I have been delivering digital solutions for most of my adult life. And during this time I have always thought of myself more of an educator than a technical implementer. Most clients come with the same questions and express the same behaviours. As a consultant I recognise three very important hurdles that need to be overcome with a client for success to be achieved.
First hurdle: Recognise expertise
Clients that request specialised services are usually successful in their own right. The act of reaching out for services is an expression of wanting to be more successful. Therefore it often is the case that these clients, though recognising the need for help, have very clear ideas on how to achieve their goals. Getting clients to accept guidance that may not be directly aligned with their thinking is a challenge. The consultant is asking someone to trust them and put their career/ business in their hands. A consultant should prove themselves by reputation and clearly laying out direction in a manner familiar to the client. Leave the buzzwords in the bag, this is a time for the consultant to let the client use their knowledge and apply it in a new way so they can “buy in” to an unfamiliar strategy. I tell my clients “we are going to do anything you probably already don’t know, just in a different way than you are used to.”
Second hurdle: Less is more
An even greater challenge to gaining trust of a client is keeping expectations inline with achievable goals. Motivations of clients to over reach are not always clear. Perhaps it is bang for the buck or they feel everyone likes them as much as they like themselves. But the best solution is Keep it Simple Silly (KISS). Achievable goals were clear progress can be identified goes a long ways to maintaining client confidence in long term goals.
Third hurdle: What they don’t see
This is the biggest hurdle to overcome especially if you have managed the first two well. Clients now comforted by an understanding in terms that are familiar, willing to trust change and focused on achievable goals now fall into the false sense of knowing more than they do and forgetting why they hired a consultant in the first place. As with most things in life there is more than meets the eye. After all when The iceberg above the water may have signaled the Titanic to change course, but it was what lay beneath the water that sank it. As you would not trust your business to a CFO based on their ability to add some sums of numbers accurately. You hire and trust a CFO because they understand what those number represent in business terms and can safely provide business security and profitability in the short and long term. Social media is more often than most a place where business owners feel confident. After all it is what 12 year olds use so how hard can it be. When you are business there is much more at stake:
More people will see your brand on social media than anywhere else
Social Media is the second most trusted source for brand recommendations
It is the #1 place where customers will comment and complain about your brand
This is not the place to take risks. Rely on a trusted professional to help manage your brand online.
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Keywords: Social Media, Disruptive, Marketing, SME, SMB, Small Business, Digital