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Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss

Volume 2 Number 7
July 2012

A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.

Gaining Conceptual Agreement

When you find an economic buyer—someone who can write or authorize a check for your value proposition as represented in your proposal—you must gain conceptual agreement on the objectives of the project, the measures for success (progress and/or completion), and the value that results from reaching those objectives.

An OBJECTIVE is a business outcome, never a deliverable or task or input. A strategy retreat is not an objective. But if you ask, "Why?" (do you desire a strategy retreat) the answer is usually the objective: "Because we want to expand into new markets and require a strategy to do so effectively."

A METRIC or measure of success is an indicator of progress. It has to be recognized formally by objective analysis, or informally by someone charged to do so. A sales report on average size of sales is an objective measure, and your spouse's determination of the comfort of the driver's seat of a new car is an informal but also effective measure. There must be at least one metric for every objective.

VALUE is what is delivered by each objective, and there are usually several value statements per objective. If Increased profit is an objective, then the impact of achieving it (value) might include: larger bonuses, larger dividends for investors, more investment in R&D, and stronger ability to attract top talent.

Case Study

Here's how I would improve an example of each aspect of conceptual agreement:

Objective: Improve teamwork
Better: Create seamless client interfaces with no duplication of effort and with client concerns rectified on first contact.

Metric: People are more confident in dealing with clients
Better: Fewer client issues are referred to senior management and client complaints drop by at least 10 percent.

Value: Clients are happier and complain less.
Better: Client referrals create 10 percent more business than currently achieved, with zero cost of acquisition.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. What do I do if a buyer answers a conceptual agreement question with "I don't know how to measure progress"?

A. Ask how the buyer knows that the current performance isn't satisfactory, creating the need for your discussion. There must be an indicator of poor performance now that can also be used to determine improved performance.


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September 6, 2012
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© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.
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ISSN: 2159-306X

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Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset

Volume 2 Number 7

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