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Archive for March 3rd, 2016

Please GIS Expert Shut up and Listen!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Will you be offended if I tell you to shut up and listen? Good then prepare to be offended (you’ll be better off for the experience believe me). If there is one thing we are all good at, and that is talking about ourselves, and our products. As soon as a potential customer comes knocking at our door .. off we go… blabbing on and on.

Did you know it does this … and that …. and oh we are quicker and slicker and 3″ longer than our competition.

Please!

Please GIS Expert Shut up and Listen!

What does a potential customer (this is for both internal and external customers) care about? Ask yourself that question. They care about solving a problem. Now if your product provides a potential solution to that problem .. a potential customer might just be curious. And how do you know if you have piqued their interest?

Somebody is curious when they start asking you questions

Let me tell you a story. I attended recently a tech conference. I was on a learning mission. Part of that mission was listening to sales and tech folk as they spoke to attendees. What did I find as I walked around … a sales word puke fest!

Truly. Potential customers being drowned in words. Admittedly this was not a GIS only conference but we GIS experts can be tech blabbers.

Start with the Problem end with the Solution

Let’s start by understanding the problem and end with the solution. Let me share one recent conversation I overheard:

Caller: We need an ArcGIS CRM integration

Responder: Why?

Caller: To map our data.

Responder: For what purpose?

Caller: To help our agents.

Responder: What is the benefit to your agents?

Caller: To help them assess and sell properties.

Responder: How do your agents work today?

Caller: They use paper, spreadsheets, charts.

Responder: How will this help your agents?

Caller: They will have data and visuals at hand quickly which means more deals and more money

I think you get the idea. Ask questions. Don’t launch into a product onslaught. Start with understanding their world today, their challenges and goals. If we as GIS experts don’t understand the problem fully how can we build out a solution for our customers?

During initial conversations around GIS implementations, keep the current problem front and centre. In the back of our minds we might have thoughts about wider use of the technology. Other organizational problems which GIS could solve. With this first problem solved that may then move us to discussion around a location strategy.

There that was not so bad. No bad words used. Its true we are all guilty at times of talking at others. We all need to tell ourselves at times to shut up. As Adam Carnow says “these are golden times for GIS”. Success is based on listening and understanding.

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