I once had a meeting with a struggling manufacturer. We spent over an hour discussing his operations, the market conditions and the general health of the company. I had some ideas for both quick hits and longer term investments that the owner agreed with, no, was enthusiastic about. He agreed that I would not only pay for my services, but make him additional operating profit and give him breathing room.
Yet, when I asked for the deal, the owner said he needed to think about it. When I reminded him that even he thought going forward was a good idea, he smiled and said, “I have twenty places for a dollar, I just can’t make it twenty-one.”
I could have probably closed this deal, but I don’t believe in pressuring people into what will be a very close relationship. Too much of what we do as consultants involves learning intimate things about people’s businesses and lives. There has to be implicit trust. I left shaking my head.
If your arm was broken and you believed the doctor could fix you, you’d have your arm set, regardless of the cost. If you believe that a consultant can both earn their keep and increase your profits, logic would dictate you would start that work. Not proceeding doesn’t make sense. Something else is at work.
In thinking back on the clients that had difficulty committing, some patterns emerged. I know that these are true because we have eventually converted resistant prospects and learned what held them back as well as applied some judgments regarding the facts surrounding the ones we didn’t: