I have been in the consulting game for close to fifteen years in different professions ranging from accounting to engineering right through to management advisory. I have worked in different industries that engaged a significant amount of consultants and service providers with clients large and small. This diversity is something I have loved and still enjoy working closely with clients to deliver great outcomes.
I have had the privilege to work with some exceptional clients. Clients that are not only great to deal with but genuinely treat you as a partner and trusted advisor in their business. Numerous repeat work, different engagements and challenging assignments that have focussed on delivering great outcomes for them because there is a strong element of trust that we can add value to their organisation, projects and people. A true trusted advisor!
So what makes a client exceptional for a consultant or service provider? People will have different views on this which I welcome as part of engaging on this blog but I thought I would put down some thoughts on what makes a great client for me:
- they trust you as a consultant or service provider to deliver an outcome. They don’t micromanage you but focus more on the fact that they have brought in your expertise to deliver outcomes;
- they work with you rather than you work for them. It is a true partnership based on mutual respect, trust and alignment;
- they are very good at explaining the why behind where they need assistance. They don’t just focus in a scope document which outlines what they want and how they want it done. They spend more time explaining the challenges, the potential solutions and the history that has brought us to where we currently are with the organisation, project or people;
- they focus on the outcome rather than just the process. They understand that how we do things is important but it does not mean a lot if we don’t deliver the agreed outcomes;
- they pay on time. It may sound direct but it shows they care about business and livelihood in knowing that cash flow is important for any consultant. Some of my best clients go out of their way to pay our bills early or on time as they know this is very important for us as we continue to grow;
- they are advocates for your business. They go out of their way to refer you on to others in their organisation and external parties. This is enormous for any consultant when you understand the power of referrals and repeat work for consultants.
These are just some of my thoughts. What else would you add? I love working with great clients. It is a privilege and honour based on strong levels of trust, alignment at all levels and going deep with them rather than wide with many clients. It is all about the journey you go on with them!