There’s one word that can make business owners shiver and rush out of a room, unlikely excuses falling off their tongues as they scale walls and cross oceans to get out unscathed. That word is CONSULTANT.
Consultants have bad rap and it’s no wonder. Many consultants will hijack hours of your time, only to deliver a wire-bound, clear covered POTS report and disappear.
POTS refers to ‘plan on top shelf’ because that’s where most organizations put them, pulling them out periodically when they’re needed as paperweights, draft insulators or booster chairs for small children. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
From Consultant to Coach
The idea of simply submitting a strategy to a client with no implementation or follow up is like throwing a ball over the fence and hoping somebody will catch it. It’s a short sighted way to operate for both you and your client.
Once the strategy is written, it’s time for consultants to turn into coaches and help their clients to:
• Arrange the resources
• Implement the plan
• Make it work over the long term
Your client’s strategy should include implementation to begin with, but your involvement goes beyond that. A true consultant should be invested in the success of the plan. And that investment can be expressed a few ways:
1. Performance pricing: Growth Path works with a number of clients on performance-based fees. The more they make, the more we make. Performance pricing not only reduces your client’s risk, it’s also the ultimate expression of confidence in your ability to help your client reach their objectives.
2. Ongoing reviews: One of the ways we add additional value to our clients is providing them with ongoing consultation for as long as they need it – long after the last invoice. A monthly or bi-monthly in-person review allows you to track progress and obstacles, and modify plans to realistic objectives. This leaves us managing the relationship rather than a transaction, bodes well for the life of the strategy, and increases the likelihood of repeat and referral business big time.
3. Complimentary training to various levels in the company and be on call to them whenever they have questions. Anything you can do to make it easier for your client to implement their strategy will be highly-appreciated by your client. The idea of ‘nesting’ within an organization (building relationships throughout the organization) will strengthen your overall relationship with your client and introduce you to additional business development opportunities.
Demonstrating your commitment to your clients’ success by performance pricing, ongoing status reviews and training may seem like a lot of time, but the chance of those clients eventually retaining you doubles. It takes just a few conversions for you to see the logic of being a better consultant. That’s the bottom line – better than the top shelf.