Impress, Listen & Ask Questions!
By Crystal Koh
I highly recommend everyone to read Chapter 7 of the book “Consulting for Dummies”. It provides a good summary about things to take note of before working on a consultancy report. Here’s a quote from the book that explains the processes of a consultancy report.
Every business process has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The consulting process is no different. It begins with defining the problem, moves through the stages of collecting and analyzing data and making recommendations, and then ends with implementation. Because the first step — defining the problem — sets the stage for all the other steps that follow, it is particularly critical.
As we all know, first impressions count. Though not essential to meet face-to-face with a client, it is still highly recommended. It is like setting yourself up for a blind-date. Just take a moment and imagine this:
- You are a 50-year-old male/female in hope of looking for a companion
- You head onto an online dating site
- Found someone interesting
- Emailed, chatted online and after a few emails, you decided that it is time to arrange a face-to-face date
Placed in such a situation, would you back off in fear of being rejected? Or would you rather meet face-to face to see for yourself how “real” this person is, with also the intention of impressing him/her, and hopefully to be impressed?
Now, back to the real topic. Before meeting a client, it is important to dress appropriately and it is also important to be able to portray yourself as a confident individual. Remember that it is also your clients’ first time meeting you and he too would want to give you the best impression, in hope of helpping him solve whatever issue that is affecting his company. Hence, first try to make small talk, get to know your client a little and
Assess your client’s personality type and adjust your style accordingly. If your client has an assertive, take-charge style, you want to get to the business at hand sooner than if the client is more social and personable. With the latter style, the client may need to be comfortable with you personally before he can devote full attention to your abilities.
On the other hand, try not to get too comfortable with your client as you may either head off track with the “real” business discussion, and you may appear to be “trying too hard”/ deperate for his job offer. Remember that it is not all aboout you, but it is about the business problem that the client has?
Listen carefully to the needs of your client and never be afraid to ask questions, as this would make your client feel important and hence provides him with the sense of assurance that the task will be done. Time management and efficient communication with your client is essential!
Besides impressing, listening and asking questions, are thare any other essensential points that might help client and consultant to work efficiently together?
From the view of a client:
Bob N and Economy P. 2008. Consulting for Dummies, 2nd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc. (Part 3: The Short Course in Consulting.) http://catalogue.library.uwa.edu.au/search/?searchscope=1&searchtype=t&search arg=consulting+for+dummies&searchscope=1
Toos, Andrew. ( n.d). It’s important that I see eye-to-eye with any consultants we bring in [image]. Retrieved April 7th, 2011 from http://www.cartoonstock.com/cartoonview.asp?start=1&search=main&catref=aton278&MA_Artist=&MA_Category=&ANDkeyword=management+consultancy&ORkeyword=&TITLEkeyword=&NEGATIVEkeyword=.