Here’s an old joke for you.
An employee is having an annual salary review discussion with his boss. Unfortunately, the boss is not so pleased with the employee’s performance over the past twelve months. “I was hoping for better things from you,” the boss explains.
“What, exactly, should I have been doing?” answers the employee.
“I was hoping you would have shown more initiative,” answers the boss.
“I would have done that,” replies the employee, “If only you had told me to.”
I was talking to senior executive from a local advertising agency this week, and was asking him about what his company was doing about educating clients about the changes in marketing and advertising – social media, content strategy and so on. His answer was that the company has been doing nothing – since his clients haven’t been asking him for that sort of information.
Many organizations prefer to be reactive rather than proactive. Let someone else blaze the trail and get the bumps and bruises. Wait until your customers ask for something before putting things in place in order to provide it to them.
But just because your customers aren’t asking you about something, doesn’t mean that they not curious. Maybe they’re not asking you because they don’t feel comfortable mentioning it (after all, if you’re the expert, maybe they think that’s part of your job). Or perhaps they don’t connect their inquiry with what your company does, for whatever reason.
Or maybe, just maybe, someone else is already educating them.