Ever notice that things hidden in plain sight are the hardest to discover? That could be the salt shaker next to the sauce bottle, the article of clothing you are looking for in the wardrobe, and it can be information and even concepts.

Every person who gives advice to their clients is probably suffering from this “Hidden in plain sight” issue. Let me explain that. By definition you know more than your client – if you didn’t they wouldn’t have needed your services. That means you are expected to perform some actions that your client can’t. That’s all good, and only to be expected. But there is a hidden issue here.

Your client doesn’t know what the problem is, what the solution is, or maybe both. There are any number of questions that you can ask in order to identify the problem and solution, but if your client doesn’t know then how can they give you any sensible answer? Your consultation must begin in unknown territory.

You may discover many facts, and those facts may imply or even point to the root cause, but at the end of the day you are relying on imperfect information in order to discover the real problem and thus the solution. Your background knowledge of the industry, location, and business cycle will help, but you are rolling the dice every time. You are giving advice that is based at least in part on incomplete information.

The trouble is that this may well be the best case scenario. So far we’ve only considered a genuine lack of knowledge on the part of your client. They also may not give you some information because they are embarrassed about the circumstances, because they don’t know enough to connect that fact to your question, or even that they just didn’t consider it important enough.

The way out of this conundrum is to ask questions that will discover things of which your client is not consciously aware, and use that information to pinpoint the problem and solution. Better yet – we’ve already done that for you.

The Brand Perception Assessment will identify how your client’s brand is rated in each of ten categories, offer guidance regarding the areas most in need of repair and what to do, and it is priced so that it can be a normal part of your consulting process. You can run it from your own website, so your clients are not aware that they are using someone else’s assessment. You get all the credit and kudos. Find out more at www.bpireport.com.

Let us know what you think in the comments section.