Occasionally we encounter someone who scoffs at us for referring to those who utilize our consulting services as, “partners” rather than customers or clients. In this blog I will attempt to explain that there is a very solid and well thought out reason we prefer the term partner.
The generally agreed upon definition of a client for business purposes is:
1. A customer
2. A person/group that uses the professional advice or services of another person/group.
The above definitions suggest that the client is someone who pays for something that someone else provides to them, whether it is a commodity or a service. The client has little to no involvement in the creative process thus, the end product.
A partner is commonly defined as:
- Someone who shares or is associated with someone else in some action or endeavor.
- Someone who is associated with someone else as a principal or a contributor of capital in a business venture, usually sharing its risks and profits.
As you can see by these definitions, a partner is someone who has some real skin in the game. They must be engaged in the entire process or it will fail. Their personality and skills have to be utilized in creating the product and outcome of the venture. Therefore, a partner cannot be treated as a “client”. That would mean there is no true collaboration in the relationship. They simply pay for and are delivered a product.
A cookie cutter approach will not be successful in a partnership. Certainly, there are some methods that are tried and true. But, the team created by the joint venture between the consultant and the partner will have its own unique synergy resulting in an end product that is distinctive.
We realize that each and every person/company is different not only because of the individual personalities of the group but also because of their own client base. You may work in a relatively remote area and your customers might be in a specific industry. Or, you might reside in a large metropolitan area with a wide variety of clientele. There are innumerable qualities that make you and your company who and what you are. That means we can’t be successful together if we ignore these truths.
The bottom line is we don’t work with people who are all the same and we don’t provide one-size-fits-all services. We may at times tell you what we think you should do based upon our experience. But, we never hand you the same exact end product as we give to everyone else. At Stuart Selbst Consulting we form a true partnership with the MSPs we work with to help them take their business to the next level.