We consider young team members on the client side of a consulting engagement to be ideal prospects as annuity clients as their careers mature. As bright stars take new positions, we want them to remember us as allies who can help them move projects further, faster, smarter.
Spot the rockets. Talk as a team about the client’s best and brightest junior players. Make it someone’s job on your team to see that these fast-movers have everything they need to participate fully in the engagement. Look for ways to help them deepen an analysis, strengthen a deliverable, or add an extra dimension to the project.
Think peer-to-peer. Partner your team’s fast-movers with their client-side counterparts. This can be win-win if both push the other to question, learn, and grow. Sometimes all it takes is permission. Ideally, relationships between junior team members will mature alongside the senior team, adding perspective and strengthening the engagement.
Challenge hierarchies. Remind your senior members to make time to engage with junior-level client contacts. Extending respect to junior team members—by soliciting opinions, adding courtesy ccs on e-mails, and acknowledging thoughtful contributions among colleagues builds trust and deepens relationships.
Exchange feedback. Be generous with thank yous and personal notes to your junior-level clients. Do this not just when things work out well, but perhaps more importantly when set-backs prompt a lessons-learned discussion.