So I’m sitting in front of one of my most important clients, not only is my main day to day contact with me but the Commercial Director, who I have never met before. Time slows down and I suddenly realise the noise in the room is coming out of my mouth and words are spilling into the atmosphere that I am generating. How have I got here? What am I saying? Why do I feel compelled to fill the silence? And then I realise with a sinking feeling what I am trying to do…. I am trying to sound like I know what I’m on about, make the Commercial Director respect me, like me even. All I want is someone to say, ‘wow you know what you’re talking about’
We have been interviewing clients for the last 6 months. Clients who buy/procure/commission marketing services agencies. The focus of the interviews has been on what makes stand out agencies for them and what do they need to more of in the next 3 years to continue to be the their agencies of choice. And one word keeps coming back and that is Trust.
We spend a lot of time training client facing teams to develop the most important differentiation in b2b relationships and that is trust. We use David Maisters concept of what creates trust and one of the key areas he talks about is Credibility. We not only seek credibility, but we crave it.
So if all the above is true, we need to ask the most important question of all and that is; ‘what are clients saying makes you credible?’ Well I can say for sure it’s not the opening scenario. Here are the ingredients they say you need to blend together:
- Be great at what you do, that’s a given, a hygiene factor, we expect you to be technically great
- See the landscape. We have a narrow view, you probably don’t. Widen our peripheral vision
- Know our competitors better than we do
- Be as passionate about our industry as we are
- Know our business from a commercial perspective
- Be politically aware and be sensitive to the agendas that are going on in our organisation
- Have a point of view and don’t be afraid to challenge our thinking
- Most of all be confident in yourself
Suddenly time speeds back up and I am back in the moment of my meeting with my most important client and I hear myself saying to the Commercial Director ‘from our experience we are finding that strategy to be less effective, what’s driving that thinking for you?’ After a long pause they say ‘now that’s a good question….’