Sage Advice from Corporate Buyers of Consulting Services

::  Recently I had the opportunity to make a presentation to a small group of consultants; a couple of them worked for Chevron-Texaco. They had just completed a screening process for a multi-million consulting project.  In brief…here’s what they shared:

1.  First consultants eliminated were ME CENTERED…they dominated the conversation, told all about their processes, products, past clients.  It was all about them. They asked few questions.

2)  Second set of consultants eliminated were CONTENT or FACT CENTERED…they knew everything about everything. They quoted all of the latest management books, they were able to quote facts from all of the top surveys and analysis, they had a quote, a fact and the references to back up everything they said. They were undoubtedly very knowledgeable…but without a doubt, they were not going to work with this client.

3) Third set of consulting firms eliminated were PRODUCT CENTERED…these firms offered their product solutions long before they understood the underlying problems. My friend indicated that these firms were outstanding at demoing their products and espousing the features of the products…but nobody cared. These firms took no time to understand the real underlying issues.

4) At this time, the two firms being considered were CLIENT ORIENTED…they took time to fully interview the prospective client and understand the underlying issues. They asked tons of questions…finally my friend asked them if they thought they had a solution to the problem. I think they then asked another question (just joking).

Take time to get to know your prospects…and, “just about the time you think you are ready to offer a solution, ask another question!”  

As my friend was wrapping up, I told him I frequently say to prospects that The One Page Business Plan is not for every organization (which is the truth.) He said, when you come to present OPBP at Chevron, (which he has invited me to do) make that your first statement. He said the executives will then listen to the rest of what you have to say.

Excerpted from The One Page Business Plan for Professional Consultants book – Hear more about this approach at the upcoming WIC General Meeting on January 18th.

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