What Do Clients Want?

Plenty of clients have problems, and there are plenty of companies to solve those problems. So, why does *that* company get the work for *that* company? It's long been a truism that you can't compete on 'soft' qualities like customer service or responsiveness. Rather, you need 'hard' benefits like cost savings or revenue increase, if you want to land a client. This might be true as a price of admission. I would suggest, however, that soft qualities are what get you to the front row of the theater. This isn't to say that clients are easily swayed. Rather, I'm suggesting that solving a client's problems is far more than just a 'technical' problem. Solving a client's problems includes many personal and political issues. This is the reality in a client's company---getting things done is much more complex than just having some work done by a consultant. There are many points of view and many stake-holders to take into consideration. Because of this, engaging a client in a way likely to get you noticed involves more than technical competence. It involves listening to the client, understanding their world, and embracing their challenges.