond those bullet points will give you a different feel to the client, and to yourself.
To take this additional step, consider how you can influence the client’s perceived value of your role or contribution. Not only must you know and execute your assigned tasks and responsibilities to a high standard, but you must also understand how your role interacts and supports the larger activities and priorities of the organization. Then determine how best to practically make that value visible.
Now, can you answer the following questions?
- Who are your clients?
- What are your clients’ needs or motivations?
- How are those needs being met by your activities?
- How do you know you are prioritizing the right things?
- What is the return on investment (ROI) for your activities?
- How are your clients being informed of your activities and their benefits?
- How are your services or solutions better than the other options available?
Does this sound like sales? Why yes it does.