Competence Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
You’ve heard the old phrase, beauty is the eye of the beholder.
Yesterday I got a reminder that competence, and other business success
factors, are also determined by the customer.
I got a great referral from my friend, Rick. I’ve known him for years and I think the world of the work he does. We share clients fairly frequently so I wasn’t surprised to get a call from one of his clients, asking to work with me.
Jill, the client, and I spent about an hour on the phone talking about the work we were going to do and getting to know each other. Then she dropped the bomb.
She said she wasn’t yet sure she was going to hire Rick because she had heard from someone else that he was hard to work with.
What, I asked, was the reason for that assessment?
It turns out that Jill’s friend had been in a meeting once where Rick asked a lot of thoughtful questions and slowed the group decision making down. Since this friend wanted the meeting to go quickly, he thought Rick was hard to work with.
As I pointed out to Jill, what Rick did was exactly the sort of this she was going to hire him to do and this example actually demonstrated Rick’s competence. It was only through the friend’s eyes that it was difficult.
All’s well that end’s well, and Jill ended up hiring Rick. I know she’ll be pleased with his work and she’ll accomplish the goals she set for herself.
It does make you wonder, though, if you have lost a sale in the last few weeks, was it because someone else got the ear of your prospect and filled it with doubt? If so, how could you have insulated your prospect against it?