Monday, February 13, 2012
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines trust
as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something” and “one in which confidence is placed”. While that description seems pretty straightforward, building that type of relationship in an IT business is actually very complicated. The number of changing variables inside these organizations can easily shift the attention away from customers, so extra efforts are required to stay focused.
The difficulty escalates as solution providers add employees, services and clients—each demanding more of their time and requiring additional company resources. These common distractions are the reason it is important to build a solid business plans and ensure that it’s updated appropriately as the company prospers (or changes in other significant ways).
Trust is the foundation of all business transactions; without confidence in each party’s ability to fulfill its obligations, it’s difficult to create a true relationship. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that few companies will invest their limited resources in organizations that they don’t have confidence in. That’s especially important in managed services and cloud computing, where the keys to success and profitability are getting long-term commitments. Few companies will sign a multi-year contract without establishing some sort of a bond with a service provider (unless legal guarantees have been included).
So how can MSPs and VARs build trust among their prospects and clients, at least enough to secure initial projects?
Get an Expert’s Advice on Trust
- Commit—list details of what you plan to do and when you plan to do it. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) assure clients that a solution provider will uphold their promises and they list the consequences if they don't.
- Demonstrate—confidence is built one day (and one process) at a time. When solution providers continually meet or exceed the expectations of their clients, they are establishing trust.
- Personalize—relationships require an individual touch. Through ongoing discussions and interaction, VARs and MSPs can learn a lot about their clients, including their specific preferences and business process needs.
- Validate—trust is a two-way street. Clients must keep their promises for a true relationship to develop. It goes further than payment of the monthly invoice: customers should negotiate in good faith (no hidden issues or unruly demands) and deal fairly when issues arise. Good clients (and contractors) will be reasonably “give and take” when a matter isn’t detailed in the contract.
For those looking to strengthen customer relationships and improve long-term business prospects, the keynote speaker at the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting
(AMM) is sure to offer some sound guidance. Steven M.R. Covey
, co-founder and chief executive officer of CoveyLink Worldwide, will provide his insight during the April 10-12th
event (he is scheduled to speak at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11). This highly sought-after speaker, author and business advisor will share a wealth of information with the conference attendees, including the relationship between trust, leadership, ethics and high-performance. During the course of his discussion, Covey will show how each affects the bonds between a business and its clients, including the improvements solution providers can make to ensure greater sales and profits.
AMM 2012 is sure to be a valuable learning experience for all attendees. In addition to Covey’s talk based on his best-selling book The Speed of Trust,
include a number of strategy and business development sessions for solution providers. That’s on top of the standard networking and peer community meetings that our members love and expect.
Last year, AMM was a sold out event and this year is booking up quickly. Have you registered and booked your hotel yet? If not, reserve your spot today!