Desk of Brad

Being a Good Consultant

We are a relationship led company. In every respect, the quality and strength of our relationships determine the short and long-term success of our business. Qualitatively, this is the most important point of judgment regarding the health of employees, partners, clients, and the company. If you can’t build and maintain great relationships, consulting is not a good career option for you.

My strategy for building relationships with my clients has always been frequent, short communication with all the constituents of the business. I’ve opted for quick calls and made myself available for insightful conversation and complaints, positioning myself as a point of escalation for any challenges. In addition to the quality assurance calls, I frequently share an article that I like or a white paper that I’ve authored. It is important to have a mix of thought leadership with QA and sales.

The model is simple… check in frequently, add value, and look for new opportunities. This allowed me to be the CEO, lead strategist, and head sales guy for a long time before we added to our headcount. When I think about being a good consultant at Tahzoo, this model should be built into our everyday activities. It doesn’t matter what your role is at Tahzoo, we all have clients and customers that need to be engaged.

This is the first in a three-part series for the Desk of Brad. This week we are focusing on habits for checking infrequently.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a list of people that I would touch base with daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. There is judgment required to ensure the cadence and scope of the relationships are sufficient to be successful. When you think about your clients, the folks you work with every day, and the client with their broader set of constituents, how would you schedule connecting with them?

It’s safe to talk to people that like you, and we have all been trained to find a coach, however, the courage and the thought leadership to tackle objectors to drive consensus is essential for our business. Although a major portion of our work is deliverable-based, we are all agents of change helping our client achieve what is possible.

In order to check in frequently, there needs to be something to discuss. There is an old saying “interested is interesting”… Meaning people often think to themselves that you are an interesting person because you’ve expressed interest in them. When engaging your clients and building relationships, just ask a lot of questions. They don’t have to be personal – for many clients, it’s sufficient to understand their goals at work or the complexities that they face. You can also discuss clearly defined success metrics, hard numbers, and schedules for the project, or bring meaningful thought leadership to drive those conversations. I always subscribe to a Google Alert for my accounts, because I want to know the latest breaking news.

I’ve put together a checklist for you to consider as a strategy for the check-in frequently discipline:

• Create a list of daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly contacts in each account.
• Build an email list for sending out thought leadership articles.
• Create a document that outlines the relevant issues, topics for check-in, and areas of interest for thought leadership for accounts.
• Every week (Monday morning) review your contact list and create a schedule for your touchpoints.
• Read and collect information from the subject matter experts within Tahzoo and share it with your clients.
• If you need an article, point of view, or any piece of thought leadership, reach out to Tahzoo leadership and make the request – we’ll get you something to send to the client.

Relationship building isn’t hard, it just takes discipline and a little focus. It’s a habit – hard to get started, but after seven weeks in a row, you’ll have it down. You need to have something meaningful to share or your client with feel pestered, or worse yet, bored. The key here is to begin building relationships by checking in frequently, being genuinely interested in them, and having something thoughtful to share… pretty straightforward. I’d like everyone to take an inventory of the number of active relationships they have within an account and double that number over the next two months.