Want your customers to value your work and keep coming back for more? Here are secrets to being a successful consultant:
Their business is your business
Understanding your customer’s business is Job 1 for any consultant. During the interview and proposal stages, ask a lot of questions to get a picture, not only the architecture of their data, but the organization of their business. Who are the decision makers? What is their expertise? How are their corporate goals defined and how often are they re-evaluated?
Let them choose for themselves
While you may think you know exactly what will solve their problems, present them with choices. Offer a range of options and then go over the pros and cons of each. After all, it’s their business and it’s up to them to choose where they want to invest their resources. But in the meantime, provide them with enough detail to make informed decisions. For each option you present, review the costs of implementation, the degrees of risk and reward, and how they fulfill the company’s business strategies and tactics.
See beyond black and white
Successful businesses are able to recognize the countless shades of grey in the business world —and develop strategies to exploit them. Every business is unique and therefore every solution will be unique as well. There are no system-wide cookie-cutter solutions and if your client senses that you’re offering them one, you could lose them quickly.
What happens in Vegas
To establish trust with your clients, you have to be able to keep and maintain confidences. Go ahead and quote broad industry trends and benchmarking statistics but don’t disclose confidential business information to anyone outside of the company. If it’s appropriate, sign a Confidentiality Agreement just to make it official. Your clients need to be able to trust you implicitly.
First things first
Put your customers’ interests ahead of your own. It’s your job, after all, to take care of them and it’s how you develop long-term relationships that benefit both parties. If you’ve developed a large professional network, you can probably bring more value to your customer. You knows their needs and you do your best to help satisfy them.
Believe it or not, as a consultant, you are in the customer service business. As such, it can raise your game if you consider your clients to be ‘customers’ instead of ‘clients.’ The shift in perspective reminds you of perhaps the most important aspect of your job: serving the needs of others.
We have started to work with a lot of consultants and developed a few tools in ClicData to help them in their daily work, you can check a few of those right here.