Your consulting firm can generate customer delight, referrals and glowing testimonials by tackling a small, unexpected task for your clients.
A simple idea from a true story:
A long, long time ago in a city far, far away, when I was an entry-level executive at a large, Midwestern consumer products manufacturer, all employees above the entry level attended an annual meeting at a beach resort.
We youngsters left behind at headquarters for a week, were as diligent as you’d expect a gaggle of high-energy, undirected 20-somethings to be. (There may or may not have been an epic hallway bowling match.)
Of course, a few enterprising colleagues kept their noses somewhat to the grindstone, running reports or writing memos.*
Then there was Steve. Steve cleaned the “Store.”
Steve had thought to himself, “I’ve got a little bit of time on my hands. What could I do that would be useful and has been neglected because everyone is too busy?” One obvious candidate: the Store.
The Store was a windowless room outfitted with retail-type shelving racks. It was, ostensibly, designed so that product management professionals could review potential new product designs and packaging in a realistic setting, surrounded by real, competitive products.
In reality, the Store was a chaotic, disorganized mess. Jumbled stacks of outdated competitive products blocked access to shelves stocked only with haphazard arrays of discarded design ideas.
After about two days of modestly hard work in a dusty, unglamorous room, Steve had transformed a useless, cluttered space into a valuable resource our senior executives immediately appreciated.
Shortly thereafter, Steve received his first of many rapid promotions. (Though he never won the hallway bowling trophy.)
Applying the Lesson
The moral of the “Steve cleans the Store” tale points the way to a more successful consulting firm.
In your quest to please clients, you could perform a supplementary analysis or conduct an extra meeting. Clients generally appreciate any efforts above and beyond the defined scope of your project.
However, those actions aren’t surprising sources of value and, therefore, won’t garner heaps of praise and unsolicited referrals.
Cast your gaze around to identify where a bit of attention to a lingering challenge or a small, side issue could surprise and delight your clients.
In other words, what can your consulting firm do to “clean the Store”?
I’m sure you’ve witnessed instances when bit of unexpected, extra value evoked outsized client delight.
In the comments, tell me an example of when you have (or will) put this idea into practice.
Text and images are © 2024 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.