Small business owners need to identify the best possible consultants to hire. Here are 4 indicators they can use to help make those critical decisions.
Indicator #1: They ask about the client’s motivation and timing.
The best consultants want to understand why they are meeting with you NOW. That information helps them understand the context for their work, so they will ask you questions like these:
- Why are you considering doing this project NOW?
- Why is it a priority NOW?
- Who is experiencing the ‘pain’ that led you to want to do this project NOW?
Indicator #2: They ask how the client will define success.
Top consultants want to know how their work will be evaluated or assessed, so they ask questions such as:
- What are the most important outcomes that will make you feel my work with you was successful?
- How will those outcomes ADD VALUE for your company?
Can you give me an example of tangible outcomes you are looking for?
Tell me about intangible outcomes you are interested in achieving?
Indicator #3: They want to understand the client’s history.
Top consultants know it is important to understand what happened BEFORE they started working with your company, so they engage you in discussions about these topics:
- What has been tried before to address this problem?
- Why did those attempts fail?
- Who implemented those efforts? Another consultant?
- What has changed since then?
Indicator #4: They ask challenging questions.
The best consultants know that asking lots of INSIGHTFUL questions demonstrates that they have the wisdom you need in a consultant.
- Chose a consultant who tries to impress you by asking the right questions.
- Avoid consultants who try to impress you by having all the answers.
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These and other key indicators were collected during 30 years of consulting by Jeffrey D. Klawsky, Ph.D., including 10 years teaching graduate students how to be successful consultants at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.