So let’s start out with understanding there is basically 10 key tips/secrets/fundamentals to consulting. These translate to SharePoint Consulting and every other type in existence. I will go into much deeper dives in later posts:
Listen to your client
One of the biggest fail points of any consultant is not listening…yes listening to the client. You come in thinking you know best, already have the answers. Bang…you suck and the client thinks you’re an arrogant #$%.
Taking solid notes of each meeting, making sure you follow up after the meeting with a summary or after actions email….these are simple steps to success. If you cant take notes, take a digital recorder and listen to them later.
Listening also means you need to ask the right questions, understand their issue, EMPATHY, so please understand this is a key skill you need to learn. If you go into meetings like your girlfriend is taking you shoe shopping…you are dead in the water.
Establish a rapport with your client
Rapport simply means establish a positive relationship.
Don’t be a suck up, don’t be a yes man, don’t try to be his drinking buddy.
If you are any of the above #2 items, you are officially the idiot I am hired to replace.
If you do not know how to do this, find the most charismatic person in your firm, and spend some time mentoring under him/her. This is a person who can build rapport.
Keep your ego in check
Consultant means you are the person with the answers. You are simply a gun for hire. This does not mean you are the obnoxious, pompous consultant who knows all, and talks about themselves in 3rd person.
Seriously I have worked with that guy, he was funny for about the first client, then he became my arch enemy on projects.
Flexible and Responsive, but not too much
Statements of Work, Requirements, Agreements….these are things to live by. These will ensure scope creep is what others deal with, now be flexible if you are the totalitarian dic….tator of a consultant always says NO….they will start treating you like IT, and your contract is up.
Pricing, your time is valuable, but you are not a $800.00 Congressional Lobbyist, or a $5.00 good time. You are a professional, so price based on your talents, the local market, your ability to deliver, and what your customers can afford. It is great being billed out at $250.00 per hour, until all your clients are feeling the economic pains and your rates start having BOGO sales.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Client(s) get me….more than one. If your entire team lives, eats, breaths a single client and they go under, or kill your contract…..ouch. So have some diversity in our portfolio.
Quality not Quantity
I know this might not be mainstream but doing a great job is better than 3 OK jobs. I know most firms are all about billable hours, but if you can do a great job, you get invited back….based on all the above 1-6 items you are doing right.
Maintain your relationships
Keep your network growing and in the know about what you are doing, your skills, your clients. Spending a few hours a month touching base, or updating some Social media platform is great if you ever need to change companies, or need work.
Maintain your personal Brand
Personal brand I feel is critical, your company will grow and change, but your brand will be what your company cannot take away from you. It is also what your customers can introduced too. It can be how you get new work, more networking, grow your base…..find a brand and keep it.
I will be posting about Personal brand a lot this year, as this is a needed topic.
Local Market Test
What the local market test is: Treat all your clients as if you would not mind running into them at your kids school, or local shopping market. If you can feel like going up and saying hi, sitting over lunch and talking about sports, or the local weather….then that is a successful relationship. If you feel like you would need to hide, or duck out the next door…..EPIC FAIL.
So these are just my favorite 10 secrets to consulting success. See you already know them, or I hope you do. I will be posting more about each one in-depth as the year goes on.
Ta Ta For Now.