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BLOGAddressing the Client Bandwidth Issue

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Business Development, Sales

After working hard for months, then submitting your proposal, your prospective client drops a bomb. They tell you that they love the proposal, that you precisely understand their needs, the solution is perfect and the pricing works. But since they don’t have the bandwidth, they can’t move forward.

Addressing the Client Bandwidth Issue

Assuming that this is truly the reason (it sometimes isn’t), then what are your options? Here are four ideas:

  1. The problem here may not be one of time, but one of prioritization. Work with the client to help them re-quantify the real cost of not going through with the project. Consider lost opportunities, lost clients, increased costs, increased business risk, increased employee turnover, and brand impact.
  2. Consider a “done-for-you” option, where some of their responsibilities are handled by a person on your team. Either embed one of your team members with them full-time on contract, or have them outsource the most time-consuming aspects of the project to you.
  3. Flex-schedule: Instead of a fixed project timeline, allow the deadlines and the work cadence to flex based on their availability. Bandwidth often becomes available when there is positive momentum. If you do choose this, the contract would need to be amended to include a “standby” charge or minimum monthly payment.
  4. Scope change: Ask the client how much bandwidth they would have, and reduce the scope to fit. While this might not be possible in all situations, the remainder of the scope can be addressed in later phases.


The best way to address client bandwidth is well before the proposal is even submitted. Ask at the outset, and then keep tabs on the issue as your proposal is developed.

Client Bandwidth insight: Too often, consultants underestimate how disruptive their project is to their clients. In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, extra cycles are rarely available to do special work: everyone already has a day job. The more sensitive you are to this issue, the more likely the proposal will be accepted, and the more likely the project will be successful.

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