Our consulting group has always been successful at providing needed services to clients and our experience is that those clients have in turn succeeded because of them. However, we are not getting the same kind of interest as we used to because the economy has changed. Are there typical ways to extending services into new lines of business?
There are two ways to look at your situation. One is that your services are no longer in demand because clients are looking for different services. The other is that their needs have changed and they don't recognize the value of your services in the terms you use to describe them. The response to the first requires a change in your consulting focus and business strategy. You will need to be confident that this is happening for all your clients (and potential clients) before you assume this perspective. Also, before you abandon your consulting practice, consider whether your services will be in demand again when the economy turns around.
The second outcome, clients just not seeing the value in your services, is something you can react to. Similar to the point in Tip #12 about how people react to messages, clients see different needs in their organizations when the economy or their markets shift. It may be a simple matter of recasting your services in terms of what the client's point of pain. For example, if you r expertise was in process efficiency or supply chain management, you may need to reframe your described value in terms of cost control or even finding new "revenue" from your operations. If your service is training, instead of letting someone characterize it as a discretionary expsense, make sure you can present training as a way to get 15% more productivity out of every employee without increasing headcount. Tip:
Your brand is about the promise you make to the client. When the needs of the client shift, your promise may have to shift to match. I am not saying to offer less service or reduce your integrity. Just look at the way you describe your services. This may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar but it is necessary to make sure you are highly values (and compensated) for providing what the client sees as "critical services" in the new economy. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA