Hello there gang!
I am the author of SMB Consulting Best Practices and each day I hold a virtual book reading by posting up a passage. Enjoy the show!
Act as a Client Advocate
The SMB consultant represents his or her client much as a lawyer, CPA, or any other professional service provider does. When it comes to technology matters, such as SBS, you act on behalf of your client. This relationship creates a fiduciary obligation for you to do whatever is in the best interest of the client. Ways that you can act as a client advocate include the following:
• Represent the client, not the vendor — Take ordering hardware, software, and services for the client. Remember that you are speaking on behalf of the client, not the wallet in your hip pocket or purse. You might find yourself subcontracting out specialized tasks to your personal financial detriment because it is your fiduciary obligation in the context of your client relationship to do so. That is, there might be some parts of the client’s technology project that you aren’t qualified to perform. You’ll want to strongly consider using outside
help to complete those tasks even though, in these discrete cases, it’s the outside help doing the billing and not you.
· Conflict of interest disclosure — If you have a direct financial interest in a product being recommended to the client, it’s your obligation to disclose such conflicts of interest. As an author, I’m often put in a tight spot where I’m recommending my own book to a client who has asked me for “some good computer books.” Of course, I’m all too happy to recommend my own tomes, but I usually make the point, via an appropriate dose of humor, that I’ll pocket a buck and quarter in royalties from the book purchase. The point is typically well taken by the client, appreciated, and accepted in the spirit in which it was delivered.
· Practice tough love with honor — Part of the advocacy role will likely include tough love. An SMB consultant, acting as the client’s advocate, is honor-bound to “tell it like it is.” Inevitability, you’ll have to tactfully tell your client something he doesn’t want to hear. If the client has junk machines, you have to let him know. You might encounter this with SBS when it comes to line of business (LOB) applications or terminal services (TS) running in application-sharing mode. LOB applications and TS in application-sharing mode can be great reasons to introduce a second server (typically acting as a member server) onto the network. If you deliver such a message based on fact and sincerity, in all likelihood you will prevail and the client will purchase a member server for the company’s network.
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!
PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!
PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!