February 15. 2012 | Bhavna Negandhi
What Clients Want
Having spent over seven years in consulting, I understand some of the basic reasons why clients bring in consultants. It’s usually to access specialized skills which their organization does not possess. They appreciate consultants who want them to succeed and have faith in their future. Though some consultants strive to surpass expectations, most clients are thrilled when a project simply goes according to plan. They are grateful and pleasantly surprised with over-the-top results. But most don't hold their breath on any advisor's promise to go beyond what's expected.
Be aware that clients know their business best and are hardier than they look. So don’t wait to break the bad news to them. They want to be able to trust you and look for your enthusiasm, attention, commitment, professionalism, and sensitivity in their matters of business. It may seem like a tall order, but remember - “Clients want to choose the right firm for the right project to get the work done the right way.” So, while ‘wowing’ the client is an important aspect, the first requirement is delivering what was promised, on time.
Clients value consultants because of their deep expertise and their ability to knock out short-term projects by leveraging that expertise. They tend to gravitate towards advisors who use their experience to solve problems rather than just apply what worked last time. Value-add? Yes. Flexibility? Yes. Chaos? No.
Your primary interest as a consultant is in achieving the client’s goals – not in your business development. Stay focused on the plan with a clear intention of an exit. A good consultant would make arrangements for continuous progression after the project ends. You will be surprised to learn that such intent leads to more additional work than any efforts to prolong a project or sell follow-on projects.
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