As a consulting firm with roughly 60 employees and over 15 years of experience, we’ve come to embrace six ideals within our corporate culture that have really driven our success.
1. Help the potential customer spend their money wisely
While this seems like an obvious goal, it is important to extend this sentence to include “even if the sale is smaller.” While it may be tempting to broaden a project size and increase revenues, it is important to only do this where necessary. You need to help customers to spend their budget wisely and in accordance with their specific business requirements – not your own. If they don’t need something, tell them. If a smaller solution will adequately suit the requirement, propose it. The importance of offering value and trust to clients should be a priority, their needs should supersede your own. This relationship of trust will lead to many mutually beneficial endeavours in years to come.
2.Hire the right people who share your vision
In a consulting practise, the key deliverable is in the people. Unlike a product, a consulting service has various members with differing skill-sets, objectives and personality types. This makes it a complex offering whereby the outcome is not only limited to skills or end-results. The personal interaction, approach, accountability, vision and goals need to be aligned across the team in order to communicate a consistent message to the client. People are a large portion of your competitive differentiation, it is important to leverage those distinctions and identify people with a vision in accordance with your own.
3. You’ve got to be great at data transfer
While a technical expertise is crucial, it is additionally important to be able to transfer the information in a way that others can understand. Put plainly, you need to be good at data transfer. You need to understand their current environment, propose a solution and implement it whereby they understand and can manage certain components on their own. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and empower your clients. While you may be giving away some of your potential revenue by empowering them to be their own first level of support, you will grow a relationship of trust with your client which ties back into point number one. Don’t be afraid to share your skills, you need to be prepared to live in a state of flux and grow dynamically in your field.
4. Consider the elephant in the room
Always, always consider the elephant in the room. This is often the boss of the person you are dealing with, but could also be buy-in from team members or the staff at large. While they may not be in the room physically, they are always present. Employees have instructions, targets and ulterior motives which they will feel need to be met over and above the obvious requirements they or the business may have. Take a moment during each conversation to consider the invisible elephants in the room and adjust accordingly.
5. The broken solution
Although in our practise, no project is the same, often we have a vision of the exact process and how the solution should be deployed. We have found it crucially important to break up the pieces of the project and allow clients to get involved, review and contribute in each phase. We’ve incorporated user-acceptance testing more and more, to encourage end-user opinions, adoption and buy-in. Break up the parts and let them be a part of the solution.
6. It’s a process
Follow a process aligned to best practise. The value behind this concise statement is often best understood when comparing the experience of following it, or not following it. We have proved this to ourselves time and time again and for this reason, every single one of our projects are project managed against a defined process.
Shared via FM Essentials: http://www.fmessentials.com/newsletters/ce/2013/november/articles/immix.html