Secret 10 put clients second

It is axiomatic that the consultant puts the client's needs first, right? Consultants' promotional material, Web sites, and mission statements certainly proclaim that clients are the highest priority. But the guerrilla way to achieve consistently profitable results is to put consultants first and clients second.

Whether your practice has two consultants or two hundred, their talents and skills are more critical to your long-term success than your roster of clients. It is, after all, great consultants who drive the profitability of your practice.

Consultants must be responsive to their clients' needs, even to the point of working long, crazy hours. Realistically, though, good consultants are tougher to replace than clients.

If you lose a client, it may produce an immediate financial impact. If you lose a great consultant, you lose a lot more than money. You lose a portion of your ability to sell and deliver projects, you lose your investment in training, and you lose the client relationships that the consultant built. And don't forget the high cost of recruiting and breaking in a new consultant.

What is worse, a departing consultant can create a cascade effect that causes others to leave the firm, compounding your losses. Or your ex-colleague can become your competitor, and poach your secrets, clients, and staff.

Turnover is an inevitable part of the consulting business. Minimize the brain drain and take the sting out of a very demanding business by providing a collegial and supportive work environment, offering challenging opportunities and paying consultants what they are worth. Make sure consultants know that they come first in the practice and they, in turn, will make sure clients are their first priority.

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