By: Mike Lovell – September 23, 2022
When a consultant brings an engagement to completion, it is vital to ensure that it ends with a crescendo—not a whimper.
And always remember that the conclusion need not be an ending—instead, it should be managed as the start of something new.
What the completion looks like will vary from case to case. Typically, the completion of an engagement will involve some kind of wrap-up meeting to present a final report with findings, recommendations, and next steps.
If at all possible, you should avoid (the situation in which you just send that final report to the client, and that’s it.
The ideal situation is where the client and their key stakeholders attend a wrap-up presentation in which you have the opportunity to walk them through the key findings and recommendations. This ensures that:
It also gives an opportunity for your client to garner support and commitment from the stakeholders to actually move forward with the recommendations.
Opportunity Lost is what occurs when you just say well, the work is completed, and I’ll send the final report.
Of course, you can’t control your client’s schedule, and sometimes they might say- just send the report. But, whenever possible, you should urge them that they will get better value if you can organize that wrap-up meeting and walk them through it.
Whatever happens, once the point of completion is reached is a golden opportunity for you to declare the engagement’s success.
Firstly, you should write a formal letter thanking them for the opportunity. Then, you go on to declare what was accomplished, harking back to the original proposal in which you stated the overall goals and the benefits that would accrue to the client organization.
Most commonly, those benefits will not all have been completed as soon as the engagement is concluded, and there will be ongoing actions for the client organization to implement
In this case, you can still declare success with statements like: “The design of the new organization structure will now position your organization to move forward aggressively and take advantage of new market opportunities.”
The time of completion is also the ideal time to seek a client testimonial and ask if they will be willing to be a reference for future work with others.
And finally, this is also the ideal time to open the door to the future.
Having just completed a successful engagement is the ideal time to ask if there may be more ways in which you can assist.
Depending on the nature of the organization, it can also be an ideal time to ask if there may be other parts of the organization that might be interested in discussing your services and to ask if your client is agreeable for you the mention their name when you make contact.