Client retention is tricky.
If you don’t watch yourself, you current client can quickly turn into an ex. I’m not talking about major missteps like you making out in the office. Most could agree it wouldn’t be surprising if your client decided to make a change if you did that on their campus.
As it turns out, there are some lesser degrees of weird that can still send your client retention rate plummeting to its death.
You know what’s weird?
Telling a client you know something better than them about the job they’ve been doing for twenty years.
You know what else is weird?
Expecting someone to take your recommendations as a management consultant and run with them when you haven’t involved them throughout the process to arrive to the recommendations.
Let’s discuss these two things for a minute.
First, let me say you’ll be hard-pressed to find a scenario where you can’t learn something from your client that helps you produce a better product. Aside from that, you come off as an arrogant consultant when you come into a conversation acting like you have all the answers. I mentioned this before in the context of selling, but it applies to any client interaction you might have.
Imagine there’s an 8-week project where you need to come up with a prioritized list of recommendations on where your client should focus their resources to improve the CFO function’s cost efficiency.
In option 1, you have a couple of conversations and then churn on your slides in a backroom somewhere. You emerge once you finish and hope for the best when you present the result.
In option 2, you engage your client counterpart along the way, jointly discussing observations and potential benefits to be gained.
Which of those options do you think is more likely to keep your glorious presentation from going where other consulting recommendations go to die?
The answer is option 2.
Why? Because in that scenario your client has a genuine vested interest in seeing the project through to the end. Your multiple touchpoints provide the opportunity to make your client an evangelist for your mutual cause.
Having a client counterpart is critical to your success because when they spread the word about the future potential of your project, it carries more weight with their colleagues because, let’s face it, some people still view management consultants as either a) unwanted guests looking to eliminate their jobs or b) glorified watchdogs with the sole objective of making them look bad.
Next time you’re trying to prove your value to a client, consider taking this inception approach instead. They’ll stick around much longer.
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