Category Archives: Client relations

5 Difficult Client types and How to Deal with Them

Holding up a boulder representing a difficult client
Dealing with difficult clients

Over my 20+ years of consulting, I’ve dealt with many types of clients. Most have been good clients. They were cooperative and wanted to solve problems in a collaborative environment.

Every once in a while, I’ve run into one that isn’t so cooperative. Perhaps they had a personal agenda. Maybe they had personal issues they were dealing with.

Whatever the issue, they succeeded in making my life there a living hell. Over the years, I’ve been able to categorize them into five distinct groups.
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5 Ways to Get Your Client to Love You

Woman client holding a red heart
How to get your client to love you

Consultants and clients often have a contentious relationship. Clients resent the high hourly fees the consultants charge. They view consultants as a necessary evil. Consultants tire of the constant demands the client places on them, while pressuring them to lower their fees on an almost constant basis.

Consultants don’t understand that it is up to them to provide such high quality service that the client becomes happily dependent upon them. By following these tips, the consultant can get the client to love them almost unconditionally.
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How Herding Cats Allows Consultants To Get Things Done

herding cats
Herding cats: Getting things done

I’ve worked with clients who had their own project methodologies. In most cases it was a binder or two somewhere on a bookshelf. It might have even been distributed in binders on everyone’s desk.

Unfortunately, that was often where it ended. It has been my experience that many clients don’t follow methodologies even when they have them. At least it is not followed consistently. One person may follow a few aspects of it and another person may use other features. Meanwhile, the general population of project leads all do things their own way. Their approaches are gathered from a collection of practices and habits from previous jobs.
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6 Ways Consultants Can Impact Organizational Change

Organizational Change
Improving Organizational Change

Ask any random business people what first comes to mind when they think of the word “consultant.” Some will tell you that they steal your watch to tell you the time. You might hear that they train their people on one client in order to charge higher rates at the next client. But some may utter a single word and most people will know what they are talking about: shelfware.

What is shelfware?

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6 Reasons Client Employees Hate Consultants

hate consultants
Why client employees hate consultants

When a consultant shows up at a new client, it’s always a good idea to have one’s guard up. It’s very possible that he or she is entering hostile territory. It’s nothing personal. Okay, maybe it’s a little personal. You did decide to become a consultant after all.

I used to wonder why clients distrusted us consultants so much. Over the years I learned that it was a combination of past experience, confusion, and a little over-generalization. One of the major causes is, like any category of people, there are always some people in a group that give everyone a bad name.
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How the Client Senses the Consultant Spy

consultant spy
The consultant spy

In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the 5th book of the insanely popular series by J. K. Rowling, a new teacher is introduced. Professor Umbridge becomes a formidable antagonist in the story.

She is appointed by Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, initially as a teacher of Defense against the Dark Arts. She later becomes Headmaster of Hogwarts. During her tenure, she was known to hold a clipboard as she observed the students’ behavior, taking notes, but not revealing any of her thoughts.
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Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes

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As you may know, the folk tale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of two dishonest weavers who convince an emperor that they can make him a set of clothes which can only be seen by competent people.

When the emperor and his underlings can’t see the non-existent suit of clothes, they pretend that they can, to avoid exposing their own presumed incompetence.

A young boy, who isn’t clear on the concept, sees the emperor parading around naked and cries out, “He’s not wearing any clothes.”

It’s a common parallel in the business world. If the boss says something incorrect – or even stupid – in a meeting, few, if any, will point out the faux pas in public. Many will not even point it out to him or her in private.
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Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In

client buyin
Gaining client buying

“We’re from corporate and we’re here to help.”

It’s the common joke for anyone who works for a living; for anyone who feels they know their job and doesn’t need high paid executives, who wouldn’t know a customer if it bit him in the behind.

In general, we don’t like outsiders coming in and telling us our business. The same applies when the ultimate outsider comes in and tells you how to run your business: The consultant.

Consulting services are purchased by the very executives at corporate that are despised by the worker bees. Consultants come in and disrupt everything.
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How to Transfer Knowledge to Your Client

transfer knowledge
How to transfer knowledge

Consultants are hired by clients for a number of reasons.  A client may need to increase their staff temporarily for a special project. Or they may need specialized knowledge that isn’t necessary for the client to hire on a full-time basis. Still other times, the client is looking for advice in an area such as strategy or marketing.

In any of those cases, they turn to an outside expert that can help them solve a problem.

A consultant could provide the bare minimum service.  She could come in, provide the client with the service they have requested – and only that service – and then move on to her next client.
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What if Your Plumber Gave You “IT” Customer Service?

customer service
Would you put up with poor customer service from your plumber?

Imagine a scenario where you have a pipe that leaks under your kitchen sink.  You may be an expert user of water and all things plumbing, but when it comes to the technical solution of fixing a leak, you know enough to turn to the experts.

So you call a plumber who comes to your house to investigate.  You show him the leak and tell him, “That pipe right there needs to be replaced.  How much will you charge to replace it?”

The plumber, by virtue of his title, knows a little more about plumbing than you do. He investigates the leak and determines that, in addition to the pipe you have pointed out, there is another pipe that needs replacing.

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