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July 2, 2008

Always be welcoming...

Picture a restaurant, you are met by someone who is smiling, and they take a lot of pride in doing the task of leading you to a table. The waiters are polite, attentive, and take care to make sure they order exactly what you have asked for. They check up afterwards to make sure you are satisfied with your dining experience, and they don’t lose attention once your food has been delivered.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

This is how I see consulting. We tend to get lost in the melee of the daily grind, contractual wrangles, and the rigors of too much travel and not enough resources to do the work.

We sometimes overlook that consulting is a service industry. And then we wonder where the repeat work from the engagement went, or why the client relationship is faltering, or why you feel too much like an outsider.

Service stems partly from what we deliver, and partly from how we deliver it.

  • Smile when you see people, be gracious, and polite.
  • Try to be deferential when it is suitable, and humility always comes in handy.
  • Treat people like people not revenue targets
  • Remember the small things. A clients birthday or anniversary, don’t get too familiar though…service isn’t stalking!
  • Go the extra mile. I don’t mean scope creep (which I am firmly against) but small additional extras.
  • When you speak with a prospect always leave something behind of value. A book, a specialty report, or a related article. Nothing promotional. Make sure it is something they could and would use.
  • When they want a document give them something they could frame; if they want a course spend time developing additional and fantastic handouts and guides, and if they ask for a speech on anything – then deliver the greatest most inspiring oratory you can muster - every single time.

Remember always – they are paying the bills! So regardless of the relationship you have built up; this is never a relationship of equals. They are the clients; you are the service provider – so provide good service in everything that you do.

When people join the Consulting Pulse group on LinkedIn, and if they send me an email, I always try to be welcoming to them from the very beginning.

First impressions last – so when the first touch-point happens, make it memorable, and always, always, greet people with a smile!

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