I am noticing that clients seem to be looking for the “basic package” instead of the fully loaded model of consulting services. I suspect this is largely due to the economic conditions but wonder if this is a trend.
Casey Stengel once said, "Never make predictions, especially about the future." As described in Clayton Christensen's book The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
, there is always room for disruptive technologies that provide just what the client wants. These are not necessarily the more sophisticated or complex ones. In decision-making strategies, this is called satisficing as compared to maximizing. Give the buyer what they want, not everything they can use. I suspect that the attention-focusing effect of a unprecedented (in most people's lives) economic downturn makes people ask "what do I really need here?" and not be carried away with the latest fad or presumably piling on more services in the hope of reducing risk of being wrong. As a tangent, consider the use of multiple expert witnesses in legal disputes and "defensive medicine" in which it is arguable whether marginal benefit exceeds marginal cost.
It is unclear whether this represents a permanent change in buyer behavior, but we can glean some insight from similar trends in consumer purchasing. A tangible example is in consumer electronics. If you are tuned in to things digital, you will recognize this powerful trend. After pushing technology to heights unimaginable only a few years ago, consumers have spoken loudly that they really just want simple. See The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine
. Kindle, Skype, and Flip are all technologies that are fabulous for doing what people want. Are your offering at least some consulting services that are “good enough” or are you pushing only the “solid gold?”Tip:
You may want to have a conversation with prior clients about how they feel today about consulting services. If you have a good relationship with them, they will appreciate the conversation. Ask how they would scope your prior consulting engagement if it were conducted today. Would they retain you at all? Would they break up the engagement into smaller pieces? Would they source it to different consultants? Would they just do it in house or not at all? What are the “good enough” services that you could provide and would they be more attractive to clients?© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA