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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