Pop quiz: What are the biggest challenges consultants face every day?

A)Finding new clients

B) Spending too much time on Facebook

C) Getting the information they need

D) Deciding what to eat for lunch

Pencils down, papers in. Whoever answered “b” gets a free donut. (Just kidding.)

When we put out this question to consultants working in a variety of industries, 66% said finding new clients is their biggest challenge—surprise, surprise. But around half of respondents said getting the information they need from clients was also a daily challenge. Which is kind of a head-scratcher considering that clients are the ones paying you money (hopefully lots of it) to help them fix a problem. So why aren’t they giving you all the pieces of the puzzle?

“It’s like he’s trying to speak to me, I know it.”

Remember that scene in Finding Nemo when the baby turtle is talking and Nemo’s dad can’t understand a word he’s saying? It’s kind of like that. Anyone who works as a consultant knows that even when your clients are good communicators—returning phone calls and emails, showing up for meetings, having lengthy conversations—sometimes you still can’t get the information from them that you really need.

Part of the challenge is that clients are so wrapped up in the day-to-day running of their business the (problematic) way it is now that they can lose perspective—which is exactly why they need you, an outsider, to help them understand the size and scope of the issue. At the same time, you need their insider info to grasp the details about what’s going wrong so you can figure out what might work better. What you need is to bring your two perspectives together. You need to collaborate.

Collaboration is key—so why isn’t everyone doing it?

Turns out that the consultants we surveyed already know this—97% said client collaboration was either “very important” or “extremely important” to their business. And over 60% said one of the top three issues affecting their work in 2017 is client communication. At the same time, they’re still using old school, 20th century tools to collaborate with colleagues and clients, like spreadsheets, word-processing documents, and PowerPoint presentations. Come on guys, what’s next—you going to fax over your recommendations?

It’s the 21st century. Start acting like it.

The good news is that cutting-edge collaboration tools can help you collaborate visually with clients from day one, engaging them in your process and enabling both sides to share knowledge in a dynamic, innovative way. When you and your clients work together you can get instant feedback so you know you’re on the same page. Cut out all back and forth to save a lot of time and money.