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HOME::Customer Service

Top 7 Intangible Deliverables in Professional Service Businesses

By Tom Varjan

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Most consulting engagements get bogged down at a tactical level, and all parties involved get busy generating deliverables, instead of working on improving the status quo.

The important point is that at any one time clients do their absolute best to improve their conditions, and the situation they are in is the result of performing at their absolute best. However, working harder out of their existing frame of reference will not help them to improve the situation.

Regardless of how many pounds of reports some consultants generate, these clients are still stuck in their paradigms, which is the cause of their problems. And you can run create hundreds of reports and other typical deliverables, no improvement will take place.

Your greatest value for smart clients is the intangible deliverables you provide because that will provide lasting positive change in your clients’ futures.

Now let’s the Top 7 of these intangible deliverables.

  1. LEADERSHIP - Your clients receive direction from you for their projects. In a world filled with complexity, your clients need clarity about where to go and what to do next. It is very easy today to lose sight of where your focus should be and become paralysed by fear or indecision.

    Note that highly successful people admit this natural flaw easily. The problem is with egotistical chronic underperformers, but they must be ignored anyway. Even highly successful people experience this immobilising complexity, which often results from having more opportunities than they can handle. We create value when we help clients to gain a sense of simplicity in their complex thinking about their futures.

  2. RELATIONSHIP - Your clients receive confidence through your relationships. Your clients can operate at a higher level when they feel supported in what they are doing. However, this support can only come from other people. Creating value through relationship happens when you increase your clients’ confidence by repeatedly demonstrating them that you are someone they can trust and rely on, someone who is focusing on their strengths and playing on their team. While confidence is something that we feel as individuals, it really comes from others with whom we have relationships. Good relationships provide confidence. The people we can rely on and who support and protect us give us confidence. Confidence is vital to success in any endeavour.

  3. CREATIVITY - Your clients receive capability from you to move forward. Creativity goes beyond the conventional realm of services to include any kind of capability that you provide. Clients are not interested in your services per se. What they are really interested in are the new capabilities embodied in those services. Value creation through creativity can mean providing new tools, techniques, structures, systems or ways of thinking to solve problems and ­ even more importantly - innovate.

  4. TRUST - Your clients receive a peer-level relationship with you, which are based on mutual trust and respect. This is the only type of relationship in which all parties involved can openly speak their minds candidly address any issue good or bad.

  5. TRUTH - Since you are free from internal politics and various other internal issues, you must tell the truth even if it means losing the gig. If clients fire you for being brutally - if necessary - honest, it shows they cannot learn. They would be like a dog which was refused a bone once, and now is willing to tear anyone into little pieces as revenge, without thinking why.

  6. CHALLENGE - Your job is to be a pedigree butt-kicker. You must challenge your clients and make certain they grow and learn from everything they do. You must take them by the hand (because you care) but with your other hand you must hold a torch under their feet to make certain they are moving forward towards their goals as they have never moved before in their entire lives.

    There is one thing to be careful about. As a result of applying these deliverables, you will be attributed with some great things in your client’s company. Take it very easy with taking credit for stuff.

    Your clients and their people’s feelings of gratitude towards you can backfire. Relying too much on your help can easily lead to your clients’ people to resenting themselves (after all, they failed to do it without your help), and that can create incredible level of resentment towards you. Now they owe you too much.

    So, make sure you spread out the credits among all the people.

  7. FEEDBACK - Your clients receive your honest and unbiased feedback. Unlike clients and their internal people, you are free of internal politics and emotional attachments to clients and their businesses. And give that feedback even if you risk of being fired.

    If clients fire you for being honest, those are not the right relationships anyway, and they can turn sour later. The sooner you get out of them, the better it is for your sanity.

Organisational Provocateur, Tom "Bald Dog" Varjan of Dynamic Innovations Squad helps professional service firms and solo service professionals to become top-paid premium service providers in their fields. His web site offers a broad range of free tools and resources for professional service firms both gigantic and microscopic.
Visit his site at


Article Submitted On: June 08, 2004