Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss
Volume 2 Number 12
A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.
The Concept of Conceptual Agreement
I've stressed for 25 years that conceptual agreement with a true economic buyer revolves around:
- Objectives: The business outcomes of the project.
- Metrics: The measures of progress and completion.
- Value: The impact of gaining the objectives.
You should generally have 2-3 value statements for every objective, thus crating high value making the ROI on your fee seem highly desirable.
However, I've seen too many consultants rush speedily through these three requirements without gaining conceptual agreement. That is, they have the language and the notes, but they don't have true "buy-in" from the buyer! This negates the entire exercise and makes the proposal weak, which is why so many people report that they can't understand a "strong relationship" resulting in unreturned calls and no action.
To gain true conceptual agreement, you must:
Review each of the statements with the buyer and ask if they're accurate and fair. (You should be conservative with value—if the estimate is $2 million in savings, make it $1 million.)
Ask the buyer to describe how the value would be utilized.
Ask if there are any questions or corrections.
Ask if there is anything at all that hasn't been discussed which might cause the buyer not to accept the proposal.
Make a time and date certain to follow up.
Request the buyer's private cell number and private email.
Always follow up by phone, using email only if the buyer is traveling or out of phone contact.
That is true conceptual agreement.
PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTAL OPTIONS BY SUBSCRIPTION FOR 2013, PROVIDING WEEKLY AND/OR MONTHLY BOOSTERS:
Alan's Friday Wrap®: Five-minute podcast every week on contemporary business and social issues that impact your life and profession.
Common Sense Consulting® Weekly Video: Quick techniques to build your consulting skills and options, lower labor intensity, and increase fees. You'll also receive all past videos.
2013 Teleconference Series: Twelve interviews with me, live and free-wheeling.
A coaching client of mine was complaining that he had lost four proposals for which he had conceptual agreement, for two of which he couldn't even get a response from the buyer to his phone calls. I told him that four instances indicated the cause was his behavior, not his clients'.
I put him on the regimen above and he soon starting closing business, although he sometimes found he couldn’t move to the proposal stage as quickly as before and he had to take more time to gain agreement.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. What happens when the client says, "I'm not sure about the objectives or value, I just think we should do this"?
A. Ask the buyer, "What caused you to think something needs to be done and to talk to me?" In other words, find the adverse condition that the client is reacting to and simply reverse it to the positive condition sought.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.
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