Consulting tip: three options and a recommendation

When you become a 1099, it's important to change your mindset from that of an employee who waits to be told what to do, to a "consultant" who can help customers think through and solve problems.

One consulting technique you can use that will impress your client is the "three options and a recommendation" e-mail template.

If your client is trying to achieve some goal or gave you some task to do and there are multiple ways you can achieve it (with different costs and benefits), shoot them an e-mail using the following template.

Hi Client,
I've been working on that deliverable you requested and here are a few ways we can get there.
Option A - The First Option
Option A will achieve the objective, but comes with X,Y, and Z downsides.
Option B - The Second Option
Option B will achieve 80% of what you want but can be done much quicker. We can assess other ways to achieve that last 20% at a later date.
Option C - The Third Option
Option C is a totally different approach which might get 125% of the results but it's risky and require a significant amount of time and stakeholder engagement.
I recommend Option B because based on our current constraints it is the most achievable and gets us the most important results.
Please let me know what option you'd like to go with or if you'd like to hop on the phone to discuss. I can set up call on Thursday at 2 PM to discuss.
-Your 1099 consultant

Sending an e-mail like this

  • Shows you are a thoughtful and analytical person
  • Empowers the client to choose without having to think too hard
  • Makes it more likely that the client chooses the option you prefer

Even if you haven't gone 1099 yet, you can try this technique at your current job. Your current boss or client will be impressed!

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