Here's a question from a reader who works on the tech space as a financial advisor:
Congrats on the newsletter Danilo, this is gold. Question: how available should I be to clients? Being there for clients is important, but I wonder whether being TOO available doesn't devalue my time and services.
Before answering, a quick reminder that context matters. For certain types of law practices, for example, being available for your clients 24/7 might be necessary (a criminal practice is one). But these are exceptions and something we don't see among the vast majority of consulting firms.
Now if you look online or survey consulting peers you will find advice on both sides. Some are in favor of being busy. Others for being available.
My simple answer to this is both. Both busy and available.
No, you don't need to suffer from multiple personality disorder to achieve this. You don't need to do two things at the same time. It's a matter of communication.
First, you should be busy.
Being busy means your time is scarce. Remember the principle of scarcity - we want more of what there is less of. Clients will give more value to your time and work than someone who they can talk to any time they want.
This is backed by extensive research, by the way. Several publications showed how:
- We desire and prefer things that are scarce.
- We assume that things that are scarce cost more.
- We assume things that cost more are better.
That means that if you're busy, you should let your clients know.
But being available is important too.
Being available says you care. That you are committed to helping your clients. That you put their interests first.
Most consultants struggle with this since they believe the two things are mutually exclusive - you are either scarce or available. As I said, you can have it both ways. It's all about communication.
Here's an example of how you can reply to someone asking for your time:
The team and I are in the middle of several large engagements right now, but I'd be happy to move some things around to chat next Tuesday.
Mentioning your engagements communicates your scarcity. And rearranging your schedule to find time for the client shows you care about them.
Your time is valuable. You do work hard to serve other clients and manage your consulting business. Sharing this in an honest and authentic way is crucial if you want prospects and clients to value and respect your work.