Working as a Consultant: "They" vs "We" in Talking to the Customer’s Customer

Working as a Consultant: "They" vs "We" in Talking to the Customer’s Customer

In our last article, we shared the importance of distinguishing between “I” and “We” when consulting for a company.  When you’re speaking to your customer/client, you want to be sure to use “you”.  Why?  In a nutshell, it’s not your company, it’s not your business, and it’s not your end goal.  So, in those situations, it is important to say “you”.  “You” should be focused on this because, at the end of the day, “you” do need to do this stuff not “me”.  This is not my company, it is yours. Now that we’re wrapped up in pronouns, what about when you talk to the customer’s customer as a consultant?

This is where the tables totally turn.  The question now is whether you should say: “they” are presenting this or “we” are presenting this.  The answer? We.  Always we.  Why?  Well, when interacting with your customer’s customer –you want to show a cohesive front.  As a consultant, you need to be aware of the shift that has to happen when you have a change in audience.  When dealing with a customer, “I” am doing this for “you”.  When dealing with the customer’s customer, “we” are doing this for “you”.

Why is it important?   When you are working with a customer you want to stress the fact that, as a consultant, you are not a part of the starting lineup.  Rather, you are a special team that is being called in.  There is a clear division there.  You are there to help with a task or project, but you are a completely separate entity.  When speaking to the customer’s customer though, you need to be one team (in that moment) to present a consistent and solid foundation.

Being adaptable to different situations, projects, and audiences is an extremely crucial component in being a successful consultant.  You have to be adaptable to present yourself differently in different situations.  You have to know when it’s time to be a part of the team and when it’s time to highlight the division between yourself and the team.

As a consultant, you are working for the success of your clients.  This has to always be in the back of your mind when you are interacting with your client’s clients.  “We” are putting a lot of effort into the success of your project.  “We” are looking forward to working with you.  In these situations, using “we” instead of “they” is very beneficial.

What situations do you think a consultant should become a part of the team and what situations do you think a consultant should remain a separate “special team” coming in to help?  Do you think that there is importance in the distinction between the two?  What is the value to your customers?  Comment below!

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  • 4 November 2015
  • Author: James Nagy
  • Number of views: 1489
James Nagy

James NagyJames Nagy

Need a consultant today? How can I help? As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of J&S Tech Designs I have nearly three decades of experience and expertise to share with you to help your business, product, or idea thrive. If you like this article, please sign up in the “stay informed” section!

Other posts by James Nagy

Full biography

Full biography

James Nagy is managing partner and co-founder of J&S Tech Designs - a business consulting organization that specializes in providing software and website design, development, and management expertise to organizations. He is also Managing Director and one of four co-founders of Sprocket Websites, Inc. and Chief Executive Office and one of four co-founding members of Clinical Collaboration Software, LLC.

James has over twenty-five years of experience in the information technology field, spending twenty years in software development, sixteen years in executive management and the last six years as a serial entrepreneur launching and running several successful technology organizations.

Throughout his career he has led companies, divisions, departments and teams to successful outcomes. He has executed process reengineering within organizations that were struggling to produce. He has provided strategic vision and organization planning in situations that needed direction. He has built complex systems in several unique marketplaces that required thorough knowledge and expertise to be successful. It is his passion for excellence and desire for success that has enabled him to meet the challenges presented and continue to exceed expectations.

James’ passion for delivering innovative solutions and creative strategies enabled him to develop strong business foundations for long-term success. He is an active member of the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, the North of the River Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce where he served on several teams, advisory committees, and legislative groups. He is a founding member of the Chicago Area DotNetNuke Users Group that has held several large, successful Website design and development events. James has donated time, money and expertise to many volunteer, fundraising and charitable organizations like KidsMatter of Naperville, The Naperville Film Festival, Summer Place Theatre, TEDxNaperville, Neuqua Valley High School Senior Spectacular and many others.

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