consultant, our role extends far beyond giving advice to clients. Our contributions add value to a project and helps the client focus on things that matter most.
As a consultant, our goal is to help steer the client in the direction of success by gaining an in depth understanding of how a client's operations work and offer solutions through specialized assistance that help save time, money, as well as improve results.
However, it takes more than sound knowledge and strong skills in our area of expertise to achieve this goal.
Consulting is about problem solving, and great consultants have insatiable curiosity in their DNA. They are constantly thinking about what the real problem is, what's causing it, and how best to solve it. This is regardless as to type of issue; strategic, financial, people, program management, or implementation. They are, therefore, unafraid to ask questions, typically high level to begin with, and progressively incisive. And clients appreciate when the deep curiosity extends to trying to solve their problems.
In consulting, you will be asked to solve problems that may be completely new to you-or even completely new to the industry. And when you're faced with these tough problems or challenging requirements, it's your resourcefulness that will help you succeed. You should develop the ability to quickly and creatively solve problems and be sure to not give up too quickly. Be creative in your research efforts and show your team that you're willing to do whatever it takes.
Let's face it, a lot of data is disorganized and messy, so analyzing the data can be confusing. A consultant's job is to help clients decide what information matters and what information does not. Bring forth clarity out of this chaos, to give clients simple (but not simplistic), answers and plans.
Advising vs. Advocating
We know the importance of bringing forth clarity to inform and educate clients to help them make decisions, however, it is important as a consultant you are mindful that our role is not to make decisions on a client's behalf. Undoubtedly, as you work with a client, you develop your own opinions about how things ought to be. It is tempting, at times, to push the client to agree with your opinion. However, your role is to determine how you can add value, which is done by advising the client of their options and to offer expert guidance during their decision-making process.
Attention to Detail
This is a crucial skill in consulting because one of the ways you build trust with clients is by producing error-free deliverables which shows that you're thorough and your recommendations are solid. Ensuring there are no grammar, spelling, or calculation-related mistakes are in your work is essential and ultimately reflects on your entire team.
Listen Closely to Clients
If someone is requesting your services, they have a business problem and don't have the resources to combat it. They need your consulting expertise. But in order to properly solve their problem, understanding the scope of the project is essential. Listen carefully and pay close attention to any context that the client gives.
Great consultants are constantly driving towards executing their assigned tasks or outlined deliverables. They think on their feet, seamlessly adapt to shifting priorities, and are constantly delivering results.
Finish What You Start
The best way to build trust and credibility with your clients is to deliver them what you promise. This means finishing what you start, doing what you say you are going to do, and delivering it exactly when you say you will. Consistency is key to consulting.
Consultants should look for ways to adjust their work style to accommodate the schedule, budget and overall requirements of the project. This is particularly true when faced with pressure to maintain high quality within finite time constraints.