September 23, 2009, 1:16 PM — Most consultants lose deals because they either didn't listen to the client or they didn't communicate the value that they bring to the client. Here are a few tips to help you avoid these common pitfalls.
To start let's assume you already paid attention to the fundamentals. You know the client's needs, goals, and where you can add value. Now you need to effectively communicate how you, as a consultant, will provide value. If you can't effectively convey how your skills are going to aid the client, you won't get the deal. To communicate well ensure you always think before you speak. I know it sounds simple, but think before you answer a question. Think about how the question is reflected for your client. Your clients will appreciate your advice and begin to trust your answers.
When speaking with your clients stay away from jargon. Every industry has its own language - words, terms and expressions that are common to the industry but are foreign to people from other industries. Make sure that your client can understand what you are talking about; otherwise they will not know how you can help. If you try to impress them with jargon, you will most likely lose the deal.
When communicating with your client don't forget to let them chime in. The best way to get your client involved in a conversation is to ask questions. By asking questions, you will begin to understand how you can help, and what the client feels is important. The more you know about the client the better. This will give you an upper hand to ensure you are hitting every point that is important to them.
Be Passionate & Personable
Your client feels passionate about what they do, and if your client sees that you are truly happy with what you do, they will feel better about working with you.
Build relationships with your prospective client. Learn about the company and the people who work for it. Look for similarities that you have with your client. Maybe it is a sport, education, hobby, etc. that you both enjoy.
Finally, remember that you need to sell to the client's needs, not yours. Master this and you will land more consulting deals than you ever imagined.