Staying Ahead Of the Curve

One of the biggest fears that plagues consultants, especially those on monthly retainer work, is not knowing when their engagement will end.

You work hard to produce results for your clients and continually push yourself to make an impact on them. Always with the goal of satisfying them beyond expectations so that they’ll cut you the next check.

When you have this concern how should you go about dealing with it? And is there anything you can do to stop it?

Be Prepared
As long as your client sees that you are working hard and that you are on your way to achieving the results they want, your contract should continue. But that’s not always the case.

There are many other factors, such as your client’s state of business, their financial situation, and a whole host of other issues that can fill up your client’s mental capacity – some even, that may not make any logical sense.

It’s pretty clear that this part of the battle you can’t do much to control.

But there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to always be prepared by lining up your next consulting project. Be sure to have at least 2-3 projects going on at one time, or a list of potential clients that you can turn to if you need to get more work going.

This is critical and should be done regardless of how healthy you feel the project’s life is. Always have a plan B. And sometimes it even makes sense to have a plan C too!

Client Relationships
The other approach you can take is to bond with your client. What I mean by this is that you should take steps to create such a strong relationship with your client that they will have a hard time ‘getting rid’ of you.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you suck up to your client like a high-school student trying to win his teacher’s favour. No, what I’m suggesting is establishing a genuine relationship with your client so you become friends and a trusted advisor.

Of course, once your job is done – when you’ve achieved the results you set out to and there’s nothing left to do – it’s time to get out and let your client continue to prosper rather than being a leech on their business’ growth.

So how do you build that relationship? One way is by showing your continual appreciation to your client. You can do this by doing something that no other service provider does. And by standing out and making an impact.

Take sending a gift when no one else would fathom it. I’ll send a fruit basket, a box of international chocolates, or a BBQ package in the summer for my clients and their families to enjoy.

You don’t have to wait until New Years or other such an occasion rolls around to say ‘thank you’ to your client. Show them that you’re always thinking of them and they’ll repay that by appreciating you and the work you do too.

Before I end this post, let me share one other way of bonding with your clients that works like a charm.

Always be scanning newspapers and online articles for any information that your client might find interesting. Cut it out, scan it, copy and paste it and send it to your client.

This not only shows that you’re staying on top of the industry, news, etc and that you’re in-the-know, more importantly it is greatly appreciated by your client.

The list of ways to bond with your client could go on and on, but you get the idea, right? If you’ve found another way to bond with your clients I’d love to hear about it.

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