In our previous blogs, we introduced the idea that Client Management does not “just happen”…it must be deliberate and proactive in order to be effective. And while there are many key roles needed for success of a PS business, there is an overarching role that is important for every consulting professional: your role as a guide. This role is more of a mindset, and we often find it is helpful and valuable to think of PS as a guide to communicate to others why Client Management skills are necessary and how they get applied in the real world.
As a reminder, the best and most impactful guides all have the same commonalities. They:
- Build Rapport
- Provide Vision
- Embrace Problems
- Grow Accounts (i.e., expand relationships)
A successful guide must Embrace Problems rather than whine about them or make them someone else’s to deal with even if they are caused by someone else. And when caused by us, naturally it is important to take client feedback to heart. Some actions to embrace problems include:
- Bringing a positive attitude to each problem
- Leveraging creative members of your team to assist in creating solution alternatives
- Burning the midnight oil solving problems—no matter who caused them
- Identifying chronic problems caused by the client and bringing them up in your “looking down the road” role with the account
- Treating all feedback about your team and yourself as important and meaningful; You never know…they might be right
A successful guide must also Grow Accounts. After all, the best guides are those that successfully complete the current journey but also identify and create the desire for more. PS is no different. It is also one of the biggest challenges because most PS folks are uncomfortable “selling” or have no desire to do so – i.e., “I am not a sales rep”. Hence, this is typically one of the largest development gaps that needs to be filled. Some actions to take to grow accounts include:
- Identifying ideas for up-sell, cross-sell, and pull-through opportunities
- Relating ideas to client business issues
- Developing champions and building momentum for those ideas
- Coordinating resources for proposals and sales activities
- Determining who the buyers are for the ideas
In summary, possessing the “Guide” mindset provides the foundation for what it is like to be a “consultant” and can serve as a reminder to the important but oftentimes difficult and misunderstood role PS professionals play to provide the outcomes and deliver on the promise(s) made to clients.
Written by: Mark Slotnik
About the Author:
Mark Slotnik has spent nearly 20+ years advising clients in the areas of designing and taking to market high-value business solutions, solution portfolio management, talent development, resource management, business process re-engineering and commercial software.