Technology Consultants and the Love/Hate Relationships
Okay, first off I’ll admit the word hate is strong, but there really are people out there that truly hate Technology Consulting and the Consultants that provide the service. In this post I hope to break down the walls between what people are truly despising about Technology Consulting, and perhaps shed some light on why it might not be as bad as you think.
1) “I don’t understand what you are talking about.” A lot of times, people ask for a Technology Consultant because they have no idea what they need, or don’t need. They just know they need “something” but that’s the extent of where their knowledge ends.
2) “This price is nothing like the kid in the house down the street.” A professional Technology Consultant is not inexpensive. It’s a known fact. And every time you turn around, someone else is seemingly providing the same service for less. And yes, even the kid down the street does it.
3) “How does this work anyway?” Technology Consultants provide you with what you need, but don’t explain to you how what you’re buying works.
4) “Are the lights supposed to flash?” Let’s face it; most people who hire Technology Consultants do not really understand what’s going on, or why. So questions like this are common, and often go unanswered.
5) “Why are we getting this, when the other item costs so much less?” Technology Consultants tend to provide you with one option, one price, and no middle ground. They want to maximize their profit, and still maintain a level of standards for their clients. So often they purchase something that is in fact more expensive than something else that would do the same thing.
6) “Do we really need this?” This is a very common question which usually is answered quite simply “yes”. It can leave you feeling in the dark.
7) “Why do we need this?” This, like the other question, is usually answered briefly with a simple “Because” line.
8) “What are my alternatives?” Technology Consultants don’t like hearing this, because it usually means they have to provide more work toward selling you a product or service. They want to sell you what they pitched you, and often will respond with “It’s this or this really awful solution”.
9) “Why do I need you?” This is a fair question which most Technology Consultants will respond with “Because you don’t know what you have, don’t know what you need, and we are the best to show you what to get and how to use it.” Granted, they might sugarcoat it, and not be so pointed in a response, but that’s the general idea.
10) “Can I do this on my own?” The answer you will get every time is “No!”
So, let’s break this down a bit so you are better prepared to combat some of the pressure you might feel from a Technology Consultant. First and foremost, YOU are in charge of your money, your business, and what you want. Nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do, and that includes someone who might in fact know quite a bit more about the subject than you. Do NOT be intimidated into spending your hard earned money just because you feel like you have no choice.
Ask questions, insist on answers. Do not accept “Because you need it” or “Just because”; those are statements meant to make you quiet, feel intimidated, and ultimately spend your money. You have the right to informed decisions, because it IS your money and your business. If a Technology Consultant cannot honestly answer why you need something, or insist it’s in your best interest without providing a reason why, it might be time to find someone else.
Be fair with your Technology Consultant too. Don’t ask unfair questions. Questions like “How does this work” when you do not understand the first things about the technology are unfair questions, and can lead to quick responses like “You wouldn’t understand.” If you don’t understand how it works, and you don’t have a direct need to understand how it works, there’s a good chance all you’re going to do is run up your bill by asking these questions, and cause tension between you and your Technology Consultant.
Questions like “Why are we getting this, when the other item costs so much less?” and “What are my alternatives?” are excellent questions. Do not be afraid to ask for alternatives, because there usually is one. Ask for the pros and cons of the alternative verses the option they proposed for you. If they can’t provide you an alternative, and can’t provide a very reasonable reason the alternative doesn't exist, there’s a good chance they are taking advantage of you. Responses like “What you are getting is superior” is fine, but make sure you ask why. Just because something costs more does not mean it’s better.
Finally, asking if you can do it on your own, the answer is obvious: Yes you can. But why are you hiring a Technology Consultant if you could do it on your own? To sum things up, don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t accept answers that belittle you or make you feel stupid. You have the right to know how your money is being spent, and if you are not satisfied with the responses you get, consider another Technology Consultant or a second opinion. Never feel trapped into doing something.