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#361: You Can Help Clients Set Deadlines

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, August 02, 2010
Updated: Monday, August 02, 2010
I never know how best to set a timeline for my clients. They are the client, of course, but they never seem to move as fast as I’d like. Is there some way for me to get my clients to share my sense of urgency?

You do recognize that the client has elements of their timing decision of which you may be unaware, thus there may be a good reason why they do not share your sense of urgency overall. However, it is appropriate for you to make sure that they fully understand the implications of delay. Probably the most effective thing you can do to help a client move as fast as you would like is to get them to enthusiastically embrace your ideas and/or recommendations by understanding the implication - whether financial or cultural - in terms of opportunity costs. This may be cast in terms of the penalty of delay or the reward of quick decision.

You already know what their key decision criteria are (e.g., competitive advantage, morale, bottom or top line growth, employee skills, technology adoption) so work these timing benefits into those key metrics.

Tip: Don't over-promise with unrealistic expectations or with promises of results that are outside of your control. Remember to first understand why your client has a different timetable - it may be you who needs to rest your expectations.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  communication  customer understanding  engagement management 

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