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#994: Design/Build Consulting

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Prospects are sometimes reluctant to start an engagement until they see the full scope of the process but can't see the scope until they start and complete some diagnostics. How can I get past this constraint?

This is always in a manager's mind but probably more so in these risk-averse times. From the manager's perspective, he or she wants to assure that money and staff time are well spent and wants to know the scope, sequence and content of consulting tasks. From the consultant's perspective, we want to conduct some diagnostics first before laying out the full scope of the engagement, even though we have a pretty good idea of how we would proceed. In management, as in medicine, prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.

The building industry figured this out years ago when building slowed down. They developed the design/build concept, where a single firm would do the architectural design work prior to building. Once the project was clear, the buyer could go out and find the best builder. However, the buyer had already established a trust in the design phase and was familiar with the design itself. More often than not, the buyer would select the firm it knew. By offering both services, the project was both more efficient and better for the builder.

Tip: Offer to provide both design and build services for consulting work. Approach a prospect in need and offer to scope out the work using fast track diagnostics and limited interviews. For a low price and risk, you can provide the prospect an objective and independent view of what might be needed in an improvement project. They are under no obligation to use your services but you reserve the right to bid on any request for services they issue. The client receives valuable perspectives from you, gets a chance to know you without any obligation, and you get insight into how best to serve. Sounds like a good plan all around.
© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  marketing  sales 

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