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#242: How to Prove Your Value to Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010
My firm assures that we deliver on all the tasks we said we would. However, clients occasionally want to talk about how they should evaluate the quality of our work. Is it appropriate, or risky to go beyond what we said we would do?

Consider that there are two approaches to evaluating your work. First is the judgment, from your perspective, of whether you kept your promises. We are obligated to be clear to our clients about our project objectives, activities, schedule, cost and quality of work products. For each engagement, we create a project plan and mutually agree on it with our clients. If we deliver on your plan, then you have done a good job. This is necessary, but not sufficient, for a successful consulting engagement.

The second is the judgment, from your client's perspective, of whether your intervention has improved their condition. Although theoretically you may fail to do all you said you would do and could still improve the client's condition, it is likely that you need to go beyond just checking off the boxes on your plan. Part of your initial discussions with your client, even before finalizing your project plan, should be about how he or she will know they are better off as a result of your being there. A project plan has no foundation without these criteria, and such criteria are the real subject of evaluating your work.

Tip: Rather than risky, it is essential to evaluate projects in terms of how your client is different, not just whether tasks were completed as planned.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  customer understanding  engagement management 

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