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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #26: November, 2005

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC
  • To accelerate a buying decision, provide options; always have a firm next step in place; confront the buyer if all else fails. The longer you wait, the more bad things can happen to you.
  • Some people are obstacles. You owe it to the buyer to point that out and suggest they be removed. You're not there to "save" everyone, but to meet your client's objectives.
  • If the buyer asks you to work with a subordinate, do so, but first insist on a debrief or follow-up date with the buyer. NEVER surrender that relationship.
  • Maintain perspective: If a client is late by two weeks with a $50,000 check and you've already received an initial $50,000, simply politely inquire about the delay. If a client hasn't paid your deposit, and you've been working for a week, stop working until you have absolute assurance of payment of the actual check.
  • Never ask yourself how you will DO something; ask yourself HOW YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH THE RESULT. That simple difference will significantly decrease labor intensity, because you won't be so focused on tasks. In many cases, the result is achieved through minor or even non-intervention. (Sometimes by advising the client to simply stop doing something, the problem disappears.)
  • I've never seen a "needs analysis" which substantially increased a project scope or fee more than s simple discussion would have, and I've never seen a FREE needs analysis that was justified in any circumstance.
  • Before you agree to the next report you'll write, ask yourself whether it's needed for the client's well being, or is just another deliverable you throw in to justify yourself. I'm not familiar with any clients who march around holding a report and urging subordinates to read the golden words.
  • Validating a current condition, cause, or concern so that the client can act with assurance instead of supposition is as valuable in many cases as resolving it.
  • If you're not sure about how to establish worth, ask the buyer: "What would be the difference in your situation in six months if this project were successful, and if you did nothing?"
  • Keep a spreadsheet of every single contact you have (or use a more sophisticated piece of software if you must) and ensure that you are contacting every individual by phone, fax, email, or letter every quarter. Merely establishing "presence" can produce work and referrals.
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