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Why Unprofessional Consultants Can Be Successful

Today’s post is more a rant than anything…I’ve just got to get this off my chest. But don’t worry, there is a lesson in here that I think you’ll appreciate and enjoy.

I’ve worked with companies from all around the world in 23 industries. From billion dollar technology manufacturers to small retail stores and individual consultants. I love meeting new people, cultures fascinate me, and there’s nothing that makes me laugh inside more than meeting interesting characters – and I’ve met many. However…

It’s Amazing
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how unprofessional most people in business are. I don’t have some fancy statistic for you on the percentage of jokers out there, but they are plenty indeed.

What do I mean by “unprofessional?” I’m talking about people that take days to reply to emails. That never call you back. That schedule a meeting, then cancel it, then reschedule it and never show up. People that are only interested in short-term gain and think nothing of building honest and respect-driven relationships for the long-term

What’s even more fascinating is that many of these unprofessional business people are quite successful. I don’t know how this can be. All logic in my mind says that people like this shouldn’t be successful, but that’s what I’d ‘like to believe’ and clearly it isn’t the case.

Driven To Succeed
More than anything, my guess is that these people are still driven to succeed. That they don’t give up and still tirelessly work and push forward – so ultimately some of them reach success. Or maybe success has made them ignorant. The problem is they’re using the wrong approach. Their end game may be on point, but the route they’re taking leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Can you imagine how successful these people would be if they went about this in the right way?

If every person they knew or met respected them? If they became known for being professional, and that they could be counted on. I’d venture that their success would be 2, 3, maybe even 10 times what it is today.

How About You
Take a good look at how you’re treating your clients and the people around you. Are you earning respect? Are you following through on your commitments?

As a consultant, your name and what it stands for means more than almost anything else. So make it stand for something great!


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14 thoughts on “Why Unprofessional Consultants Can Be Successful

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more as I frequently think about those type of so called “professionals”. It doesn’t matter to me if they’re successful. They are discourteous, narcissistic and lack soft skills.

  2. I think this is something that a lot of people think about but are too afraid to say. As someone who always tries to responds to emails within a day or two, it frustrates me when I don’t receive a response and I have to follow up again. Thanks for posting!

    • Anna – thanks! Follow up is critical, but it would be nice if people made our lives easier.

  3. The concept of short term gains comes primarily from the “product” sales arena where the account manager renamed consultant rampages in to collect an order and satisfy a single instance of a sale. Instead of looking at the bigger picture and offering to become a trusted advisor and value added consultant. Solution selling involves the consulting steps of needs analysis and solution design to scope and define what the client truly requires. In so doing identifying a solution which is likely to satisfy actual requirements rather than assumed ones. Unfortunately , short term gains often results in short delivery, with limited customer satisfaction or even dissatisfaction. It is best to decide if its a simple appliance solution or a more complex solution and process accordingly . In any case consultants should aim for longer engagement & subscription based income .

  4. Couldnt agree more. Here in Australia we are supposed to be about creating the relationship to get the sale…but it seems that so many people dont bother returning calls/emails etc.. or even acknowleding the fact that you have sent them an Email. Is this about a perceived upperhand in the balance of ego thing..a perception of I am too busy to get to this now, throwing the good old Pareto Principle out of the window for dome crappy meeting/facebooking session…I am not sure…but what I am sure of is that it gives me the Sh!t$

  5. I find the lack of response to emails and sales enquiries amazing.

    With the technology available it is so simple to send an acknowledgment and schedule to follow up.

  6. Great post and I think another reason they can get away with this behavior is that they have little or insufficent competetion.

    • Frank – you may be right though I've seen this problem even with successful people – that really gets me…in their case however it often seems they forget to think about others and being professional once they have 'made it'.

  7. I agree with all that's been said. I had a desperately sad day a few weeks back when three potential clients were all at least 20 minutes late for our meetings, only one of whom called to let me know he was running late. Were these people raised by wolves?

    • Thanks for the comment Lesli. The problem is…some of these people probably aren't thinking about much other than themselves to begin with.

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