Patience is not one of the first skills you think about when it comes to the requirements of being a great SE. I’m not talking about patience in terms of:
a) Dealing with “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” sales people.
b) Handling that beta product that just won’t behave
c) Wandering why support takes so long to handle a problem and call the customer back; or even
d) All the other non-core activities that you have to perform as “the organization of last resort”!
I am speaking about patience in terms of dealing with your customers. Patience in forcing yourself to learn more about your customers and talking/presenting less. A couple of examples to make my point.
Customer says : “We’re looking for a solution that will enable us to
”. Can you help us?
Easy, but wrong answer: “Yes. In fact, let me show you how we can help you right now” – and you start either a demo, presentation or a long monologue.
Harder, but correct answer: “Yes we can. Tell me a little more about why you are looking for
Customer remarks: “Last month we had to store an additional 2TB of data.”
East, but wrong response: “What kind of storage are you using?” or “How do you back that up?” or “how do you report on that?” (All good questions a little later in discovery).
Harder, but correct answer. “Wow – how do you (or your company) feel about that?”
See the difference? You are asking at least one more question before you dive into “presentation/all-about-me” mode. It makes a big difference and you’d be surprised what you can learn.