You will prepare and submit a term paper on Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss. Your paper should be a minimum of 750 words in length. Client relations are dominated by the consulting sector. As client needs for specialist advice change, so does the nature of consultancy, and it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between overlapping old and new requirements. A chief concern in human relations is to understand the visible and hidden selves of clients. Employees tend to judge as unacceptable behavior that deviates or appears to deviate from their own adopted norms. Very often, consultants do not take into account the role of clients’ value and their loyalty. Alan Weiss underlines the importance of these concepts and their impact on effective performance. Client’s value is much more important to clients and managers than previously imagined. With rising client expectations and legal requirements for better quality, clients are loyal only as long as the firm provides the best value. Statistically-based value management processes provide the only systematic way to continuously improve relative value (and cost) positions and thus recapture market share. Since many clients now count time rather than dollar cost as their most precious asset, a high-quality strategy provides little competitive advantage unless it is paired with low cost (i.e., low price and/or sacrifice reduction). The synergistic combination of low cost and differentiation that may come with a value-based strategy is a direct result of managing critical systems that contribute to value.
In consultancy, self-promotion allows to maintain strong image of the firm and inform potential and existing customers about new services available for them. Traditionally, consultancies do not rely on self-promotion using traditional marketing communication methods. Similar to other businesses, clients are attracted to the products/services of a consultancy by their perceptions of the value they will derive from them. They are retained by the ongoing satisfactions which they receive from their relationship with that consultancy and its products. Communications have a key role in representing value and reinforcing purchase decisions. Self-promotion suggests ways in which firms persuade people to use their services involving feedback from customers to firms (Weiss 276). Weiss suggests: “You must have the skills to meet the need or be able to develop them, and the buyer must perceive that you possess them” (8). The importance of self-promotion can be explained by the fact that the general goodwill and genuine amiability of most businesspeople tells clients something very important about the business world. Free enterprise celebrates different talents, tastes, and peculiarities, whatever they may be (Weiss 287-290). Strangers and outsiders, for example, have been the focus of suspicion throughout history. For this reason, self-promotion helps the company to sustain its market position and attract new clients. The consulting firm can provide excellent services to its clients, but if it does not promote its activities or inform general public about its achievements, this firm will not be able to increase its market share and grow.
Another important lesson, I learnt from the book, is the importance of ethical and moral standards in consultancy.