Large Enterprise clients seldom look at technical prowess alone when making the decision to work with GLiNTECH. Of course this is important - essential in fact - but it is not the only factor in making the decision. There are a multitude of other things that come into the equation; trust, grief counseling, politics, organisational structures, listening, empathising, framing solutions, negotiation - the list goes on. Some things you only learn through experience, but others are more of an attitude you can take with you before you even set foot inside a client site. Below are some of our best tips (in no particular order), along with some situations experienced by our consultants and feedback received from clients:
1. Focus on the client as an individual - you’re not just a person filling a role
Much can be gained from treating your clients with respect. This isn’t just respecting the company they represent, but the individuals as well. Being social, energetic, positive and active participation are all traits that are looked upon favourably. This helps lead to better communication and feedback - things which will be vital for the rest of the project.
2. Do the right thing for the client, rather than your own organisation’s incentives
When we put a consultant out into the field they are representing us and themselves, but we expect them to do what is best for the client. If a consultant delivers what the client wants, it will end up reflecting well on everyone and may well lead to more business. It’s a simple concept, but it’s true - initial successes can turn into more opportunities. We have several examples of consultants who have been on the verge of concluding projects but, thanks to their commitment, the client decided to keep the consultant on for additional work.
3. Problem definition and resolution is as important as technical mastery
Clarity of a problem leads to a specific resolution, despite other limitations. For example, one of our consultants was placed in a banking institution without some recent technical skills or advanced accreditation. From an outside perspective, this would seem far from ideal. However, by striving to listen, maintaining clear channels of communication and endeavouring to solve problems immediately, the consultant showed a desire to fulfill the needs of the client rather than just being there to fill a gap. There is far more to being a successful consultant than just technical knowledge.
4. Take everything with you, but only use what you need to
Any consultant will have a kit bag full of knowledge which they take with them to projects, but we expect them to put all that aside and simply listen to the client’s requirements before making any judgements or recommendations. Pre-judging a project before you’ve had a chance to properly discuss the requirements with the client is a recipe for disaster. Every project is different, so different approaches and skills are needed.
5. Find new ways to be of greater service to the client
A client will often have several businesses competing and bidding for a project - the one that wins is usually the one that brings better value and better ideas. This shifts the focus towards the individual consultants. If, for example, two developers from different organisations hold the same technical knowledge, the one that will be successful will be the one that offers the most outside the technical requirements. Things like personality, communication, defining problems and fulfilling promises are all important.
6. Concentrate on doing the next thing right, rather than aiming for specific outcomes
Of course you have to take an overall view of any project, but by actually approaching it step by step you’ll invariably reach a better outcome. As an example, one of our consultants was brought into a project at the last moment, when everything was already at crisis point. To make matters worse, the client’s in-house Project Manager went on stress leave the day our consultant was called in. Our consultant took a pragmatic attitude to the situation, took control and came up with an acceptable resolution. Had a step by step approach been taken from the outset things may not have gotten to the stage where a consultant was required. But when they did, having the right person to be able to attack the problem one bit at a time was critical.
7. Successful client relationships are tied to the accumulation of quality experiences
As with anything, you can be judged on your reputation before you’ve even set foot in the door. The best advice is therefore to make sure your reputation is sound from the beginning. If you consistently deliver quality engagements, you will gain positive references and become a trusted advisor.
If you want to put any of this stuff into action, check out our Careers for current vacancies.