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Sorry

I'm sorryI’m sorry.

 

I’m sorry to many of the business owners I’ve met with in the past to talk about Smart Dolphins and your technology. I’ve done many of you a disservice. I’ve let you down and it probably will cost you thousands of dollars and much frustration.

I have begun to see that I care too much what others think of me and that being liked is too often a priority for me when I’ve met with some business owners. I wanted you to like me so I agreed with you when I knew you were wrong. I knew that your beliefs were costing you and instead of truly challenging you on those things and trying to educate you based on my 12 years of experience in this business, I was too focused on “building a relationship” and being cordial.

I’ve had a growing awareness of this problem, but the penny dropped for me this this month. I met with a business owner recently who was having a lot of problems with their computer network and their IT support vendor (“vendor” might be generous: They had a “kid” who had a “real job” and was only available on weekends and evenings). This situation was the poster-child for why Smart Dolphins exists. This company had huge risk, costs and were missing a ton of opportunity because they looked at these things through the wrong lens. They were trying to minimize their IT support vendor costs while also expecting great results. They were looking for a minor miracle.

I wasn’t in the meeting long with this person before they wanted to know “how much do you guys cost”. When I gave them a ballpark, the meeting came to an abrupt end; this business couldn’t “afford” our price. They had to continue to find a way to minimize their vendor cost and hope and pray for a different outcome. This was clearly not a “hot prospect” for Smart Dolphins, but it was clearly someone that needed some guidance. I didn’t give any. I let this person continue their insanity (doing the same thing and expecting a different result) without challenging the logic. What a waste.

Again, I’m sorry. I failed you. I’m sorry to all the others that I have let off the hook like I did here.

I have challenged some decision makers and I have educated many on the true cost dynamics of their IT networks, but there have been many situations like this where I walk away, quietly disagreeing with someone’s reasoning.

This public apology and admission here is part of a new leaf that I am turning over. Business world, prepare to be challenged.

So, I’m also going to take this opportunity to submit an apology to the many business owners that I’m going to meet with in the future. I can’t promise you that we’re going to be Best Friends Forever. I might still part with a differing opinion, but you’ll know about it.

Posted in : Business Babble
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10 Comments
  • Great post. And very true.

    There’s a difference between something being the right way to do things, and wanting things to be the right way; and a lot of the time, the clients we deal with on a daily basis only want to hear themselves. Sadly, this isn’t reality, as much as they feel this is the case. I could argue logic with someone until I’m blue in the face, in the end, they refuse to see the value in my services, and they continue this frustrating path.

    Classic example? I used to build a lot of websites for clients, I programmed great services, logins, online stores, complicated scripts, marketed and created fantastic logo’s and layouts. The client loved it, but then came the ‘lets change this, let’s add a few flashing jpegs, and a couple pictures of my dog, let’s add emboss to half the text…’ What are we left with? A poorly constructed website that the client wants; but ultimately does nothing to help their business.

    The long and short of these examples? I’m being a ‘yes’ man instead of standing behind my experience, expertise and insights.

    If you don’t like my advise, we can agree to disagree, and maybe my services aren’t for you.

    Good call.

    Love this.

  • Thanks Dave. All is well, and I continue to help clients with their revenue growth issues. One of the best ways that I have found to help change business owners’ perceptions is to discuss cost of ownership. A quick story – One of my clients was up against a well established business who had been the local market leader for 20 to 30 years. My client had invested in newer equipment and knew he had a better solution. However, the established company was not about to give up their dominance, so they heavily discounted their pricing, and even offered free services to some of their customers. So we developed some cost-of-ownership models demonstrating in detail where the long term savings would be by switching providers. As the majority of business owners are fine tuned into the financial aspects of their organization, they bought into the cost-of-ownership arguement in spades, and my client is now enjoying significant revenue growth.
    On another note, I see you are advertising for an inside sales person. I think that this is a great move. A properly trained and motivated inside sales person can truly generate revenue for an organization in today’s business environment. Best

  • Great advice Rodger. I have been investing in selling and marketing training much more heavily the past few years and it has definitely helped. It is actually my training that has helped show me that I’m missing the mark in my own sales.

    Your point about perceived value is at the heart of what I’m saying. Many business people have an inappropriate perception of the value of their IT and what it takes to realize a great return on investment. What I’m saying in my post is that I don’t challenge these people enough and as a result, I’m not helping educate them – change their perception. These people are frustrated, hurting and are missing tremendous value, but they have misjudged the reasons why. I have been too shy at times to help these people see the reality. It is hard because it requires me to engage in the conflict of changing the direction they are pointing their finger of blame.

    Great to hear from you Rodger! Hope you’re doing well.

  • May I add a constructive comment. I don’t believe your issue is your communication style or how blunt you are.
    It has to do with the perceived value that your customers and potential customers obtain from your services.
    Have a look at Richard Gordon’s comment as an example as to why he is dealing with you.
    Customers want to know all about Return on Investment these days.
    They don’t buy on price – they buy on perceived value.
    I think some skill training in selling and marketing techniques would help your situation immensly.
    Best

  • Thanks Richard. You and your thinking are definitely the exception, not the rule. Thanks for opening the door and letting us work with you fine folks!

  • Awesome. I’d love to hear how it turns out.

  • Having recently gone through this process with Dave, I get what he’s saying. Our experience is eerily similar yet we had a different outcome. I wasnt scared of Daves pricing as I saw value is what he was proposing and didnt hesitate to sign up with Dolphins! The last 6 weeks have been a roller coaster as Adrian and Sean have worked to get our IT house in order again. They have been great! Only regret is I should have called them sooner!

    The old saying is so true here….”you get what you pay for”

  • Thank you for the kind words and encouragement Anthony. I am known for my love of analogies and yours is a great one. I’m always looking to be awesome-r and hopefully my new “leaf” gets me there!

  • Love it. I think I’ve just found myself in yet another of the exact type of situations you describe above. Maybe I’ll be a little blunter this time.

  • Well if this is a new leaf, then I like it! I can understand why you feel sorry for your way of being. But I see your way delivered a beautiful gift to you and your customers.

    Consider that you have been practicing for a time and now your voice is prepared and warmed up. Be grateful for the experienes that have brought you to this point of humble awareness and introspection.

    You’ve been in business helping people for 12 years. You’ve been awesome so far, and now you’ll be even awrsome-r!

    Excellent post. Kudos for being honest and brave enough to share and br genuine.

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