9Lenses is in the business of adding value to consultants, and in our quest to add value continually to the consulting industry, our first priority is to understand the pain points of our customers. This understanding helps us to better serve both our current and future customers. The consultants we work with have multiple different pain points, from differentiating in an extremely competitive industry to trying to speed up client discovery to creating a killer sales pitch. However, these pain points all tend to have a similar result – losing a client or an account. Be it an associate consultant, an engagement lead, or even a managing partner, dropping client retention rates keep consultants awake at night.
From our many conversations with our customers and other consultants in our network, we recognized that most of the reasons for losing a client fall into four main categories.
Miscommunication or interpersonal issues, either in the consulting team or between a client and consultant, could result in a client walking away from a consultant. In spite of new technology in the space, the consulting industry is still heavily driven by relationships, and focusing on seamless communication is crucial to maintaining a long-lasting relationship with clients.
Setting expectations about the exact value you add to a client, the terms of the project, scope of work, and being diligent about keeping a client in the loop is crucial for client retention. Setting expectations starts when clients understand your value proposition and what you actually bring to the table rather than what they assume you can bring to the table.
Lack of Innovation
Consulting is being disrupted, and consultants who do not self-disrupt will be left behind in this extremely competitive industry. Innovation in the consulting industry doesn’t just mean technology adoption or asset-based consulting, but also innovating textbook processes and approaches to consulting. Engagements leads need to keep up with the changing client expectations around reducing the time taken for discovery and delivering actual results.
Many consulting firms lack the ability to help their clients in small ways because of their team structure, lack of technology, or the pricing strategy. This is another area where innovating and helping a client in small ways could translate to big wins down the line.
Lack of a long-term view
Even seasoned consultants can fail at times to create a bridge to lasting business. For instance, they could focus on maintaining the relationship with just one key point of contact, but often this point of contact could leave a client’s business for other opportunities. Another way in which consultants can lose is by not proactively identifying ways to increase the scope of a project.
To check out the 10 reasons why even top consultants lose their clients, download our infographic The Curious Case of Vanishing Clients.