Nov
29
2013

A little more conversation for effective action

 

A day in the life of an Experian consultant

Despite having access to a huge resource of people, technologies and expertise, two of the most powerful weapons at my daily disposal are decidedly low-tech — time and understanding.

Conversation is an overlooked and under-appreciated art in business.  The prevailing accepted wisdom is, as Elvis so succinctly put it, “a little less conversation and little more action please.”

I must admit to finding this frustrating. Before working at Experian I was on the other side of the fence — commissioning vendors to provide solutions to my business challenges. Nine times out of ten, I would be pitched to by people who would nod sagely when I began to describe what I was looking for and then interrupt. “We’ve seen this all before,” they’d assure me; “we have just the thing for you,” they’d soothe; “just plug Solution X in and sit back and relax.”

Companies often see their solutions first and then think about how they fit into the client’s problem second.

My working day is different. I feel a bit like a doctor who, to make the right diagnosis, has to talk carefully to the patient to work through all the symptoms — some of which didn’t even seem like symptoms before we had the chance to chat. Taking the time to listen, encourage and learn is often a cathartic and illuminating process for consultant and client alike.

And from this flows the action. Having taken the time to understand what my client needs I can then look at where I can help and how to put Experian’s resources to good use. On any given day, I will be creating relationships with organisations — getting beyond the immediate challenge, discovering more fundamental objectives and working to meet them.

This is what I find the most rewarding part of my job: being able through the conversation and discovery process to pinpoint clients’ issue and requirements so that I can help them to improve efficiencies, build more meaningful customer relationships and boost the bottom line. That’s what being a consultant is all about.

And it all starts with a simple conversation.

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