With the recent rise in transparency across business—not only as it relates to businesses and their customers, but also in how organizations share information with their employees—it’s only fitting that the trend make its way into standard consulting practices.
When it comes to working with your clients, it’s critical to provide visibility into what you’re doing for them to drive their success. Visibility won’t only do wonders for your client, it will also positively impact your own consulting business.
Where there’s transparency, there’s also reliability and trust.
When your clients call on you for help, they’re putting themselves in a vulnerable position. They’ve acknowledged they need help, so it’s critical to work with a high level of empathy. Because the work you do for your clients directly impacts their business, they’ll likely be hyper-vigilant in seeking updates on your progress.
Keeping clients in the dark about the work you’re doing for them can create anxiety, leaving clients wondering, “Are we making any progress? Is our deadline still going to be met?” As a consultant, you’re confident in your own skills and your ability to deliver; but without being transparent about how much progress you’ve made, clients may begin to lose confidence in you as a reliable partner.
Proactively updating clients on your progress—whether good or bad—will help calm their anxiety and prove you to be a reliable partner. When there is reliability, true trust can be built. The more your clients trust you, the more likely they are to accept your consulting recommendations and implement the necessary changes to drive their success.
Don’t just measure progress; measure impact.
While proactively sharing your progress with clients is great, progress updates alone are not enough.
One of the most difficult things for consultants is proving ROI, so be sure to tie your progress to a specific outcome. For example, if you’re helping your clients redesign their organizational structure, take a quick pulse check on their employees to measure morale by using a survey tool, then share those results. Not only will the client see your progress, but they’ll also feel confident in their decision to accept your recommendations.
Measuring impact—in addition to providing updates on your progress—will only strengthen your position as a reliable and trusted partner. The more data you collect and analyze, the clearer your impact will be.
Remember: It’s not about you. It’s about the client.
Though you were hired for your expertise and problem-solving abilities, remember that your services are not one-size-fits-all. Each client business is unique. Remaining transparent and keeping open lines of communication with your clients will help you better tailor your services to their needs.
When clients feel listened to, they feel valued. When they have visibility into the work you’re doing for them, they feel respected. The best way to provide client-centric service is to involve them along the way. Whether it’s through education or actionable tasks, empowering the client to be the hero of their own story will inevitably reinforce your position as a trusted partner. And the more your clients trust you, the more likely they are to become repeat customers and provide referrals—making this a success story for you, too.