Ten Secrets to Consulting Success
Part of the Consulting For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Many different ways exist to become a more efficient consultant, however, some are better than others. Incorporating the following methods into the way you do business will keep you way ahead of the consulting competition:
Listen to your clients. To determine the best solutions for your clients, you must listen to them and understand what it is they want. Make it a point to listen to your clients more than you talk.
Quickly establish rapport with your clients. Consulting is very much a one-to-one, person-to-person kind of business. Establishing rapport with your clients builds a bridge that enables trust to grow.
Be direct and honest. Your clients are hiring you because they need help — sometimes a lot of help. You are doing them no favors by sugarcoating any bad news you may have for them. Give them your best assessments and advice at all times.
Be flexible and responsive. Flexibility is one of the main reasons why people hire consultants. You will have a tremendous advantage over the competition if you can quickly respond to customer needs as they present themselves.
Don’t overprice your services. The higher your price, the less demand there will be for your services. That may be fine if you can survive with a relatively few, high-paying jobs. However, if your prices are significantly higher than the competition, be prepared to explain the additional value you bring to the table.
Don’t under-price your services. If your price is too low, you may find it difficult to make a profit. Don’t forget: There’s not a client on the face of the Earth who will tell you that you should charge a higher rate!
Have more than one primary client. Trusting the success of your business to just one or two clients is never a good idea. Secure a number of clients in a variety of fields instead of just one or two, even if your main client keeps you busy full time.
Accept as much work as you can without compromising quality. Small jobs may lead to big jobs. Avoid turning down new work unless doing so will cause the quality of your current work to suffer.
Treat your current clients like gold. Not only do your current clients pay your bills, but they are your best source for referrals to new clients. Don’t forget your most important clients: your current clients.
Constantly market to bring in future business. You need a constant stream of future clients to keep your consulting business afloat. Set aside one-third to one-half of your time prospecting for new clients.