I have some outstanding long term clients. Clients who I would also consider good friends given the amount of time I have spent with them and the deep respect they have provided me with right from the start of our consulting journey.
As you continue to work with clients over the years, it becomes less about the sizzle of the consulting you do and more about the substance and outcomes you provide. That is, your track record to deliver results outweighs the buzz, weasel words or fluffy concepts that may get you initially in the door.
Given this, why do we perhaps look to take on new clients rather than work hard with existing ones to deliver additional value as consultants? Is it harder work for your long term clients to continue to see your value, is it harder to continue to deliver outstanding outcomes session after session? Or do we become comfortable with each other perhaps taking each other for granted?
I reflect on this and wonder whether I continue to offer the same service, value and professionalism to my current clients over new ones. Do I continue to go above and beyond? Do I plan and prepare for every workshop and interaction like I would for a new client? Do I ask the right questions to ensure I have tailored our approach to align to their outcomes? Do I follow up on the key actions we had discussed just as diligently as I did at the start?
It is a great question for all consultants to ponder. I suspect it will tell us a lot around how successful we are in continuing to receive repeat work and referral opportunities rather than having to start the entire courting phase with new clients over and over again. I think they can perhaps tell better than us when we have got too comfortable with them. What signals do we send that highlight this? How can we guard against it?
The question for us as consultants is how do we continue to raise the bar and offer outstanding value for those who have been with us longer?