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Customer (Build-Sell) or Client (Sell-Build)

Project Managers delivering internal or external projects (Consultant Project Managers) need to have a clear understanding of what makes us different from traditional businesses.

In traditional businesses, firstly, a product is made and later sold (probably also requiring a little installation/implementation). Build-sell-implement business cycles have been the production approach in traditional businesses. Traditional business build products that are standard (i.e. industrialization) and slightly customizable (i.e. they try the ‘one size fits all’ approach – something that of course is impossible).

On the other hand, in Business Consultancy the cycle is completely different. Consultant Project Managers firstly use their diagnostic processes and skills to sell, usually by doing an initial assessment of the Client’s needs. Then they sell a solution to cover those needs. Later the product is built, and finally installed/implemented. The Consulting approach permits full customization for Business needs.

The two approaches also define very different relationships between the buyer. In traditional business the buyer is the Customer. In Business Consulting, the buyer is the Client.

Customers can buy products by attending to their characteristics, including quality attributes. Traditional Marketing also helps reaching more product sales.

On the other hand in Business Consulting, Clients buy unique custom solutions that also mens that they are not easily comparable. This means that a more strong relationship of confidence needs to be built between Consultant Project Managers and Clients (i.e. consulting engagement).

Try putting yourself in the Client’s shoes, by buying a product that is not yet built and choosing who is going to drive the project. That is a high risk decisión!

Consultants need to become Trusted Advisors for their Clients, and Project Managers need to become Trusted Advisors for their Sponsors. Also trust is what drives the overall Project Life Cycle. The Client, Project Manager, Project Team, Stakeholders, Sponsor and Senior Management, all need to believe that the project will succeed.

The power of trust drives Project Management. Which also means the “human factor” in projects. Traditional products are that, only products. But Business Consulting and Project Management is performed by people that trust in achieving a common objective.

Our own assignment for projects as Project Managers is a matter of trust.

Why your Client should trust in you? How do you build Trust?

I will suggest four ways:
1) Use ISO International Standards as ISO 21500 in you projects. This will provide more reliable delivery method.
2) Become a Certified Project Manager as this will increase your trust.
3) Join the Trusted and Reputed Community of Project Managers:
4) Contribute by writing articles for the community, so that you will increase your reputation as an Expert on in these matters.

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