The topic was to identify how we select / screen prospective clients?

Discussion topic framed around the book ‘Flawless Consulting’ by Peter Block.

A good summary of the book is provided in the following link:


-A lot of the success of a consulting arrangement arises from the terms negotiated in the first meeting. While it is a service arrangement consultants have needs also and must make sure these are taken care of as part of the agreement.

-Accepting terms that you don’t like just to win the project isn’t always a good idea ie winning jobs at any cost is generally not a productive strategy for developing a business

-Three approaches identified for a working relationship with a client:

-pair of hands (someone who will do anything to make the client happy)

-expert (lectures the client on the right way to do the project)

-collaboration (information exchanges between client and consultants to develop the best strategy)


-Vital to have an ‘authentic’ relationship with the client

-Getting consultants / clients to lay themselves open and say what they are looking for from the relationship upfront

-Consultants can say / do things in organizations that internal client members can’t.

-Building client profiles (who do you want to work with / who clicks with how you want to work)

-screening through contracting

-Contracts are often too vague. Lay out in the contract actually what your terms and requirements are.

-lay out what you need from the client

-lay out what you are providing

-Tolerating mistakes burns goodwill. Earning goodwill takes time

-Confidence and seniority of the client team effects how honest you can be with them

-middle managers just want to hear yes

-senior leaders often have the confidence to hear some negative news and still move forward

Expertise vs Facilitating

-Debate between junior members of office who want to be experts and tell clients what to do vs senior members who see themselves as facilitators helping clients reach a decision.

-Rules of engagement



Challenges of honesty

-How do you tell a client that their project / organization has fundamental flaws and is never going to be beautiful whatever you do to it.

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