Secret 4 offer a guarantee

Most consultants get convulsive at the thought of offering clients any kind of guarantee. Consultants are notoriously conservative because they fear that uncontrollable elements such as client executive turnover, a client's surprise merger with another company, or even bad weather might derail their best-laid plans for a project. The possibility of financial ruin causes even the most confident consultants to avoid guarantees.

The guerrilla understands this dynamic and uses it to competitive advantage by offering an up-front guarantee of client satisfaction. When all other things are equal, a guarantee will send consulting work your way. A guarantee also motivates consultants and clients to nail down objectives and responsibilities at the outset of a project so that everyone understands what must occur for the client to be satisfied and the consultant to be paid.

A guarantee should be a two-way street. If a consultant is willing to waive fees or provide other considerations if the client is dissatisfied, the client should be willing to increase the fee if the consultant's work exceeds expectations. For a guarantee to work optimally, both client and consultant must have a stake in the game.

Precedents exist for consulting guarantees. In the 1990s, one firm, eager to be the first to tackle client perceptions of runaway consulting

Guerrilla Tactic: Guaranteed to Work

Consider this: Among the top criteria that clients use to choose service providers is their guarantee to deliver as promised. In consulting, there is an implied guarantee that certain results will be attained. On many projects, clients hold back part of the consultant's fee until the project is completed successfully. So in effect, clients create a guarantee that they will get what they pay for.

fees, guaranteed to complete projects on a fixed schedule and for a fixed fee. The firm subsequently became the favored consultant for many projects, improved its competitive position overnight, and forced others to address the issues of risk and results.

Let's face it—no one can control all the variables in a project, so consulting is a risky business, with or without on-the-record promises. An up-front guarantee cuts through empty marketing claims and acknowledges your willingness to share some of the risk. This willingness makes you the client's partner; it turns the project into a true collaboration with joint risk.

A guarantee can put you at the top of the client's list for consulting projects and, in reality, doesn't significantly increase your financial risk. And, as a bonus, you are entitled to ask for additional fees if the results exceed expectations.

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