Ever since I became a consultant I’ve heard the following question many times: “How Do I Select a Consultant”. I immediately reply by telling the individual to extend their arm (in my direction), extend their index finger (in my direction), and say the word “YOU” very loudly. But in all seriousness, finding and selecting a consultant is important for businesses as often times consultants work alongside their clients as partners for long periods o f time and handle very sensitive work for them. So here are five guiding principles on how to select a consultant:
1. Helpfulness – this sounds like an easy one, but is your consultant helpful? Are they available to take your calls, do they answer your emails, are they excited to speak with you? Can you come to them with any problem and feel confident that they’ll either know the answer or steer you in the right direction?
2. Trustworthiness – Finding someone who you can trust is one of the most important elements of finding a great consultant. If you can’t trust your consultant there’s a chance that you’ll hold important things back from him or her, and that’s not good for anybody.
3. Question Asker – It’s great to hear that your consultant has multiple degrees, certifications, licenses, and accolades. But what does that mean for you as their potential client. Will your consultant be able to get things done in a way that works for you? Even more important than asking questions is ‘asking the right questions’ but we’ll address that in a future blog post.
4. Problem Solver – Does the consultant have a one-size-fits-all solutions or are you and your business partners getting custom level solutions? Maybe you need a one-size-fits-all solution, maybe you don’t. If your consultant can’t explain why he’s doing what he’s doing for you – in a way that makes sense – it’s time to find a new consultant.
5. Expert Advice – Is your consultant an expert in what they are helping you on? Even more importantly, if your consultant isn’t an expert on what they’re working on for you, will they tell you and help you find someone who IS an expert in that area? Being in job for 30 years doesn’t make someone an expert. Being in a job for 3 years doesn’t disqualify someone from being an expert either.
These should get you off to a good start when trying to find and select a consultant to help you with your needs.