At times, black sheep consultants present themselves as business experts on Internet and Social media. They list false achievements in their profiles, in order to attract business owners. They collect information from Google and other websites and try to impress clients with their jargon. Many clients fail to see through them. As a result, they get carried away and incur losses.
Whether online or in physical world, identifying the right consultant in the crowd of self-proclaimed experts is difficult for business owners. Selecting the best resource comes down to appointing someone who is a real specialist and has the experience and qualifications to advise the clients. Thus, in order to find out the right person, business owners should look for some characteristics that successful consultants possess.
Here are nine qualities that set exceptional consultants apart:
1. They are Authentic:
Successful consultants do not boast about their skills and experience before prospects. They instead focus on project in hand. They don’t mislead clients by making false promises that cannot be fulfilled. Their solutions are realistic, feasible and easy to understand. They never confuse clients with puzzling jargon and always have a clear stand.
2. They want Clients to succeed:
Expert consultants consider themselves successful only when their clients succeed. They work to get results and not just to linger the assignment. They don’t focus on increasing the billable hours but believe in adding value to client’s business. Such consultants always follow up with clients after project completion and are around for client to look up to in case of need or help.
3. They build rapport:
A strong relationship between client and consultant is critical to successful completion of any project. Successful consultants build long lasting relations with their clients. As a result, they are better able to know their clients and understand their problems. Having a close relationship with clients not only guarantees future assignments but also helps to expand network and get more referrals.
4. They don’t please the Clients:
Successful consultants never believe in the policy of “Please the Clients” to get more business. They rather prove their worth by delivering timely solutions that make a real difference. They are confident in their approach. So, they are more likely to be trusted by the business owners. This way, they are able to land further assignments without buttering up the clients.
5. They Challenge Client’s Assumptions:
Sometimes, clients ask consultants to do things that are either impractical or beyond their capability. Successful consultants know when to say “NO” to the clients. They do not always agree with everything that clients say. They keep challenging Clients’ false assumptions and don’t let them set any unrealistic expectations. It doesn’t matter whether the clients like it or not, their job as consultants is to do what is best for their customers.
6. They want to see ideas come to fruition:
Innovative ideas keep popping up in the mind of successful consultants. They are passionate about bringing these ideas to fruition through implementing the same in their client’s business. They want to help their clients in setting right business goals as well as assist them in conceptualizing and converting their dreams into business plans and business plans into execution and reality.
7. They love solving business problems:
Successful consultants are by nature problem solvers. They spend a lot of time analyzing and experimenting with different business models. They keep developing new and improved methods to answer ever occurring challenges in the business world. This enables them to come up with quick suggestions whenever clients need immediate help.
8. They ask questions:
One outstanding quality of successful consultants is that they ask questions and pay attention to detail. They are not afraid to ask for clarifications in case they are doubtful. They collect all the necessary information and data related to the project. They just want to make certain that they understand what they are being asked to do. Clients always place their trust in consultants who are curious and attentive to the project description.
9. They embrace Feedback:
Be it clients or their in house resources, successful consultants are open to input from everyone. They always welcome feedback whether positive or negative. They like to know how others find their suggestions. It helps them improve their performance. They want to make sure they don’t repeat the same errors committed previously.
These are nine traits of consultants who are genuine and true to their profession. I’d be happy to read more points on this from fellow consultants in the comments.