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Consultancy : It’s not always about the money…

“It’s the day he had been preparing for. He had done his research, spoken to everybody in the IT department of the Money3 bank and now had to present his findings and advice to the CIO. Jack was a little bit nervous. In his career as a IT management consultant, this was the first, large financial customer that he had to present to, but Jack felt he was prepared and that he would impress the CIO with what he had to tell him. He had been researching the IT infrastructure over the last couple of weeks and had the answer : Money3 Bank had to move into cloud computing. 

Jack went into the office of the CIO. Mr. Jones was sitting at the head of the conference table with his secretary and a few of his IT managers that Jack had spoken to over the last coupel of weeks. Jack greeted everyone in the room and connected his laptop to the beamer that was waiting for him. Everybody in the room waited for the start his presentation. 

Jack started his presentation with the state of the current IT infrastructure of Money3 Bank. Presented his finding that he had gathered over the last couple of weeks and gave his advice : Money3 Bank needs to move into cloud computing. Jack had created various sheets with financial data. TCO calculations, with ROI calculations. He explained everything in detail to the people in the room. Step by step he took them through the process of what benefit it would bring to Money3 Bank. Jack finished his presentation with one big concluding slide : “Cloud computing will save Money3 Bank 1 million euros over the next 3 years!”

Jack stood there infront of the presentation screen. He though to himself “This went great!”. Everybody in the room now turned there attention to Mr. Jones. He was silent and said nothing. Jack got nervous. “Why is he silent?” “Didn’t he like what I told him?” “Why doesn’t he respond?” But Mr. Jones kept silent. He was just looking out of the windows. Nobody in the room said anything. Jack really felt uncomfortable with the situation. He really didn’t know what he had to do. Then after a minute or so Mr. Jones looked at Jack and said : “Money3just made 1 million euros. I like your story, I like saving money, but could you now please tell me how you are going to solve my problems?” 

The moral of the story is the fact that money isn’t a primary concern for most of your clients. Clients have challenges and want a solution to those challenges. Everybody knows that challenges will cost money and yes, everybody also wants to spend as less money as possible or get a nice return on investment for the money they are spending, but in most cases that is a nice to have.

The fact is that consultancy is a personal matter. It’s not only about the numbers, it’s about trying to solve real challenges that your customers face today. They want to be provided with a  solution that solves those challenges and in the end makes sure that they will get a good nights sleep. It’s about understanding your customers and getting to know what drives them. Trying to connect with them on their level and trying to help them in everyway that you can to help them to the next level. To do that you need to know their goals and what they are trying to achieve. And in most cases it’s not what you think is right, it’s what the customer thinks is right. Cause in the end : customer is king!

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