Clients do their homework before they interview business consultants. Typically, the client identifies and categorizes the problem. The client then determines that the problem cannot be solved internally and concludes that a consultant is necessary. As the consultant will be on site, interacting with the company staff and having access to company documents, the client is obligated to do some screening.
As a result, when you arrive for that first meeting, the client will most likely know quite a bit about you and your consulting business. It is very rare that clients enlist consulting businesses from the telephone book or from cold calls. Clients tap their own resources to develop a list of potential consultants.
Clients seeking consultants usually include these factors in their background and reference checks.
- Ask colleagues for consulting references
- Research past experience with previous consultants
- Ask staff for recommendations
- Seek reference experience from industry sources
- Perform web-based research
- Seek references from business and trade resource materials
- Gather information from trade shows and industry conferences
The consultant who wants the job will need to prove the value of their product, not sell their wares. Avoid clichés. Never discuss the competition, rise above it. Bring your merits and references to the table. The client, who buys your services for your consulting business’s merits, is the client you want.
Be the Future
Clients hire consultants because they have a problem that cannot be solved internally. The client wants expert thinking and sound advice. As a consultant, you must be ahead of the information curve. The clients will hire the consulting firm that exhibits forward-thinking and creative solutions.
The consultant needs to deliver the capabilities that furnish their proprietary “collective thinking” in every peice of marketing material. Clients have seen more than enough standardized, outdated and cliché-riddled marketing tools. All your marketing materials need to put your intellectual assets up front. Cut through the periphery and deliver your most valuable, most unique product clearly and succinctly.
Clients want their businesses to be ahead of trends. Stay ahead of the information and support your consulting solutions with up-to-the-minute statistics and information. Never use outdated or unsubstantiated facts. Know that you have solutions. Know these solutions are the future. Make the client see that your consultancy has unique collective intellectual power and you will have an inspired client.