Companies want to hire the most adept, technically competent consultant their industry has ever seen. True statement? While technical competence is always welcomed, it seems to us at Speaking of Wealth that sometimes delivering a superior warm, fuzzy feeling trumps everything else. The cold, hard reality of life is that behind every company is a person, and people like to do business with other people whom they like. As with most things in life, it’s all about the relationship when it comes to being a successful consultant.
We certainly aren’t suggesting you give up staying abreast of developments in your industry in favor of becoming a networking, glad-handing, fool, but the value of skillful and sincere personal interaction should not be underestimated. You should be at least as dedicated to customer service skills as to technical know how if you want to be a sought after consultant. This means returning calls as soon as possible, taking responsibility when things go wrong, and making your customer feel like they are the most important customer you have. An old adage that holds true in almost any situation is that bad news does not get better with age. Keep them informed at every step of the way.
Part of the warm, fuzzy feeling can be directly traced to the amount of trust your customer feels towards you. Does he believe you hold his interests up higher than the simple need for a paycheck? The funny thing about successful consultants is that they become the â€œgo toâ€ person when a problem arises within the company, even if the problem may be slightly outside their area of expertise. When you’re liked and trusted, a customer would often rather pay you to figure it out than hire someone else who already knows the answer. The warm fuzzy feeling strikes again.
Notice how we’ve been using the word â€œcustomerâ€ rather than â€œclient.â€ The choice of words is not accidental and goes to the very heart of the working relationship. Are they a client of a customer? A client implies that you, the consultant, occupy a superior position. Superior positions work in the military, out of necessity, but not when you’re a hard working consultant trying to build good will. They are customers and it’s a symbiotic relationship beneficial to both parties and with everyone working toward the same common goal.
Our advice on how to land that next high-flying consultant gig? Give them the warm, fuzzy feeling!
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / LaMenta3