Consulting is a process that leads to changes in behaviour and decision-making. It amplifies your clients’ abilities to better understand internal processes, strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and leads to ideas on how to reach the full potential of their company.
Revenue, cost and risk
The main goal of every agency should be to increase revenue, reduce cost or to reduce risk in their client’s business. In order to achieve that, agencies need to assume the role of a consultant to be completely acquainted with the client’s business, their business environment and industry. With that covered, agency can become a strategic partner and provide meaningful solutions, rather than offering only “cosmetic” services.
In order to do that, consultants need to know all about new trends and achievements in the industry, as well as having an open relationship with their client to know all there is to know about their business. Communication has to be open, transparent and sincere – even when the news aren’t good and saying them out loud might jeopardise the relationship with the client.
In the long-run, this approach leads to magnificent growth opportunities.
How does the process work
In Degordian, we follow a simple roadmap when it comes to consulting process, and it is very important that both the agency and the client are familiar with it. It comes down to these eight steps:
- Initial introduction and information gathering
- Expectation setting and management
- Identification of the business problem(s)
- Identification of the business needs
- Paraphrasing of the business problem in order to create SMART goals
- Research of the client’s day-to-day business operation and decisions he/she is making
- Definition of solutions that both fulfil goals and improve business decisions (and make them easier)
- Presentation of the solution to the client
Although this process looks simple when it’s put in a list like this, it is crucial that it is done with precision, attention to detail and never rushed.
There are a few things that need to be covered in initial steps. First and foremost, you need to find out how your client’s business works, what they do, what is their product/service and how they offer it to the market. Obviously, you need to know to whom your client is offering their product/service and what are the characteristics of his/hers target audience. Finally, don’t forget to learn about their competition and how they organise their day to day business operations.
This set of information should give you a much wider and clearer picture of what your client is facing. With that, you can define what your client expects from you and you can start identifying business problems and needs.
And then the really hard work starts. :)
Keep in mind that, in the end, solutions that you present need to be based on data and research. Hunch is something you should leave at roulette table!
Examples of questions you can ask your client
To help you start the whole process, here’s a list of specific questions you can ask your client in order to find out everything you can about their business:
- What products and services are you selling on the market?
- What products and services are you developing to sell on the market in the mid-term and in the long-term?
- What makes your business unique? What is your USP?
- What makes you different from your competition?
- Where do you see the biggest growth potential for your business?
- In which situations could you be more successful?
- How would you grade your product/service quality?
- Do you offer guarantee or specific terms to your customers?
- Who are your customers currently?
- How does your ideal customer look like? Does it differ from current customers?
- How does the price of your product/service compare to your competitors?
- What kind of marketing have you been doing?
- Who is the leader on your market?
- In which areas of your business is your competition doing better than you?
- How do you manage your business?
- How do you communicate with your employees?
- How is your business structured?
- What is the biggest revenue source for your business?
- What is the biggest cost for your business?
- Describe your brand.
- How do you want your customers to perceive you?
- What is the biggest problem your business is currently facing?
There are many more questions you can ask – only thing to keep in mind is, no matter how hard the questions are, your goal is to find out as many details as possible in order to get the clear picture. This way you will get a chance to provide meaningful solutions for your clients that will either increase their revenue, reduce their cost or reduce the risk in their business operations.