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 

#692: Make the Case for Raising Your Rates

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
With downward pressure on prices in general, and consultant rates in particular, how likely is it that I will be able to raise my rates anytime soon?

Although overall economic strength or weakness may mean overall prices "should" increase or decrease, this has little to do with rates clients will pay for your consulting services. In theory, skills in short supply compel people needing them to pay higher prices. In theory. But that is only part of the story.

When the economy changes, the types of services in demand also change. Don't confuse supply with demand. Just because there aren't many other consultants doing what you do doesn't mean that the demand remains high. Sometimes the demand declines along with supply.

Increasing your rates requires you to make the case to prospects and clients that your services will make them and their business more productive. When the economy slows, there are needs for new or different types of services. Your credibility to provide those services is your validation of your greater value.

Tip: Talk to your clients about specifically what has changed in their short term needs. Look at the trade press for points of pain for companies in your area of specialization. For example, for companies with tightened credit or decreased cash flows, how can you recast your services to alleviate these challenges? For example, if your area of specialty is training, often a discretionary expenditure for companies, recast your training to show how your training will increase employees' abilities to sell more products and increase cash flow. Show the direct link between increasing cash flow to increase profitability in the emerging economy and your ability to increase employee productivity through usable skills. Be fully prepared for any argument that your services are worth less because "the economy is slow."

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  fees  intellectual property  market research  marketing  proposals  reputation 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#684: How Has Consultant Compensation Changed in the Recession?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, October 27, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011
A lot of consultant left the profession, even large firms trimmed staff, and rates took a significant hit during the recent economic downturn. What are the prospects for rates returning to former levels any time soon?

Remember that consulting lags the general market by about six months. However, this economy is not a typical recession; it is a credit crisis, with a significantly different profile. However, it does appear that consulting employment and fees are strengthening. Large consulting firms are hiring again in response to deferred work at their longer term clients. Also, many of those consultants laid off during the downturn are either being rehired or starting their own firms.

Logic might indicate that consulting fees would remain low with growing supply of consultants and still soft financial health of business in the US and Europe. Top-Consultant, in its Salary Benchmarking Report 2011/12, reports that compensation in 2011 is still lower than in 2009 for most people in most consulting specialties. However, this is in part due to hiring of many junior consultants who are more than offsetting departure of senior employees. In Australia, Europe and the US, the number of consultants receiving no pay raise in 2011 was about 45% and for those who did receive a raise, it was about 6%. (The data vary by specialty, geography, and seniority so see the report for greater insight).

Tip: We are not out of the downturn yet. Although strategy and business transformation specialties command the highest compensation, one conclusion is interesting. Compensation for the highest performers, particularly from bonuses, is strong. For those who are at the bottom of the performance scale, raises and bonuses remain either missing or small.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  competition  consulting  fees  trends 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#671: Is Now the Time to Increase My Rates?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, October 10, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 10, 2011
With downward pressure on prices in general, and consultant rates in particular, how likely is it that I will be able to raise my rates anytime soon?

Although overall economic strength or weakness may mean overall prices "should" increase or decrease, this has little to do with rates clients will pay for your consulting services. In theory, skills in short supply compel people needing them to pay higher prices. In theory. But that is only part of the story.

When the economy changes, the types of services in demand also change. Don't confuse supply with demand. Just because there aren't many other consultants doing what you do doesn't mean that the demand remains high. Sometimes the demand declines along with supply.

Increasing your rates requires you to make the case to prospects and clients that your services will make them and their business more productive. When the economy slows, there are needs for new or different types of services. Your credibility to provide those services is validation of your greater value.

Tip: Talk to your clients about specifically what has changed in their short term needs. Look at the trade press for points of pain for companies in your area of specialization. For example, for companies with tightened credit or decreased cash flows, how can you recast your services to alleviate these challenges? For example, if your area of specialty is training, often a discretionary expenditure for companies, recast your training to show how your training will increase employees abilities to sell more products and increased cash flow. Show the direct link between increasing cash flow to increase profitability in the emerging economy and your ability to increase employee productivity through usable skills. Be fully prepared for any argument that your services are worth less because "the economy is slow."

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  customer understanding  fees  market research  trends 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#654: Alternative Ways to Pay Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, September 15, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Companies are being squeezed for cash like no other time in our lives. Even though, in theory, they really need consulting services more than ever, how are they, practically, going to pay for them? Can I be proactive to suggest alternative compensation strategies?

We are hearing from a lot of clients that are hitting the wall with all but essential expenditures. As much as we like to think of our consulting services as an investment rather than an expense, and an investment in efficiency and effectiveness, sometimes there is just no getting past the fact that your fees are a check that has to be written. Many clients will increasingly find it hard to pay your fees unless you can help make the case (usually in a new way) that your services are high priority.

Occasionally mentioned but never getting much traction in the past, pay for performance seems to be making a comeback. This is partly because clients want to make sure any investment (including you) is worth the cost, but also because clients are looking for more accountability from consultants. Satisfied with results of other pay for performance or gainsharing agreements for other professional services, executives are exercising their fiduciary responsibilities by asking consultants to assume some of the risk of investing in their intangible services.

What does this mean for you? Maybe nothing, or at least until your client asks you to discuss pay for performance instead of a daily rate or project fee. However, it makes sense to be prepared. Talk to your colleagues in IMC or in your industry about their recent experiences in structure of compensation.

Tip: Be prepared with data and an approach that works for you when the subject arises with a client or prospect. Work out in advance what kind of structure makes sense for you. Recognize that you should only be assuming risk for those portions of the project over which you have control. If you are making recommendations but have no control over implementation, how much risk should you assume? Conversely, this option for risk/reward trade off may be a powerful incentive for the client to involve you more deeply in implementation and management of your recommendations. If this is what you want, build that into your proposed compensation model.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  creativity  fees  innovation  proposals 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

#611: The Complexity of Your Services May Not Add Value

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, July 18, 2011
Updated: Monday, July 18, 2011
My question is about fees for value delivered. My consulting firm has built technical capabilities over nearly 30 years and offers some of the most sophisticated expertise and tools around. However, we get price resistance even from customers who stand to increase profits significantly from our services. Why shouldn't we be paid proportionally?

Fees are always an emotional issue, especially when they are compensation for something created with one's own time and effort. We tend to place a high value on intellectual property we created and all the more so when it is unique or highly complex. Yet, uniqueness and complexity may or may not be worth much in the marketplace.

Buyers may equate uniqueness with lack of peer credibility, thorough testing or market acceptance. Complexity may signify excess risk or over engineering. Consider how comfortable most people are with "tried and true." Only in a market where there are a lot of undifferentiated substitutes and the commonly available product fails to provide value will "unique and complex" demand a fee premium.

You may be selling complexity but the client is buying something else. Define what that is and you will be able to raise your fees. Is complexity tied to application flexibility, fault tolerance, or failure resistance? These are the kind of features you may be able to translate directly into value added for a client.

Tip: Also consider whether what you consider as "complexity" is really all that complex. One person's "complex" is another's "simple." How would you determine fees based just on a subjective assessment of complexity? For example, consider the instrument cluster complexity of an aircraft cockpit. To many, the dozen or so instruments of a typical small plane are "complex," but not so when compared to the instruments of the Space Shuttle.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  fees  intellectual property  your consulting practice 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 5
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5