Consulting engagements are growing by leaps and bounds and you can expect that to continue because of the complexity social media adds to all things marketing related.
Experience is what makes the difference between mediocre results and real progress – but no matter how brilliant you or the people you hire are there is one challenge you must overcome:
SOMEONE has to drive your project – and if you aren’t doing it your consultant must!
Far too many businesses do not really understand what they want or what the people they hire actually do. Alas, most of them don’t want to know and they tune out when their consultant tries to get information from them.
WORKING WITH CONSULTANTS
The more closely you work with your specialists and service providers the better job they will do and the happier you will be with what is accomplished. If you will not answer their questions or make time for them, in the long run you are likely to be disappointed.
One of the greatest frustrations with having clients is that they don’t answer important questions. I recently got some insight into WHY some clients fail to answer. In frustration, I finally kept copying and pasting the question into chat over and over trying to get the answer I had to have to complete the project in progress.
Finally, the client – still not answering the question – asked whether chat was having a problem because the same words kept repeating. I explained that I really had to have the answer to that question – and he replied “what question”.
It never dawned on me before that a person would not recognize a question.
Sentences starting with why, how, or asking quantities or for information
that end in a question mark (?) are questions that need to be answered.
The education most Americans get is so poor that even basics like recognizing questions as questions can NOT be taken for granted. So if your consultant keeps repeating themselves or your clients do not answer what you ask, remember this post and find a way to get what you need.
MESSAGE FOR CONSULTANTS
Someone has to drive a project, and often clients do not respond and that causes delays and that causes unhappy clients. Many of us naturally communicate in a ‘tit for tat’ manner where we send a request and wait for a reply.
If the other person does not respond the project stagnates.
The consultant will be waiting for the client to reply. This is where the problem occurs. Ideally, the business would respond immediately, but often they do not.
Sometimes their email did not arrive. Few realize that ISPs delete any email that triggers a spam algorithm without notifying sender or recipient – and that is why you must always use Closed Loop Communications methods.
Consultants who want to keep clients happy have to be willing to keep interacting regularly. This is essential because if you do not the client will blame you for the failed project or failure to achieve goals even when they dropped the ball. Never assume they understood your request or that they did not reply. Sometimes they did, but you did not receive it.
Businesses that drive the project themselves get better results!
Even if your consultant is wise enough to keep the project on track for you, remember that the squeeky wheel gets priority. If you don’t answer promptly, other tasks will get done before yours. When you check in regularly (but professionally and pleasantly), yours will get done first.
People who are a joy to work with get better results than those who aren’t!
No one enjoys being criticized, harassed, or working with selfish others who have unrealistic expectations. Yes, you should have a clear idea what you want and communicate accurately. But if you are obnoxious you will end up on avoid and ignore!
Life is complicated today. Success requires advanced skills in many different specialities and those who collaborate achieve vastly greater success. There are only so many brilliant consultants and exceptional clients, so I encourage you to seek each other out and work together.
Could you benefit from working with a consultant? Read Jennifer Mattern’s recent post What to Look For in a Social Media Consultant to decide and for some excellent tips. As she points out, never make the mistake of assuming anyone who can use Twitter can manage your business social media. That can be very embarrassing and cause permanent brand damage.
The infographic below contains some key insights into the consulting world. I specifically want to point out that there is one common denominator shared by everyone I personally know who is financially successful:
Focus on building personal relationships with people who will recommend you!
People buy from people they like. They prefer to do business
with people who are pleasant to work with who sincerely care
about them and can produce results.
Focusing on real relationships with real people will benefit you more than having 50,000 Twitter followers or driving half a million impressions and 150 RTs or having Facebook fans you have to pay to reach!
According to this infographic, 38% of consultants say referrals make them the most money. When the rest of them have been consulting long enough, I have no doubt that they will join that group. If you want to be successful, you have to make it easy for others to recommend you. Read How to Get Recommended: Recommendations ARE WHAT WORKS to Grow Your Small Business or Blog.
So just how big is the consulting market? Here are some details:
- Computers: Consultants
- Internet and Online: Consultants
- Telecommunications: Consultants
- Environment: Consultants
- Healthcare: Consultants
- Health Care: Occupational Health and Safety: Consultants
- Business to Business: Industrial Goods and Services: Engineering: Consultants
- Science and Technology: Instruments and Supplies: Laboratory Automation and Robotics: Consultants
- Europe: United Kingdom: Computers: Internet: Consultants
- United Kingdom: Business and Economy: Business to Business: Consultants
- Africa: Egypt: Business and Economy: Computers and Internet: Consultants
- South Africa: Business and Economy: Computers and Internet: Consultants
- Asia: India: Business and Economy: Employment: Consultants
- Asia: India: Health: Consultants