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May 30, 2008

100 tips for Success in Consulting #8

Do not use models to sell consulting. Period!

I hate models. I really do. As a consultant with a number of clients, I get at least a dozen of these things thrust under my nose every month. Normally they are from graduates, tasked by their management to solve some issue or other.

Always it is the same; multitudes of boxes and arrows, flows and counter-flows, validation and (of course) governance cycles. Bah!

Models are great for graduates, not a useful tool for driving multi million dollar deals, of for changing the course of a corporate battle ship.

Point number one, the client has dozens of models and frameworks. Point two; there are also a great number of them floating around the internet. Therefore, if you are going to blow into a prospects office with your model of how the world should work then you have set up a competitive dynamic.

E.g. before he/she can give you work, they have to be convinced that your model is better than their model.

Error #1 – Why would a client want to have their operations marked against your model instead of an industry accepted standard?

Error #2 – Why would a client want to drop everything and take on what you are offering instead of the models they have been working on for a year or more. Should they be so willing to accept they are stupid?

A counter strategy is to tell them what you can do, show them the references, explain why your firm is the thought leader, and if you need to – then explain how you fit in with accepted industry models throughout the globe.

If you must satisfy your ego and show a model of how great your thinking is, then use it to define internal consultancy processes – not what you are intending to inflict on them.

Successful use of models means that you must develop these with the client, or merely adapt what you deliver to what the client already sees as the best practice in this area.

Summary point: Your model makes sales and client relationships more difficult; not easier!

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