“What’s in it for me?”
When we ask a client to host a reference visit or call, we may hear them wonder why they should put effort into coordinating a visit and cut considerable time from their busy schedule to host visitors. Before I list my reasons of why it is important to be a referenceable site, I thought of asking couple of my clients/partners who host many visits every year, why they do it.
“When we host other organizations, to see where we are in our journey, besides helping others to take the right decisions, it builds good network connections with other organizations in the same field from which we can learn and find opportunities to collaborate in the future” said Mubarak Alshahrani, CIO of King Saud University Medical City.
I asked the same question to one of the most referenceable sites I have ever seen, Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt (57357), which hosts daily visits to its facility – not only to showcase its information systems, but also its care delivery, facility management, research, and its whole eco-system.
“When we host a visit, it is a recognition for our leadership capabilities, which enables us to act as a catalyst for development in the region” said Ayman Ibrahim, VP Technology of Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt (57357). “It constantly puts us on edge to strive in developing innovative solutions to be a role model for change. We compare our performance with others thus, obliging us to always use the latest standard guidelines in treatment with the newest technology to improve patient care and quality of life,” Ayman added.
From the many reference visits I have attended, I will list below the main reasons why any organization should be keen to host reference visits:
- Self-satisfaction: When you showcase your work, talk to others who are coming to hear your experience, and see the appreciation of what you achieved on their faces, you feel proud. You appreciate what you have and become thankful for what you may have considered a given.
- Improvement opportunities: Through the questions of the visitors, and sometimes sharing their experience, you will uncover opportunities for improvement and discover new ways of dealing with some of your challenges.
- Collaboration opportunities: These visits usually have the spirit of helping others and therefore they generate great opportunities for collaboration between the organizations. They may lead to new business opportunities or joint projects.
- Better knowledge of your organization and the industry: I observed that the executives who host frequent visits are usually closer to the end users and have better understanding of their organization and the industry due to the interactions they have.
- Stronger partnership: When you become the showroom of your vendor, you exceed the status of a client and your image becomes important for your vendor which elevates the relationship to a partnership level.
To realize the benefits above, the visit has to be well organized. Knowing who your visitors are, what they want to discuss, and for how long you have to engage with them are key to preparing an effective agenda with the right participants to achieve the targeted value and avoid inefficiencies. As I opened the blog with “what’s in it for me?”, I want to end it with a saying we learned when we were young and teaching it to our children – “sharing is caring”.