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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

5 Insights From Navigating Client Dynamics And Delivering Consulting Projects

Unlock Success Using Influence, Engagement, And Estimation


I recently wrote nine case studies from my consulting projects. This made me reflect on 3 things:

  • What went well?

  • How do we tell work stories?

  • What could have gone better?


In this post, I share “What could have gone better”.


I'll share 5 insights I learned from managing client projects as an independent consultant.


I spent 52 minutes writing this post.

Consultant thinking about his clients, consultants, and case studies.
Consultant thinking about his clients, consultants, and case studies.

Related:


1 - Estimate Project Impact

When I consult clients, I prioritize understanding customer needs. I recommend changes to marketing or products to make a big impact. Yet, sometimes even with all my research and recommendations, I found it hard to get clients to make those changes.


When I wrote case studies, I estimated the potential impact of my recommendations.


In the past, I didn't tell clients how much of a difference my recommendation could make to their bottom line. I thought they would understand because I shared my working process with them. But I was wrong.


I learned that I should spend extra time outside of my paid consulting hours estimating the impact. These estimates will help me convince my clients.


For example, I had difficultly convincing a SaaS client to an API to categorize their product usage. They didn't think it would work. They were skeptical about the data quality and thought we would not get actionable insights from this analysis. I did estimations when writing my case study. I realized my research grouped 26,000 different product use cases into 30 categories. This grouping made it feasible for us to address the long tail of customer needs.


2 - Tell A Story To Persuade

Good recommendations alone are not enough. I learned that I must tell a story about why my recommendations matter. I must guide them through my process, showing them why they should follow my recommendations.


For example, I coached a B2B client on the techniques, templates, and value of talking to customers. I encouraged them to talk to customers to gather testimonials and case studies. I thought they were ready to act. But, when I followed up, they forgot why it was important.


I learned I should present a compelling narrative about my recommendation to persuade clients to take action. I wrote 9 Persuasion And Influence Tips here.


3 - Need To Manage Stakeholders

Stakeholder management is crucial, regardless of the company's size. It doesn't matter if a company has 10 or 1,000 employees. Responsibilities are split. There are always different people in charge of different things. The person I work with may decide which consultant to hire. But they may not have control over the engineering roadmap or the marketing decisions.


For example, I recommended a new feature for a SaaS product to improve retention. But, my sponsor within the company did not control the product roadmap. So, I had to make sure they had everything they needed to convince the right person. My goal was to help them persuade the owner of the product roadmap to include this feature.


4 - Make Sharable Recommendations

At first, I gave clients my ideas in writing. However, clients often reading my recommendations overwhelming. So, I started talking to them directly, face-to-face (online).


I also tried using visuals and short videos to make things clearer. But, my videos were too long. I learned they should be quick, just 2 to 3 minutes, not 10.


5 - Invest Your Time For Outcomes

I used to only work the amount of time (plus 10-20%) clients paid for. But then I realized I should instead work extra hours to deliver higher-quality results. Doing this could lead to better results and more work later. It would also help me write a more substantial case study to engage new clients.


For instance, for an insurance company, I made landing pages in Unbounce and Google Ad campaigns even before talking about money.


Related:


More Learnings In Business Development

I am learning about the business development side of consulting now. I’ll share what I learn in a future post.


What have you learned over your last year at work?


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