If you’ve been in business for some time, you might have made some mistakes in the past that make you cringe when you recall them. These are my pick of the seven biggest consulting blunders to avoid.
Promise What You Can’t Deliver
Your business needs clients to survive. So it is not unusual for you to go overboard and promise anything to attract or keep a customer.
But this is a huge mistake. If you overpromise and under-deliver, you will lose your customer when you fail to deliver as promised.
So it is better and a lot safer to under-promise and over-deliver. Under-promising allows you to provide something ‘extra’.
This ‘extra’ is something the customer is not expecting. It will help to create goodwill with your customer.
It may also translate to the customer speaking well about you to others. They may refer new customers to you.
Not Knowing the Project Scope
When a customer calls you to make inquiries, he or she is often most interested in your prices. Avoid the temptation to give a quote without knowing the full project scope.
Instead of allowing the customer to lure you straight into discussing price, ask yourself, are you selling value or price?
Focus the customer’s attention on the value that he/she will derive from doing business with you. To get a good knowledge of the project scope, you have to put a system in place.
If possible, let the customer give a detailed written document of the project scope. Don’t give a quote without knowing the project scope.
Arguing With Your Client
As much as possible, avoid arguing with your client. Do as much as you can to accommodate your client’s requests. But don’t compromise any of your principles.
But if at the end of the day the client’s requests prove too much for you to bear, it is better to part ways in peace than arguing. Arguing is not professional.
Using the Wrong Staff or Technology
When you have a good understanding of the project scope, you can now assign resources to the project.
It will also help you know the kind of technology to deploy to make your job easier and the delivery better.
For instance, as a marketing consultant, I have to keep abreast of all the latest tools and technology that are available.
It helps me know which tool would be the right fit for a particular project.
Not Seeking Expert Advice
You might be an expert in your field, but that does not mean that you know everything. So, there’s nothing wrong if you seek the advice of your colleagues or mentors in the business.
It will help you avoid potential pitfalls that you might not have known. It is a good thing to have a crop of friends, colleagues, and mentors that you can turn to for advice.
Taking on The Wrong Client or Project
As mentioned earlier, you need customers to stay in business. But this does not mean that every customer or every project will be the right fit for you.
Have a clear image in mind of the type of customer or project you feel comfortable taking on. Stick close to that image. Don’t take on all clients and all projects or be a jack of all trades.
Focus on a particular niche and specialise — perfect your skills in providing solutions to the needs of your niche market.
Being Arrogant and Overconfident
Avoid being arrogant and overconfident. Portraying confidence in front of your client is essential. This quality will help to make them trust you with their business.
But this does not mean that you should go overboard and become arrogant or overconfident. Doing so will lead to you losing clients.
These are my seven biggest consulting blunders. Whether you are a marketing consultant or not, try to steer clear of making these blunders.
I hope that you’ve found this post of some value. If so, please share it with your friends and colleagues using any of the share buttons on this page.
What about you? What would you say are the most significant blunders that you’ve made? Feel free to comment below and let me know.