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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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Top tags: client relations  communication  customer understanding  your consulting practice  marketing  consultant role  learning  client service  reputation  goodwill  consulting process  market research  practice management  sales  ethics  planning  client development  engagement management  innovation  proposals  professional development  professionalism  knowledge assets  prospect  trends  presentations  recommendations  consulting colleagues  intellectual property  product development 

#441: Try This Simple Marketing Exercise

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, November 22, 2010
Updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
Try the following exercise. On a piece of paper, list the most compelling reasons a prospect should hire you as a consultant over all other competitors.

If your list contains things like experience, education and training, or an inventory of the services you provide you've probably missed the most powerful answer you can give - what you can do for the prospective client in terms of performance results. Of course, these results will be based on the things you can do well, your experience, your education or training, and your previous accomplishments. These support the primary reason a prospect will hire you - the confidence they have in your ability to deliver the results you have described.

Tip: You will help establish and implement a process that is projected to reduce defects by x%, or you will help design a training program that will increase overall engineer test performance by a minimum of 15% over last year's cumulative results. Examples like these are the true reasons consultants are hired to achieve the client's desired results. Always support your projected results with a clear and confident description of how you intend to achieve them. This is where your proven skills, experience, education, and training come in - to build the client's confidence in your ability to execute your planned approach to achieve the results expected.

Remember - first focus on identifying the prospect's desired results, and then figure out what specifically you will do help them achieve these results. Finally, build your prospect's confidence in your ability to achieve the results by pointing out your previous experiences, skills, education and training, etc. in which you delivered those specific results.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  marketing  proposals  prospect  sales 

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#440: Consulting Humor: Beware of Going Native

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, November 19, 2010
Updated: Friday, November 19, 2010
Last of five days of very telling jokes about consultants and how to avoid them being told at your expense.

If you are a weekly subscriber, see the past week's jokes (and takeaways) IMC's Consulting Humor blog.. Spending too much time at a single client site risks what we call "going native," a condition in which the consultant becomes indistinguishable from the members of the client staff.

You know you've been at a client site too long when:
  • You are asked by the client staff how to work the coffee machine
  • You remember to bring your "contractor" ID badge but forget your wallet
  • You are not displaced from your temporary office but new employees are sharing cubicles
  • You know personal life details of the client's night cleaning staff and security guards
  • You discuss what needs to be repaired with the copier repair person (whom you also know on a first name basis)
  • You are on the faculty for the new employee orientation program
  • You use so many acronyms you no longer know whether they are yours or the client's
  • You are asked to serve on the company picnic planning committee
  • You are asked by the client to join the staff
  • You begin to use the terms "us" and "we" when referring to the client organization
Takeaway: A hallmark of the professional management consultant is his or her independence and objectivity, which are also principle tenets of our profession's ethical practices. Although it is theoretically possible to be objective long after you have become "friendly" with your client, this is dangerous territory. This is also the danger of using former employees as "consultants," because it is all but impossible for them to be objective.

See more at (or contribute to) IMC's Consulting Humor blog.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client staff  communication  engagement management  professionalism  reputation  roles and responsibilities 

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#439: Consulting Humor: There's a Difference Between Knowing and Doing

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, November 18, 2010
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010
Fourth of five days of very telling jokes about consultants and how to avoid them being told at your expense

All the knowledge in the world is of little use unless you have the ability to translate that into action and results, which is why a client pays you.

Today we provide a "twofer" to make the point.

First joke: A consultant is someone who knows 99 ways to make love but hasn’t had a date in years.

Second joke: A man comes across a little boy with a dog. He says to the boy, "That's a mighty fine dog you have there, son. Does he know any tricks?" The boy replies, "Why, yes sir, he knows over a hundred different tricks." The man smiles and says," Wow, that's amazing. Can I see one?" The boy answers, "Well, not really. He knows lots of tricks but can't actually do any of them."

Takeaway: Knowledge is not the same as skill. Just because you have read books on consulting, worked in an industry or practiced a technical discipline does not mean you are a capable management consulting professional. Skills in diagnosis, evaluation, analysis, planning, project management, communication, facilitation, team building and many other disciplines are integral to effective consulting. The ability to translate competent diagnosis into feasible implementation requires constant study and practice.

See more at (or contribute to) IMC's Consulting Humor blog.

Tags:  consulting tools  customer understanding  knowledge assets  learning  your consulting practice 

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#438: Consulting Humor: Do No Harm

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Third of five very telling jokes about consultants and how to avoid them being told at your expense.

The (original) Hippocratic Oath applies to management consulting just as it does to medical consulting. It states, in part: "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."

A doctor, engineer, and a consultant were arguing about which of their professions was the oldest.

The doctor explained, "The Bible says that God created Eve by removing a rib from Adam's side. Obviously this was surgery so it is easy to see that medicine is the oldest profession."

The engineer said, "Wait a minute. Before Adam, God created the heavens and the earth from chaos. You have to agree that this was a magnificent example of engineering, making it the oldest profession."

The consultant smiled and said, "Yes, but who do you think created the chaos?"

Takeaway: This is a painful reminder that there are consultants whose advice has indeed made a situation worse. This is often caused by lack of experience and skills in diagnosis, or not knowing the most feasible and realistic approach to acting on a client situation. This is another example where certification would help assure a client that a consultant has competence in a broad range of consulting skills and behaviors needed to make capable and effective diagnoses.

See more at (or contribute to) IMC's Consulting Humor blog

Tags:  consultant role  ethics  professionalism  reputation  trust  values 

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#437: Consulting Humor: Give Specific and Directive Advice

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Second of five very telling jokes about consultants and how to avoid them being told at your expense.

It is important to be clear, specific and directive about your advice to clients.

The procurement specified, "Seeking one armed consultant, with technical skills and industry experience."

The consultant called up the prospect to inquire about the engagement. She said, "I understand most of the qualifications you required, but why 'one armed'?"

The client replied, "I have hired too many consultants who tell me one thing and then tell me 'on the other hand . . .".

Takeaway: Be confident in your assessment and primary recommended course of action. There are always options, but you should be experienced enough to understand the implications of each and select the one you will stand behind.

See more at (or contribute to) IMC's Consulting Humor blog

Tags:  advice  ethics  presentations  recommendations  sales 

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