Like most people in business, I work hard to attract and get clients, help them in accomplishing their goals and objectives, and I want (for the most part) to retain their business. I want them to become repeat clients as well as ambassadors on my behalf.
I’m fortunate that many know how to work with a consultant and that makes the outcome they are seeking more likely to achieve. I’m always going to have clients tell me what they want and they pay my fee in order to get it.
But paying my fee does not mean that they should be telling me what I should be doing. I’m hired because I have a specific skill set, level of experience, expertise, knowledge, and ability that they do not have (or their organization does not currently have in-house). My goal is always to do what is best for my client.
But I’m a consultant, not an employee.
When a prospective client tells me how long a project will take, it is often less than I have estimated. When how much they are interested in spending is discussed, it’s often less than required to get the job done well. When I ask where they obtained the information about cost limits, time parameters, or methodology, I discover that it’s either what they had hoped for, what they think they will be able to tolerate, or they heard about someone who provides consulting the way they have described it to me.
I am often puzzled if that’s the way they expect to work with a consultant, why they don’t just hire THAT person!