Working closely with clients is the core of what independent consultants do. Every interaction helps build your professional relationship and set the tone for the project. Working effectively with each client not only helps individual projects go smoothly, but it can also help grow your business. Happy clients often lead to repeat business and referrals. More reason to hone your interpersonal skills!
For some, knowing how to work with different personalities comes naturally. But even if this describes you, there may still be room for improvement. Working effectively with clients sometimes takes practice, or at least a reminder if a project has gotten off track.
Here are some tips to help independent consultants work more effectively with their clients.
1. Understanding your client
Knowing your clients well—their background, business structure, and goals—can help consultants work more effectively. Understanding what makes each client unique helps you identify the unique issues they face and customize individual solutions.
Before you meet with a client, do some research. Review their website and social media accounts and read any press you can find about the company, products, and management team. This not only helps you get a sense of the company, but it will also impress the client during the interview process.
Finally, it’s important to listen to clients every time you meet with them. Ask questions to help you better understand not just the project you’ll be working on, but how your work fits in with their overall business and goals.
2. Adapting to each client
Every client is different. Adapting how you approach each client can create a better working relationship and hopefully lead to positive reviews and future referrals.
Adapting your communication style is a common way for consultants to customize their approach to different clients. Matching each clients preferred speaking tone (professional, casual, friendly, etc.) helps communicate that you are on the same page. You’ll also want to pay attention to their contact preferences, such as whether they prefer email to phone calls.
It’s also important to keep an open mind during each project. Don’t assume that what you’ve done before will work for this client. You will likely need to adapt your advice to their specific circumstances and be open to new solutions.
3. Communicating effectively
Communication is a big part of consulting. Quickly assessing what the business needs and then clearly outlining the steps needed to reach their goals is what the job is all about. Getting the point across to all stakeholders is key to effectively working with your clients.
Start by setting realistic expectations about what you can do and what the business can achieve. They may have big goals, but they may expect to reach them in an unreasonably short time frame. Creating a sensible plan that everyone is clear on can help clients avoid disappointment.
It’s also important to keep your clients in the loop throughout the project. Providing updates along the way can help clients reset their expectations in response to changes or setbacks. It can also be helpful to put any oral agreements in writing and ask the client to sign off on them to help avoid confusion or misunderstandings.
4. Protect yourself with Professional Liability insurance
Even the best independent consultants may run into difficult clients, make mistakes, or are sometimes unable to deliver the results they have promised. It might make sense to have insurance that protects your business and professional reputation just in case these or other liability claims are made against you.
Professional Liability insurance can protect professional service providers from potentially devastating financial damages resulting from alleged negligence or error in the delivery of your services.
Sometimes referred to as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, Professional Liability for consultants can help protect you against claims of:
- Errors or mistakes
- Breach of contract
- Undelivered services
- Missed deadlines
A policy can be very useful, as lawsuits brought by clients are often expensive. Professional Liability for consultants pays legal fees, court costs, settlements, and judgements, so you do not need to use your business or personal funds on these expenses.
Where to find Professional Liability insurance
BizInsure has made it easy for consultants to find Professional Liability insurance to protect their small businesses. In just minutes, you could be comparing multiple quotes from top-tier insurers. Buy online and receive your policy documents instantly by email, and get back to giving your clients the great service they expect!
If you’re ready to find Professional Liability insurance for consultants, visit our website to get started.