When your consulting firm delivers recommendations well, your clients appreciate your work and compliment you. When your recommendations are delivered with the nuance and power of a John Williams score (e.g., Star Wars, ET, Harry Potter, Jaws, etc.), your clients love your work, their trust in your consulting firm blossoms, they find more ways to work with you and they shower you with
Virtually every consulting project contains recommendations. In some cases, the entire project leads to a recommendation; other times, the recommendations are buried inside the path of implementation
Wherever recommendations occur in your consulting firm’s engagements, convey your counsel in a fashion that solidifies your relationship, promotes trust, and highlights your value.
The five factors listed below will elevate your consulting firm’s guidance from B-movie soundtrack to blockbuster orchestration.
5 Notes to Ensure Your Consulting Firm’s Recommendations Resonate
Bring the Goods
Of course, your first obligation is to ensure you’re offering a sound recommendation that will improve your client’s position.
You don’t have to be right 100% of the time, but you do have to develop suggestions based on deep experience, sound data and/or robust analysis with your client’s best interests in mind.
Personalize and humanize your recommendations by tying them into a story, an anecdote, or an example that emphasizes the impact on individuals.
Start on Common Ground
Introduce your advice with tunes your clients will hum along with before moving to discordant ideas that could challenge their thinking. If your clients’ heads are already nodding in agreement, they’re less likely to distrust uncomfortable or unexpected advice.
Admit Knowledge Gaps
When prescribing a course of action, it’s just as important to spotlight your consulting firm’s lack of understanding, knowledge or expertise as it is to bolster your experience and competence.
Rather than sweeping knowledge gaps under the carpet, boldly state aspects of your recommendation for which you don’t have 100% confidence. Doing so builds your clients’ trust in the remainder of your recommendation and in your consulting firm overall.
Involve your clients in shaping your recommendations. Offer a framework for identifying the optimal path forward, present useful evidence and experience, then empower your clients to reach their own conclusions
Add to the list based on your experience.
How else do you ensure the delivery of your recommendations is compelling, trust-enhancing and reputation-building for your consulting firm?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.