We are living in a time when technology has taken over pretty much everything. It has genuinely reduced the time and space gap. Nothing seems like a dream now! Just as nearly everything is a mere click away, and so are consultants. You can now book both online as well as in-person consultancy sessions using federal processing registry. Could it get any easier?
If you are someone who is currently in the hunt of competent workers, then you have stopped on the correct blog post. In this blog post, we shall discuss at length how you can know that these consultants who now happens to be just a click away are the fastest and the most efficient out there in the market.
Who are the consultants and their responsibilities?
Well, it is a business on the rise! As per research by Source Information Services, about 42 percent of the clients plan on bringing consultants on board in the coming future.
As for who is a consultant, it is an individual who charges in exchange for a piece of expert advice. However, it should be noted that they cannot behold accountable if things go haywire as they are hired only in an advisory capacity and have limited stakes. They are required to fix or improve a specific part of a business they hold expertise within. They may advise, offer suggestions and recommendations, or solve problems in a company or organization.
In light of most cases, consultants are hired mostly before a business launches or perhaps during a launch as per the need. However, there are no limitations here, and they can be utilized as many times if a business seeks rebranding or reorganizing itself.
Any reliable consultant would have the following characteristics under his umbrella. If not, then we guess, you know what to do. Keep going with the hunt until and unless you find one. Compromise here, and there might cost you a lot, so don't lose the calm!
Here you go:
Any recurring client?
It is the one question which you should always ask before choosing a consultant. The world of consultancy comes with quite a high churn rate. But, you are going to go across consultations with claims that they have never in their career lost clients. Allow us to tell you that this is purely a gimmick. For any service, its growth can be assessed by whether or not its growth rate has exceeded the churn rate.
To give you a perspective, if a client does not renew its contract, then it must already be considered as a lost client. So, the point is before you zero upon a consultant, ensure that you have asked its previous hits and misses to pull off a better decision. A wrong choice can jeopardize your business's success and put the stakeholders at risk as well.
It brings us to the next point of what to expect from a consultant who is indeed efficient and genuine.
Has he set an expectation bar?
Any good consultant without your asking will address the expectations both on your and his part.
Additionally, he would even provide a timeframe about when and what to expect. Not only this, but a genuine consultant would straight away tell if any expectation is coming off as an unrealistic one couple with sound logic and reason for your better understanding.
Did you receive a kickoff call?
A kick-off call indicates that you have started on the right foot. If not, then it is alarming to some degree.
Now, why is it SO important to receive one?
First and foremost, a call of such a sort brings both the team and client on the same wavelength. It is an introductory call which can put a lot of questions on the client's mind to rest. It is just one way, and a very instrumental one to instill a sense of confidence into a client that the decision they have taken by putting their trust in here won't go in vain and would bring success.
Moreover, it sets a path and tone for the entire tenure contracts, binds both the client and service provider.
A good kick-off meeting comprises of introduction and background to create familiarity with the client. It then moves on towards the discussion of scope and approach. The former explains what exactly is being done to execute the project, and the latter put forth the ways and tools being used to put things in action.
Next, the kick-off call will surround the potential risks and changes, which is the most critical point! It should tell both the client and consultant about their respective approaches concerning this and whether or not they share any common ground.
Do they call you weekly?
An efficient consultant knows to make weekly calls to its client and update about all the happenings. He would consider as part of the job to ensure that there are absolutely no delays in these calls and that not even a single request is unattended.
Make them aware of the upcoming things and ask them if they have any questions they would like answers for any. These calls also make the clients feel they and their feedback is being-held in the highest regard. In turn, it only works in favor of the consultants as it enhances and endorses their credibility.
The monthly reports:
At the end of each month, your consultant should be sending what we call a monthly report, and in it everything that transpired. Moreover, the consultant should discuss the news in person or at least on the phone.
Speaking of which it should be easy to read and understand. The information in the report should be conveyed through visual aids like graphs or pie charts for clarity. Correct usage of color must be incorporated so the client could resonate and assimilate well enough. Such a report will in itself speak a great deal about the consultant and his work ethics.
Acquaint the client with industry updates:
To begin with, this is one of the smartest ways to be in touch with the client. It helps in maintaining the working relationship. Above all, the client feels well taken care of, valued, and unique. Most importantly, it reflects the fact that you are well-versed and well-informed about your field.
If you are a consultant providing design consultancy, then make sure you are keeping in loop your client with some out of the box design news. Similarly, if you happen to be providing help with marketing, send them up some latest information related to marketing.
As repetitive as we may sound, but a genuine consultant will care about his customer's feedback. You will receive a monthly study, bearing questions about any improvement you as a client would like to see in the future.
A quality survey won't bear generic questions like, "Are you happy" but will have specific questions exuding professionalism. For instance, a quality study means including items such as, "please share how can we make the weekly calls better?" or what more would you like to see in the next monthly report?
Other than the points above, a consultant's success does not depend upon the college degree or stack of work experience. A consultant can only find success if he has the potential to lead and present stances on rational grounds. His communication and expression should be so lucid that it strikes the client. The speech should be eloquent as well as coherent.
The most instrumental trait is that of being able to work in a team. Now, this is where the consultant's leadership skills will come out loud and clear.
Furthermore, a consultant should be rich with ingenuity qualities such as being smart, highly innovative, and exceptionally charismatic and inspirational.
It pretty much sums up an efficient and competent consultant. We do not deny that a degree puts a stamp on the skills, but being able to project those skills is an art, and not everybody can become a consultant considering this. However, these factors, by all means, are acquirable. A little effort, and you can also find success as a consultant.
Let's dive into what makes it a wise decision to opt for consultants.
A birds-eye view:
Nothing happens overnight, and the same is the case with becoming consultants. They haven't become what they are overnight. A lot of hard work, research, study, and of course, have contributed to their status as a consultant. In light of their earned experience, they have perfected their specialty by thoroughly learning the ins and outs of a particular subject.
Due to this, they can very quickly identify the issues and provide a solution as a third person would, however, with impeccable expertise.
By the third person, we mean that a consultant won't be under the influence as you as an owner or an in-house member would. There won't be any personal bias involved, and the solution would rely upon the data and information shared. To sum up, they come with a kind of neutrality that is only beneficial for you and the business both in the short and long run.
A breath of fresh air:
If your business requires a new perspective, then the chances are that it is not going to find any within the organization. It is something evident as to expect fresh ideas or views from someone who has been practicing breathing within the office is just useless. That's where a consultant might work! A consultant will look at your business from a lens so different that you will be grateful to your own decision of going for a consultant. The learning, knowledge, and strategic approach gathered from handling other businesses will bring in a lot of food for thought.
It will also be refreshing for the employees who must have been tired of all the monotony and are in dire need of some change. For any business to soar, it is of paramount importance that its staff remains happy and full of energy. And, a consultant might do that!
Not only this but hiring these will also bring in the sense of relief on your overworked staff. So, in a way, it is one cost-effective measure to release some of the burdens while at the same time bringing a fresh stream into your business.
Also, allowing your staff to go for a little break will only get you in their good books and garner appreciation for respecting their rendered services.
There are many consultants out there who take immense pride in imparting their subject matter expertise with clients. Sometimes, all one needs is a little advice, tips, and tricks, and this is where a consultant can be that ray of hope in the dark tunnel.
We kid you not when we say that alongside their regular services, consultants offer to mentor and training as part of their services. It also allows you to have hands-on exposure to things you would never get otherwise.
They can be a real, long-lasting professional partner to whom you can always go, knock on the door and request mentorship.
Whether a business is big or small, it does require some fresh input, and taking up the services of a consultant in this regard should be normalized. Speaking of this, we think now you must have correctly understood how hiring consultants can be one heck of low risk, low investment option yet something that would yield the maximum output. On top of that, you are now well aware of what is it that you need to look out to know whether or not you are choosing the right consultant. Hence, now that you have this little guideline at your disposal, make sure to reach out to a consultant next time you feel stuck, burdened, understaffed, or in need of something new. Because, now, the fastest and the most efficient consultants are just a step away!