Guerrilla Intelligence The Relationship Challenge

Consultants must remain objective to be effective, which requires that they keep a certain professional distance from clients. On the other hand, they have to get close enough to clients to become known and trusted. How do you do that? Tfell the truth to your clients, even when it's unwelcome. That will earn you "objectivity points," which are better than style points or brownie points from the consultant's point of view.

Obviously, you want to sell clients more work. You know that and so do they. But telling them the truth about what they need always takes precedence over selling more work.

Always act in the best interests of the people in your clients' organizations, even if their actions seem to conflict with your short-term interests. Some consultants, to make more money, will push for work that is not in their clients' interests by suggesting a more complex and costly solution to a problem than necessary. Such actions are shortsighted and eventually will come back to haunt you. Sooner or later, they will tarnish your reputation with the client, and you'll be gone.

Every member of your client's organization is your client. Every interaction is a chance to influence each person's network by creating an advocate for you and your firm. Never underestimate how far an impression can travel, especially in the Internet age. Keep in mind that the staff member you speak with today could be the CEO tomorrow. People often change companies and even careers, so all relationships are important.

► Rule 4: Draw Yourself a Diagram

For every client organization, develop the influence map mentioned in Chapter 3 to help you quickly figure out who's who and who might need your help. Plan how you will meet the key executives in the client's organization. Determine if they are buyers of consulting services and if they will be your advocates, maintain neutrality, or be adverse to you.

Continually seek new relationships within the client's organization. Know about the industry players, your clients' competitors, and all those who influence the business. Regularly assess your relationships and target individuals who are important in reaching your goals.

If you find that 80 percent of a client's buyers don't like your firm, save your resources and put your efforts into getting business from other clients.

► Rule 5: Invest in Strategic Clients

All client relationships have potential value, but some clients have more strategic importance to your practice than others. And strategic clients warrant special investments.

Take a lesson from the airline industry's marketing. Airlines have frequent-flier programs to provide additional services to valued customers on the basis of the miles they fly or money they spend. In exchange for their repeat business, frequent fliers receive preferential seating, expedited check-in, upgrades, advance notice of special fares and packages, lounge use, and other bonuses. The airlines have

0 0

Post a comment