The topic was to identify how we select / screen prospective clients?
Discussion topic framed around the book ‘Flawless Consulting’ by Peter Block.
A good summary of the book is provided in the following link:
-A lot of the success of a consulting arrangement arises from the terms negotiated in the first meeting. While it is a service arrangement consultants have needs also and must make sure these are taken care of as part of the agreement.
-Accepting terms that you don’t like just to win the project isn’t always a good idea ie winning jobs at any cost is generally not a productive strategy for developing a business
-Three approaches identified for a working relationship with a client:
-pair of hands (someone who will do anything to make the client happy)
-expert (lectures the client on the right way to do the project)
-collaboration (information exchanges between client and consultants to develop the best strategy)
-Vital to have an ‘authentic’ relationship with the client
-Getting consultants / clients to lay themselves open and say what they are looking for from the relationship upfront
-Consultants can say / do things in organizations that internal client members can’t.
-Building client profiles (who do you want to work with / who clicks with how you want to work)
-screening through contracting
-Contracts are often too vague. Lay out in the contract actually what your terms and requirements are.
-lay out what you need from the client
-lay out what you are providing
-Tolerating mistakes burns goodwill. Earning goodwill takes time
-Confidence and seniority of the client team effects how honest you can be with them
-middle managers just want to hear yes
-senior leaders often have the confidence to hear some negative news and still move forward
Expertise vs Facilitating
-Debate between junior members of office who want to be experts and tell clients what to do vs senior members who see themselves as facilitators helping clients reach a decision.
-Rules of engagement
Challenges of honesty
-How do you tell a client that their project / organization has fundamental flaws and is never going to be beautiful whatever you do to it.