Bringing Value to IT Consulting
By James Siu
James Siu leads Fuel's IT Services sector and is a seasoned technology architect. He guides his clients within the IC through enterprise transformation, application modernization, information management, and cloud computing.
1) Always actively listen to what the client says their mission needs are, and then present the value proposition your IT products/services have to offer to meet those needs.
I think it's critical to fully understand and appreciate the client's mission and their real pain points prior to presenting what terrific IT solutions and services you can provide. I find most clients are savvy and sophisticated, knowing the difference between those consultants who genuinely try to understand their mission, listen to their pain points that have stymied their mission objectives and strategic goals, and offer possible solutions tailored specifically to their mission environment — and those consultants who just want to push their product and service offerings to them as "one size fits all." Spending the time to fully understand the client's mission needs first to become their go-to problem-solver and solution champion will go a long way to be more successful with your client.
2) A strong client relationship and trust are far more important than what amazing technology solutions and IT services you have to offer.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but, by and large, establishing a strong and trustworthy relationship with your client is a critical success factor — not just in your current consulting engagement but for future growth opportunities. Building a strong relationship with a client will take time and effort, but once you have established that rapport with the client, that "fruit of labor" will pay dividends many times over. It will open many doors inside the client's organization when they can vouch for you and the products and services you have been known to deliver. That's extremely powerful to achieve from a consulting standpoint, but this strong client relationship should never, ever be taken for granted.
3. Differentiate your product and service offerings to achieve that competitive edge.
Good products and services are a dime a dozen. With IT consolidation and convergence across both commercial and government sectors progressing over the past decade, standing out and above from the crowd has been increasingly difficult to achieve. Honing in on what really differentiates you from what everyone else is offering to clients in either IT products or services is fundamental and a key factor to winning over your client. Ask yourself: What makes your IT products or services stand out? Why should a client select you, since majority of these clients have already heard pitches from numerous IT consultants and vendors before you? Aside from some unique functional capabilities or niche services you may have to offer, some examples of these differentiators include having strong client relationships and a comprehensive understanding of client missions, as stated previously.
4) Keep it simple and get to the point. Less is often more impactful.
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