needs will be the same from the first contact through the
final presentation. Nothing shows a client they’re important as much as getting back to them promptly.
Always keep in mind this is a human business. Clients prefer working with people they get along with and
communicate with easily. The last thing an executive
wants is to go home feeling angry or stressed out because of his consultant.
Willingness to Push Back
Most clients want you to act like a peer, not a vendor. Even clients who seem to want you to be subordinate appreciate your pushing back a bit if it makes them
think and look better.
Just don’t make pushing back your most prominent
attribute. Ultimately, clients want results, not more frustration. If you spend all your time arguing with them,
they’re going to give you the boot and find someone
who will just get the job done.
Often there are criteria that are unique to the client’s
particular project. Perhaps it’s experience with a particular piece of equipment, or the need to have people on
site, or a requirement that results be written in Swahili. For the most part, those criteria aren’t the difference
between whether you or another consultant is chosen.
Rather, they determine whether you’re even considered.
If you meet the project requirements you’re in the consideration set. If you don’t, you’re not.
But What About Your Unparalleled Approach?
You’re justifiably proud of your innovative, unique,
better-than-chocolate approach, right? After all, you’ve
spent years perfecting it, and it’s what separates you
from all other consultants. Well, I’ve got news for you:
Differentiation doesn’t matter in consulting.
Make no mistake: your approach to delivering the client’s outcome is pertinent. It will have a major bearing
on whether he chooses you or chooses another consultant or whether he just sticks with his internal staff. But
clients aren’t looking for an approach that’s different.
They’re looking for one that works.
Think of toothpaste. Toothpaste tubes were invented
forever ago. Since then, manufacturers have invented
squeeze bottles, pumps, sprays, drops, pills you put on
your toothbrush and pretty much everything else. But
what do you have in your bathroom at home? A toothpaste tube. It’s easy to see how the tube works and it
gets the job done. That’s what your clients want: simple,
easy and obvious. They want toothpaste tubes.
Trust. Got It. Now What?
By now, you know Yuri Yusimi will choose the consultant he trusts most; the one he believes is most likely
to put him front and center; the one who will deliver the
outcome he wants without hurting him along the way.
And I’ve told you that the marrow of building trust is
discovery—listening carefully, actively, and with intent,
then showing you understand your prospect deeply. To
accomplish that goal effectively, irresistible consultants
rely on the Context Discussion. As you’re about to see,
it’s the centerpiece of building trust and, ultimately, becoming the obvious choice.