Business Consultants- it is no secret that your product is your time and the knowledge you hold in your head. The knowledge that you disciplined yourself to spend hours of time reading and learning, perfecting, and most importantly; sharing to improve the business of others.
But it seems to be a secret that we should be paid accordingly and only held accountable to the outcomes when a client follows what we instruct them to do to improve their bottom line. That is why they hire us right?
This is a subject dear to my heart, my work as a consultant, and more importantly my reputation as a consultant. IF I promise you something, in writing, I will deliver. BUT. as my client, you have to take responsibility for your part too.
When clients hire consultants and then talk about them like a dog when things don’t seem to work out they way they expected; you can’t always blame the consultant. Somehow, conveniently , the client forgets that the consultant they hired gave them a plan to follow to resolve and/or improve their project and they did not follow it. So why give the consultant a bad name and try to ruin their reputation because you, the client, didn’t want to do what it takes to be a success? Consultants are not always at fault. Be real and analyze the situation honestly. You may find you are the one at fault and not the consultant.
I am not saying that consultants are never at fault. What I am saying is this: Clients hire consultants for a reason. In most cases the failure is that the client does not heed to the plan given by the consultant. The consultant does the research and works out a plan to help the client get the job done when they don’t know how to do something in particular that the consultant they hire does. So why did you hire someone in the first place if you already knew best? Be fair.
Continue reading to learn how to have the best experience with a client and/or your consultant. Remember, you hired them for a reason to help you do something you didn’t know how to do.
There is a thin line between love and hate; between success and failure. Where do you stand? The consultant usually stands in the middle of the road. It is up to the client to take it to one side or the other. The question is: “To follow the plan OR not to follow the plan” Client’s if you want to have success and hold the consultant accountable for the outcome whatever it may be. Follow the plan, do your part. And then and only then can you truly say, it’s the consultants fault.
Consultants, here are some valuable tips that will help you put your ducks in a row for clients who sometimes give you much grief.
Before you sign the contract, be brutally honest with the client about what is expected of them in order for them to receive the desired end results. IF it offends them then you don’t really want them as your client anyway. Let me tell you, hind sight is not always best. One bad contract can ruin you or at least take a long time of damage control to recover from. Sometimes it is best to walk away from a deal to protect your business reputation.
After you have designed the plan for the project. Go over every Required Action in bullet point form with your client. Let them know this is ongoing and that the way in which business development works is constant and never-ending change and improvement. Keep them updated on what is required of them. Let them know before you start that updates will be coming. It is a given and the nature of the beast while you peel the onion to their success.
Don’t be afraid to stop and let the client know that if they don’t do their part; they cannot expect the desired end results as agreed. (This is one I myself have trouble with. It is uncomfortable and requires much polishing. But remember, if we don’t do this. Then clients will undoubtedly blame us for not doing our job that they hired us to do)
People are people. We are all different. We have different approaches to things. And no matter what we do; people will always talk about us. However, when you are in the consulting business where reputation is everything realize word of mouth is king. Protect your image and your work ethic as long as you have a good one to start. If you are honest and upfront with folks; they have no right to disgrace you. Stand up for your work with a 100% guarantee as long as you can back it up and deliver. Take your business seriously and others will respect you for it. Whether they tell you that or not reflects the kind of character they are; not you.
Good luck Consultants. Do your best. Give your 110%
Remember one of my favorite quotes that I wrote:
“Never lie, cheat, or steal. Always strike a fair deal.” (EMLee 1996)
If you need the help of a down to earth business consultant who will work her butt off for you. Contact me only if you are willing to do your part too!
Follow me on twitter @ExceptionsBE
Face Book me at “PR With A PUrpose”