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#704: Take Care When Recommending Other Consultants to Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, November 24, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011
I sometimes want to recommend another consultant to my client but feel that it might take away additional opportunities for my consulting business. After all, there is limited money in their budget and only so much time to devote to a consultant. Am I wrong in being concerned about this?

Your feelings are very natural, but think of it this way: you are there to help the client in any way you can. If you believe that recommending another consultant will add value or provide much needed assistance to the client, you can rest assured that you are doing the right thing by making the recommendation. Sound referrals will help build trust and demonstrate your interest in the client's ultimate success even if it does not translate into direct business for you. Here are a few guidelines when recommending someone to your client:
  1. Issue a clear disclaimer so you don't appear to guarantee the performance of the other consultant.
  2. Recommend more than one consultant for the job (if appropriate and possible). Let the client make the choice. This is important to avoid the appearance of a possible conflict of interest where you might be seen as recommending someone with financial or other ties to you.
  3. Let the client do the interviewing and selection.
  4. Try to avoid opportunities for uncomfortable "pairing" if you will be working alongside the other consultant.
  5. Always be supportive and helpful to the other consultant in every way you can.
  6. Don't look for a referral fee from the client.
Tip: Recommend another consultant any time you genuinely feel it will be helpful. Putting the client's needs first is why you are there.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting colleagues  recommendations  referrals  teaming 

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Comments on this post...

Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2011
Well, of course, you as the consultnat should never consider the money you may theoreticalluy lose by recommending another consultant who could perform the required service better.

Somtimes I feel I've been so conscious of referring the best consultant to do the job, that the client has asked me why my firm can't do it (lol). I havwe felt sometimes I've gone overboard in this regard.

And as for referral fees, you should not look for them from either the client or the consultant you are referring. The latter can be the subject of a separate discussion.
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