If you just left a company and are interested in consulting, the transition can be challenging. Consulting, like most professions, requires a little training and practice. YourEncore has helped thousands of experts make this transition successfully and has compiled 10 tips for delighting your client every time.
We shared the first five tips in Part I and complete the series below. With that, let’s dive into lesson number six.
- Take a position, not a stand.
As a consultant, your job is to make recommendations that ultimately advance initiatives. To do this, effective consultants develop a point of view and state it clearly with their rationale. Listing complicating factors and options alone can be counterproductive, adding to a client’s analysis paralysis. Taking a definitive position, with stated assumptions and supporting logic, starts the conversation. Your recommendation, however, can and should change as you receive more information.
- Be a relevant resource – in big and small ways.
If the value you provide well-exceeds your compensation, then you will have a successful consulting career. As a consultant, your mission then is to add as much value as possible. First, this means delivering the stated engagement with excellence. However, there are many other smaller ways you can add value: sharing a relevant industry article, connecting your client to a needed solution provider, or even recommending a good hotel in a new city. If you’re a valuable resource, your client will call you first for help.
- Deliver a premium product.
Consulting is a premium product, so your outputs should also be a premium product – both in content and format. The best ideas and insights can lose their value if they lack polish. PowerPoint and Word are fundamental consulting tools to learn well. Learning and using these tools will make sure the look and feel of your work builds credibility – not take away from it.
- Quantify the value of your work.
When you conclude a project, force yourself to estimate the financial impact of your work using back-of-the-envelope calculations, at a minimum. If your work reduces a key timeline by two months, what did that save in internal development costs? Did it accelerate revenue realization? If so, how much? Document your assumptions and look for appropriate ways to discuss your impact with your client. Your client is looking for ways to validate their decision for using your services. Do the ‘heavy lifting’ and help make the case for them.
- Address the main problem, but also identify other things worth fixing (working with account teams).
As an expert with many years of industry experience and being focused entirely on one client initiative, you will inevitably uncover other areas of risk or opportunity. As a trusted advisor, it is appropriate to raise these to your client. There are two caveats, however. First, don’t get distracted from the immediate task at hand. Second, include the YourEncore account team to handle contracting or resourcing discussions. This ultimately adds more value to the client and provides more work opportunities for you and other experts.
Make an impact on your fellow Experts; if you have any tips, resources, or hard lessons learned that you would like to share, please email YourEncore and we can include them in future posts.