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#270: Closing Out Engagements

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, March 26, 2010
Updated: Friday, March 26, 2010
How should I wrap up an engagement without leaving the impression that I am not interested in future assignments?

There are several aspects of ending an engagement that might lead a client to feel that you are no longer interested in their welfare. First, you are about to submit a final invoice, thus may seem like there is no more desire to do work. Second, your effort moves from purely customer support to include some documentation and administrative tasks, possibly reducing the proportion of time you are available to client requests. Finally, there is an unwitting tendency to leave off some tasks that aren't the core of your effort, even if mutually agreed to.

These do not have to leave a bad impression if you manage them well. Discuss your final invoice in the context of the entire engagement, not just the final set of tasks, to show the full range of what you have delivered. Near the end of the engagement, reaffirm wit the client that he or she still needs the documentation and administrative tasks to be completed. The client may feel that what may have seemed like a good idea at the beginning of an engagement may no longer be useful and they would rather receive more consulting services instead. Finally, honor every commitment you make with a client (even the above mentioned administrative services).

Tip: As always, constant communication with your client is essential as the engagement comes to an end. Part of the discussion is how your commitment is to their continued success, not just the current project. Weave future activities into the discussion of the end of your current engagement.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  communication  consultant role  engagement management 

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