Communication Skills are Your Consulting Advantage

I sent Sarah an email with all the details she required and asked her to confirm that she received it? I never heard back.

Tom told me he’d get in touch with me tomorrow morning – he didn’t call until the following day.

Mark asked me to help him optimize his ad campaign – I showed him how to go about doing so – he never implemented it.

Are you starting to see the thread that ties all these together? In every case, these people were unresponsive, didn’t follow through, and put off taking action.

There are Sarahs, Toms and Marks in all industries in every country around the world.

What sucks is that so many people seem to be good intentioned but when it comes to communication skills and professionalism – they offer what you might expect from an elementary school student.

Rather than complain about this and ridicule such people, you’d be better off using it to your advantage.

You see, for every 10 people that don’t follow through – one will. And that one stands out. That one earns trust, respect, and becomes the one people depend on.

Sure, it won’t happen over night, but it will happen. That’s an advantage you want on your side.

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  • This is an encouraging article. I know myself to be one that will follow-through, so I should be able to "earn trust, respect, and become the one that people depend on." This is important considering my desire to become a successful consultant.

  • Godfrey

    So true. But there are times that one just runs out of time due to work load, especially a one-man business. I am very conscious of this but have slipped up a few times. I do, however, try to at least let the client, or business associate know that I will get back to them, even if somewhat delayed. Not always easy to turn down an opportunity but one needs to be aware of one's own capacity and be honest up front if not able to follow through.

    • Godfrey – thanks for the comment. I've found it helpful to use systems to manage time and productivity and ones that also help keep schedules, activities and plans on track. Simple reminders used consistently in a day timer book or electronic device can really help the consultant stay at the top of their game.

  • So true. And these "Sarahs, Toms, and Marks" are actually doing you, as a consultant or any other service provider, a favor. They are helping you select which customers you choose to do business with, and which to "fire". After all, why should you waste your precious time on, or do business with people who are not one hundred percent on board with you? Wouldn't it be more productive to focus your energies on finding and developing relationships with the "one in ten" that will become your ideal clients, thereby singing your praises to their colleagues? However, keep in mind that some of these 'poor communicators' could become your best customers with time, so a customer selection/development strategy should always be considered.

    • Bart – great points! The client discovery and selection process is an often overlooked part of the consulting business cycle.

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