Today, two colleagues and I were discussing a particular recommendations that we were to present to our client. The recommendation was masterpiece – a brilliant amalgamation of extensive experience and industry best practice forged in heated deliberations.
The only problem was: I knew that the client had almost zero chance of being able to implement the recommendation. This begs the question: what exactly do clients expect from consultants?
A consulting engagement is not about showing the client how smart you are. Clients hire consultants to provide expertise to solve problems they can’t solve themselves. However, you must come up with recommendations that the client can actually act on. Impractical recommendations become shelf-ware, and the problems remain unsolved.
Say you hired a fitness consultant to help you lose weight. He could recommend “an extensive 7 day a week cardio and weight training programme supplemented by a strict calorie controlled diet”. Or he could recommend “30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week and replacing high fat foods with low fat substitutes.” Sure, you won’t reach your goal as fast by doing it the second way – but at least you won’t be discouraged from actually trying. And (eventually) you will get results.
The same goes for your clients. Don’t overwhelm them with recommendations that will be put in the “too hard basket”. Provide recommendations that give the client the results they want, in pieces they can digest.