What could be more discouraging for you and your consulting firm than promoting a fantastic solution… that prospects and clients don’t adopt? (Ask the inventors of the 1964 AT&T Picturephone what they think about the novelty of Zoom calls!)
You can overcome that problem.
Virtually every day, your consulting firm offers a powerful answer to a problem in the marketplace.
Maybe your solution to the infamous, cucurbitaceae corruption problem is phenomenal. In that case, every zucchini farmer on the planet should be eager to hire you.
But they’re not.
And what about the project for Buttermelon Brothers that your consulting firm toiled on so diligently? You delivered outstanding work and if Buttermelon would simply complete the one little piece they’re responsible for, they’d have a breakthrough.
But they don’t.
It’s so frustrating, you want to pull your hair and spit pumpkin seeds.
There are two flavors of this bitter fruit:
- You don’t win clients even though you know your consulting firm’s solution would be a huge win for them.
- Your clients don’t implement your solution even though doing so would be an enormous boon.
The Adoption Premise
To win more clients and then for your consulting firm’s clients to fully implement your recommendations, you must meet the Adoption Premise:
I believe I’ll win with this solution, without too much cost.
Let’s unpack the Adoption Premise, piece by piece to determine your consulting firm’s specific actions.
Notice the overlap between the Adoption Premise and the Trust Triangle?
That’s because belief is about Trust. The benefits of your solution appear obvious and self-evident to you. But they’re not.
To be convinced, people need reasons to believe and proof points.
Action: Develop and offer case studies that demonstrate your firm’s successes in situations similar to those faced by your typical prospects.
Action: Propose pilots, and phased roll-outs.
Promising a successful outcome is not enough. Your clients and prospects have to feel they will be personally uplifted by your solution. People ignore plenty of actions that are good for them or would help them succeed, because the emotional enticement is too low.
Action: In your marketing materials, conversations and proposals, emphasize how your consulting firm’s solutions make your prospects and clients feel better.
Too Much Cost
To adopt your consulting firm’s solution, your prospects and clients must believe there is low risk of them wasting their precious resources. Those resources include their time, money, focus, energy and reputation.
Action: Communicate that your consulting firm understands the risks of adoption and that you handle your client’s concerns on three levels:
Prevention – The steps your consulting firm takes to uncover landmines before any of your client’s resources are put at risk. (“We block cabbage loopers and twospotted spider mites from ever entering the melon patch.”)
Mitigation – How you quickly catch and correct missteps during implementation. (“Rotten gourds are recognized and excised immediately to keep the vine healthy.”)
Remediation – Your approach to addressing major blunders. (“We keep ladders on hand and will provide them at no charge if you stumble into a sinkhole during implementation.”)
You don’t have to over-complicate your messaging or proposals.
A quick case study, a simple sentence or two in your marketing, a thoughtful comment during discovery, and a well-planned approach all reinforce the Adoption Premise.
Provide your prospects and clients fodder to believe that you provide low-risk personal wins. You’ll find your consulting firm closes more engagements and enjoys happier clients.
What have you done to improve adoption of your consulting firm’s solutions?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
Really helpful, David. Reframing wins to include the client /feeling/ better is quite powerful. Thanks.
As consultants, we are often focused on the solutions, the data, the facts, the provable elements of what we do. That’s true even for those of us whose practices focus on culture or interpersonal relationships.
We all need to frequently remind ourselves that acceptance (and adoption) of an idea, a proposal, or a program is based on emotions.
Thanks for contributing your voice on this, Sarah.
Thanks for this blog entry. I just sent a proposal last week and I am wishing I had read this before sending it to the client.
Good luck on the proposal, Maurice. And aren’t you glad you read this before you submitted your next (five or ten) proposals?!
I’m happy you contributed your feedback, Maurice. Let me know how you fare with the pending opportunity.
Generally I like the idea of integrating feelings into marketing. Practical implementation is a bit foggy. Would you share a couple of examples how feelings could integrated into B2B sales conversation?
Anatoli, when you ask your prospects what “better” looks like, in many (or most) cases, they’ll start edging into emotional territory. They’ll mention things like, “feeling more confident” or “less anxiety” or other emotionally charged words like freedom, frustration, opportunity, powerful, etc.
Baking emotion into your marketing, proposals, etc. isn’t terribly difficult. Don’t be scared to talk with and about the human your dealing with (vs. the business). And yes, “scared” is an emotion.
Thanks for the insightful question.