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#229: Picking the Right Metric to Show Your Value

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, January 28, 2010
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Every consultant says they can deliver great results for their clients, and most of us claim personalized service. How can a consultant compete if everyone is using the same measures of value?

Two ideas come to mind. First, there may be some value to using the same measures as other consultants, making it easier for your clients to compare the value of your services "apples to apples." If you say you are going to return X% on investment (i.e., your fee), or you can reduce personnel costs by Y%, at least you have something quantitative and in terms by which a client would evaluate other investments. The down side of this is you may be rigorous or conservative in your calculations but your competitors are not bound by your standards. You have no way of knowing whether your plausible 35% ROI will compare to your competitor's 1000% ROI, based on entirely different criteria.

Second, you are always better off casting your value in as few terms as possible and in terms that target your client’s or prospect's point of pain. If sales effectiveness is the problem, you might frame your value as an increased sales close rate. However, look closely at the presumed point of pain to find the right benefit metric. If the presented pain is cycle time, it might be that the real issue that matters to the client is unit cost of produced goods, and cycle time is only one part of the cost calculation. Frame your solution metric in the same terms as the problem, not just the symptom.

Tip: In addition to your chosen metric, I suggest another one that is not always used: Speed to Value. This is defined as how long before your results start to appear. All managers are impatient about results. Some may have waited too long before calling you. Show them that, in addition to delivering on their point of pain, your services will return results within weeks, days or hours.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  customer understanding  proposals  prospect 

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