Guide to Client Service: Volume I, ConsultingChapter eight

Addressing Multiple Client Stakeholders

When working in client service and consulting, your direct client point of contact may not always be the final decision maker. It’s important to know all stakeholders who are a part of the decision making process and how to get (or keep) them involved to maintain momentum.

For the purposes of this example, we’ll call this person “Bob”.

In many cases, Bob can be someone’s manager or a peer who is a critical stakeholder to the success of the partnership. To avoid roadblocks along the way, make it an objective to get Bob included in conversations along the way and anticipate what Bob cares about when sharing ideas and recommendations

Two simple ways to include Bob in your projects:

Plan for and address Bob

Get to know what Bob cares about. Address those topics in conversations, presentations, recommendations, deliverables, and reports.

For example: “We’re seeing X happening in [the industry / your report this month / etc]. We know Y is important to you, and Z is important to Bob, so we included both Y and Z so you can share both with Bob.”

Ask for Bob to join in

If we keep hearing about Bob, but never talk with, see, or hear from Bob, why not invite Bob to join the conversation? Whether it’s a separate call, or having Bob join a critical meeting or call; if this stakeholder is a major factor in driving business forward it’s important for you to try and get them involved.

Your client point of contact might continue to reference Bob, often saying things like “We need Bob’s approval,” “Bob needs to weigh in,” or, ”Bob says….”. It’s okay to respond with something like “Can we invite Bob to our next meeting? It sounds like you need to connect with them pretty frequently to move things forward, so if it’s easier for you, we can ask them to join our next meeting”. Then, if Bob does join, make sure to make your client shine in that conversation while aiming to get buy in to keep things moving forward.

The key thing here is that even with having a single point of contact, there are usually other people involved in the decision making process. So find creative and strategic ways to keep them top of mind at all touchpoints, and involved along the way in order to keep things moving.