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Bob Artner, TechRepublic's vice president for content, offers his advice on managing client expectations, positioning service levels, and other consulting concerns in these 'Director's Desk' columns.


It’s a jungle out there.

As you dash between sales presentations, site work, and follow-up on those overdue and over-budget projects, there are plenty of pitfalls and snares that endanger you in your day-to-day existence as an IT consultant.

You’d rather be the hunter, not the hunted, right? Then check out these recent Director’s Desk columns by Bob Artner, TechRepublic’s own vice president of content.

In “Managing client expectations: The difference between sticker shock and Rusher's Gap,” Bob explains that when delivering sales pitches, consultants often misread the potential client’s reaction to the price tag. That moment of silence isn’t always sticker shock—more often, the client is adding up in his or her head what the project will really cost. “Rather than spending your time defending the cost you quoted or speculating how you can save money at the margins by cutting out features, what you need to do is convince the would-be client that the number you quoted, no matter how high, isn't going to go significantly higher,” Bob suggests.

Every company has a go-to person when a project is in dire straits. Bob profiles this person in “The care and feeding of your Mr. Fixit.” “This is the person who can fix the technological glitch, unsnarl the project management plan, or smooth over the ruffled client,” Bob explains. Keeping a Mr. Fixit happy is the key to project success for a consulting firm.

When you’ve got a repeat client who brings considerable cash into your firm, perhaps that client is deserving of a higher level of service. As Bob explains in “The art of positioning service levels to your clients,” these special customers deserve guaranteed response times, preferential rates on your service, dedicated personnel, and other perks.

Though it may seem like a grand favor when a friend directs business your way, Bob warns of the dangers in “Beware of geeks bearing gifts: Avoiding pitfalls when friends bring you business.” That friend may have a hidden agenda. He writes, “Before you start a project, you need to find out how your advocate sold you internally. For example, if your client hired you on the assumption that you could get the project completed faster and less expensively than the previous consulting firm, you need to know that.”
TechRepublic is seeking IT consultants with intriguing stories. Have you identified a unique solution to a common problem? Maybe you have an opinion on a current IT issue? Send us a quick note, and we may contact you for an interview. If you appear among our featured members, you'll receive a cool TechRepublic polo shirt, not to mention accolades from your IT brethren.
It’s a jungle out there.

As you dash between sales presentations, site work, and follow-up on those overdue and over-budget projects, there are plenty of pitfalls and snares that endanger you in your day-to-day existence as an IT consultant.

You’d rather be the hunter, not the hunted, right? Then check out these recent Director’s Desk columns by Bob Artner, TechRepublic’s own vice president of content.

In “Managing client expectations: The difference between sticker shock and Rusher's Gap,” Bob explains that when delivering sales pitches, consultants often misread the potential client’s reaction to the price tag. That moment of silence isn’t always sticker shock—more often, the client is adding up in his or her head what the project will really cost. “Rather than spending your time defending the cost you quoted or speculating how you can save money at the margins by cutting out features, what you need to do is convince the would-be client that the number you quoted, no matter how high, isn't going to go significantly higher,” Bob suggests.

Every company has a go-to person when a project is in dire straits. Bob profiles this person in “The care and feeding of your Mr. Fixit.” “This is the person who can fix the technological glitch, unsnarl the project management plan, or smooth over the ruffled client,” Bob explains. Keeping a Mr. Fixit happy is the key to project success for a consulting firm.

When you’ve got a repeat client who brings considerable cash into your firm, perhaps that client is deserving of a higher level of service. As Bob explains in “The art of positioning service levels to your clients,” these special customers deserve guaranteed response times, preferential rates on your service, dedicated personnel, and other perks.

Though it may seem like a grand favor when a friend directs business your way, Bob warns of the dangers in “Beware of geeks bearing gifts: Avoiding pitfalls when friends bring you business.” That friend may have a hidden agenda. He writes, “Before you start a project, you need to find out how your advocate sold you internally. For example, if your client hired you on the assumption that you could get the project completed faster and less expensively than the previous consulting firm, you need to know that.”
TechRepublic is seeking IT consultants with intriguing stories. Have you identified a unique solution to a common problem? Maybe you have an opinion on a current IT issue? Send us a quick note, and we may contact you for an interview. If you appear among our featured members, you'll receive a cool TechRepublic polo shirt, not to mention accolades from your IT brethren.

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