Some problems are very obvious, however, others are not so easily identified. Proactive problem solving can help your clients avoid future emergencies. Set your clients up for success by identifying future problems that could arise based upon other experiences you’ve had working with clients or from your own personal experiences. By educating your clients in advance, you will help them to remain calm and in control when issues or challenges arise.
Be sure that you continue to watch for changes in your clients’ needs and market dynamics. Monitor trends that are relevant to your expertise. Experts are always at the top of their game due to becoming educated way ahead of industry standards.
After identifying a potential problem, you need information:
- What factors contribute to the problem?
- Who is involved with it?
- What solutions have been tried before?
- What do others think about the problem?
If you move forward in finding a solution for your client too quickly, you run the risk of relying on imperfect information that’s based on assumptions and limited perspectives. To avoid this, make sure that you research the problem thoroughly.
Once you understand the problem, define it clearly and completely. Next, establish specific boundaries for solving it. This keeps the scope from growing too large and allows you to step back and open your mind to a much sharper and more comprehensive definition to the problem. With a clear definition of the problem, start generating ideas for a solution. The key here is to be flexible with the way you approach a problem. You want to be able to see it from as many expert perspectives as possible. Looking for patterns or common elements in different parts of the problem can sometimes help.
When solving problems for my clients, I often use traditional brainstorming that allows both my client and me to work as a team. Working as a team also helps get my clients to “buy into” my suggestions, as they are ideas that come directly from the brainstorming and reverse brainstorming process. When you take the time to generate a range of creative solutions to the problem as a team, you’ll significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll find the best possible solution, rather than a one-sided approach.
After developing ideas, decide which elements are needed for a realistic and practical solution. Additionally, think about the criteria and steps required between potential solutions. For example, I help my students create a quick-cash action plan that offers the solution of generating income fast. To do this, I need to first discover the problems my clients may have around their marketing that could have blocked opportunities to gaining more prospects and more sales. Once I’ve discovered the problem or marketing obstacle that blocks their success, I make suggestions and offer solutions that will allow money to flow faster and easier to them.
You might think choosing a solution is the end of a problem-solving process. In fact, it’s simply the start of the next phase in the problem solving process: implementation. This involves lots of planning and preparation. It’s important to let your client know how to make preparations as you begin to roll out your proposed solution. For smaller projects action plans can be put into place, but for the larger projects you’ll need to be able to help with the change management.
As part of the planning process, you must convince your client that your expert solution is the best one. You’re likely meet with resistance, so before you try to “sell” your idea, make sure you’ve considered all the consequences. As you begin communicating your plan, listen to what your client has to say and make adjustments as necessary. The better the overall solution meets your client’s needs, the greater its positive impact will be!
Finally, once you’ve convinced your client that your proposed solution is worth running, you can move on to the implementation action stage. This is the exciting and most rewarding part of problem solving, which makes the whole process worthwhile as an expert. The more value you bring to your client, the more they will pay for your advice. That’s why they’ll pay you the BIG BUCKS!