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expert
Expert with best answer

Adi

100% Recommendation Rate

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7,712 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

5

How to ask an uncooperative client for important data?

MBB

How do top firms' consultants approach clients who are unwilling to help or provide data?

How do top firms' consultants approach clients who are unwilling to help or provide data?

5 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Adi

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There are many strategies for this:

  1. Introduce yourself and the project properly. Dont jump straight into the ask. Giving context will help them understand the objectives
  2. Ask nicely, be collaborative and show them the how their support is critical for the project success. Follow up in writing with an email & set a reasonable deadline for them to get back to you
  3. Show social approval i.e how others in the client have responded to similar requests and how quckly (e.g. they got back to you in 2 days)
  4. Time your request- ask at start of the week e.g. Mon afternoon or Tue late morning. Dont ask late on thur or Fri
  5. Make it easy for them act e.g. send data request templates, or offer to work directly with their team to get the data. Hopefully you get the point
  6. If you dont anything back on time and if the project timelines & urgency permits, send them a chaser but dont escalate this yet
  7. If no collaboration at all, get your manager to chase or someone who knows the clients or has a good relationship with them. Dont escalate yet if its feasible but make the manager & team aware without blame game that timelines could slip if data doesnt come back on time
  8. If all fails then escalate to bosses at a time when you feel this delay could jeopardise the project timelines & deliverables. Sometimes this will have to be done sooner, so use your judgment

There are many strategies for this:

  1. Introduce yourself and the project properly. Dont jump straight into the ask. Giving context will help them understand the objectives
  2. Ask nicely, be collaborative and show them the how their support is critical for the project success. Follow up in writing with an email & set a reasonable deadline for them to get back to you
  3. Show social approval i.e how others in the client have responded to similar requests and how quckly (e.g. they got back to you in 2 days)
  4. Time your request- ask at start of the week e.g. Mon afternoon or Tue late morning. Dont ask late on thur or Fri
  5. Make it easy for them act e.g. send data request templates, or offer to work directly with their team to get the data. Hopefully you get the point
  6. If you dont anything back on time and if the project timelines & urgency permits, send them a chaser but dont escalate this yet
  7. If no collaboration at all, get your manager to chase or someone who knows the clients or has a good relationship with them. Dont escalate yet if its feasible but make the manager & team aware without blame game that timelines could slip if data doesnt come back on time
  8. If all fails then escalate to bosses at a time when you feel this delay could jeopardise the project timelines & deliverables. Sometimes this will have to be done sooner, so use your judgment
Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi there,

Adi has given a great answer.

Let me just boil it down a bit more simply to make it all more memorable!

"Talk softly and carry a big stick" - Teddy Roosevelt

  1. Start with empathy. When you first meet any client, get to know them. Ask about them, hear about their lives/days if that's what they want to talk about or their complaints/gripes if that's what they want to talk about. Show them you're just like them
  2. Be as unobstrusive as possible - Make your request very clear, very simple, and do as much for them​ as possible to make their job easier (i.e. setup the excel columns for them). Secondly, be darn sure exactly what you need from them when you ask. .The worst thing you can do is get them to spend a bunch of time for you, only to then tell them you need it done differently, or you missed something, or need something else. You need minimal "asks"
  3. Bring "color" to your request - asking in person is always best. Starting off the conversation with small-talk is generally best (if they're that type of person). When asking, try and show them why it's important and how they'll be recognized for helping you.

^If the above steps fail, escalate early and often to your manager. They will know whether the individual's boss needs to be contacted to put some urgency to the matter :)

Hi there,

Adi has given a great answer.

Let me just boil it down a bit more simply to make it all more memorable!

"Talk softly and carry a big stick" - Teddy Roosevelt

  1. Start with empathy. When you first meet any client, get to know them. Ask about them, hear about their lives/days if that's what they want to talk about or their complaints/gripes if that's what they want to talk about. Show them you're just like them
  2. Be as unobstrusive as possible - Make your request very clear, very simple, and do as much for them​ as possible to make their job easier (i.e. setup the excel columns for them). Secondly, be darn sure exactly what you need from them when you ask. .The worst thing you can do is get them to spend a bunch of time for you, only to then tell them you need it done differently, or you missed something, or need something else. You need minimal "asks"
  3. Bring "color" to your request - asking in person is always best. Starting off the conversation with small-talk is generally best (if they're that type of person). When asking, try and show them why it's important and how they'll be recognized for helping you.

^If the above steps fail, escalate early and often to your manager. They will know whether the individual's boss needs to be contacted to put some urgency to the matter :)

(edited)

Book a coaching with Henning

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Ask nicely and with empathy. If that doesn't work escalate quickly. Delayed data can derail the entire project, so critical to get this in place quickly.

Ask nicely and with empathy. If that doesn't work escalate quickly. Delayed data can derail the entire project, so critical to get this in place quickly.

Book a coaching with Antonello

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Hi, cooperative persuasion is an important skill to develop, sometimes assessed during the Personal Experience Interview. The first step is aligning the client with the overall goal of the CEO, while showing how important would be also for her team the achievement. If it does not work you can make an escalation to the management.

Best,
Antonello

Hi, cooperative persuasion is an important skill to develop, sometimes assessed during the Personal Experience Interview. The first step is aligning the client with the overall goal of the CEO, while showing how important would be also for her team the achievement. If it does not work you can make an escalation to the management.

Best,
Antonello

Book a coaching with Clara

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+1 Adi and lol Ian! ;)

+1 Adi and lol Ian! ;)

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