I have noticed that several of my long term clients have been bringing in other consultants to handle some services that I used to provide for them. They say they are happy with my services but this is troubling - should I be worried?
This is called multisourcing or unbundling, and has been a growing trend since the recession about six years ago. A decade ago, a proven consultant could work on retainer basis on a range of projects. This was convenient for both the client and consultant. However, clients have changed their approach to purchasing consulting services.
Kennedy Information reported a few years ago a trend that clients were becoming more price sensitive and, with the exception of large systems integration contracts, were looking for the best talent and lower overhead often found in smaller, boutique or specialized consultancies. Increasing senior partners were departing larger firms to start their own practices. Also, more consultants were joining firms and advising executives on hiring and management of consultants. In sum, clients are more sophisticated about locating the best talent at the best terms. Tip:
What to do about this? Be proactive and talk to your clients. Discuss, for each consulting service you provide or could provide, what value they expect from you and how your services meet those expectations. Where they are not enthusiastic about a particular service you provide, find out what changes in services they want, or are likely to want soon. Clarify in your own mind what specific benefits (e.g., innovation, price, ease of access, experience, market expertise, research data, responsiveness) you bring and then talk it over with your client. This is no time to wait and see if your client starts shopping around for other consultants. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA