Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In
Daily Tips for Consultants
Blog Home All Blogs
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.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

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 

#641: Your "First Date" With Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, August 29, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 29, 2011
Although I have been consulting for a few years, it is always hard to know how much to press on the first meeting with a client. Some clients take a "full speed ahead" approach and others a "go slow" approach. For my part as a consultant, is one approach better than another?

How fast a client goes on the initial meeting is up to the client. However, a consultant can create a bad impression by not being in sync with the client. Go too fast and you make the client uncomfortable. Go too slow and you risk perhaps letting the client believe you can't keep up.

Part of your job as a consultant is to feel out how comfortable clients are. You need to anticipate how much they trust you, their sense of urgency about addressing the issue they asked you to tackle, and their general pace of work. Remember, some executives feel, whether they admit it or not, like they are ceding power to a consultant for a job they were hired to do. You can help them go as fast as they can by not pushing them faster than they are willing to go.

Tip: Treat the first meeting like a first date. Think ahead of where the meeting could go if the client is open or guarded. Have a plan to deal with both. Talk to your client specifically about the pace of how he or she wants to proceed and let them know you can accommodate their speed. Don't ignore this topic and just hope everything will work out.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#641: Your "First Date" With Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, August 29, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 29, 2011
Although I have been consulting for a few years, it is always hard to know how much to press on the first meeting with a client. Some clients take a "full speed ahead" approach and others a "go slow" approach. For my part as a consultant, is one approach better than another?

How fast a client goes on the initial meeting is up to the client. However, a consultant can create a bad impression by not being in sync with the client. Go too fast and you make the client uncomfortable. Go too slow and you risk perhaps letting the client believe you can't keep up.

Part of your job as a consultant is to feel out how comfortable clients are. You need to anticipate how much they trust you, their sense of urgency about addressing the issue they asked you to tackle, and their general pace of work. Remember, some executives feel, whether they admit it or not, like they are ceding power to a consultant for a job they were hired to do. You can help them go as fast as they can by not pushing them faster than they are willing to go.

Tip: Treat the first meeting like a first date. Think ahead of where the meeting could go if the client is open or guarded. Have a plan to deal with both. Talk to your client specifically about the pace of how he or she wants to proceed and let them know you can accommodate their speed. Don't ignore this topic and just hope everything will work out.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  consulting process  customer understanding  learning 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#639: Saving Precious Cash

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, August 25, 2011
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011
Even before the economy slowed a bit this year, consultants should always find ways to conserve cash. Any tips?

One quick way to lower your expenses is to take advantage of hidden deals on office supplies, travel and services. Because some technology supplies are pretty pricey, taking a few minutes to uncover these deals can save you several hundred dollars a year. Before you dismiss this as "coupon clipping "that is beneath you, spending five minutes to save a hundred dollars probably works out to a better return on time than your consulting fee.

However, one way to get discounts many people are not familiar with and for unadvertised specials, is to use online coupon broker sites. I just had to buy toner and paper that would have cost about $400. I went to a broker site and found a coupon for $150 savings offered by the store for a quick savings that wasn't advertised by the store itself. These are available for many brand names - makes you wonder who pays retail anymore!

Another resource is B2B broker sites like Boss Rocket, which provides a Groupon-like 50% or more discount on business services. These can include SEO optimization, financial review and business planning. Of course, you need to vet these services but the savings can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

Tip: The bigger ticket items like travel can really add up. Companion passes on airlines allow you to get a second or third ticket for $99. Bringing your colleague to a job or your family along on business trips several times a year passes a thousand dollars of savings pretty quickly.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  practice management  your consulting practice 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

#638: It's What You Know That Just Ain't So

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011
I like the comment attributed to Will Rogers about "It's not what you don't know that's the problem, it's what you know that just ain't so." Even though we are human, getting trapped in such assumptions is particularly dangerous for consultants. How can we avoid making these mistakes?

It may be the consultants are prone to being misled because of the nature of their work. We are expected to take incomplete and often confusing information and make sense of it, then use that information to chart a course for our clients. We often know of similar circumstances but, unless we have been working with a particular client for a while, are often new to the organization.

The nature of our work compels us to "jump to conclusions," even though we usually consider that a good thing. Why do we jump to the "wrong" conclusions, even after a good analysis? You are referring to a number of well documented biases that affect us in decision making. The most potent is confirmation bias, where a piece of information we have seems to comfortably fit into the "model" we have constructed. This serves to strengthen our conviction that we are on the right solution path (and our assumption that we are indeed smart consultants).

A number of other biases, recency bias (overweighting the last piece of information we received), anchoring (overweighting initial information), and vividness bias (overweighting the most stimulating information) can all lead to assuming we are right when we could be really wrong. The antidote to this is to constantly challenge your working model of how you see a client's situation and to become a student of over confidence.

Tip: Snopes.com lists a number of rumors that many people "know" to be true that just aren't. These persist because they are interesting, amusing or curious - and are either hard to verify or just not worth the effort. Find some of these rumors or urban legends (there are websites with plenty of these as well) you might believe and consider why you believe them. This might refresh your inner skeptic and help you avoid jumping to the wrong conclusion in your next engagement.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  analysis  assumptions  consulting process  diagnosis  interpretation  learning  market research  professional development 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

#637: Is Your Advice (or Timing) Overwhelming Your Client?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I have a client who asks a lot of great questions and wants us to diagnose and recommend in a lot of areas. But, when it comes time to present findings and recommendations, he doesn’t seem to want all we have come up with. Should we trim back our analysis or just find another way to give him all the information he originally asked for?

It is unclear that this is just a question of how much analysis to conduct. Beyond establishing mutual expectations about the scope of engagement, depth of your analysis, and format of the briefing and likely decision making, there is an issue of how much complexity you should impose on your client.

It is the nature of consulting that you will dig deeper into an issue and likely come up with content that is more than the client needs or wants. Don't confuse your roles as researcher and advisor. If you become enamored with all you have learned and try to present this to your client, regardless of how organized your data and clever your presentation, you run a real risk of hampering your client's ability to make sense of, and take effective action from, your work. Your goal is about client decision making, not your analysis.

Tip: Given the volume and complexity of information your client has to process daily (beyond what you are feeding him), your effectiveness starts with understanding how complex a decision space your client wants or needs. A recent New York Times Magazine article Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? makes an excellent case for moderating our own, as well as that of our clients', information for decision making. Another fascinating part of this article is about how decision making is affected by when a decision is to be made. This has important implications for when you schedule your briefings or when you expect your client to make a particularly complex or emotional decision. If you want to make sure your clients get the best you have to offer, this article is worth the time to find out how much and when to present the most effective information.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  communication  decision making  information management 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 19 of 161
 |<   <<   <  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  >   >>   >|