Hiring a consultant doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a businessperson. All it shows is that you have identified a gap in your company’s existing skill-set, and you need the expertise to steer you in the right direction.
But hiring the right consultant is easier said than done. Scanning job portals and freelance websites will give you the impression that everyone and their dog is into consulting and training!
Some of them are fresh MBA graduates, while others have years of experience working in several industries and various market conditions.
So, how do you hire a consultant that takes your business to the next level? Here are five things that will help you find the best person for the job.
While they can be fabricated, references are essential to determine the credibility of a business consultant. References include:
- Case studies
- Recommendations from your network
- Website/books/blog/podcast/public speaking events
LinkedIn recommendations and reviews can help you shortlist possible candidates. But you should only make the final choice based on demonstrated results with actual clients.
The success of consultancy owes a lot to the detached viewpoints of the consultant.
In other words, business consultants bring an outsider’s perspective that is necessary to identify weaknesses and pitfalls. This enables them to provide rational assessments based on facts and data instead of emotions.
But this impartiality can be compromised if the consultant has any tie to the company. So, while referrals are great, you need to ensure that the consultant will not color his analysis due to prior relationships.
Experience is akin to a background check for consultants.
As already mentioned, it’s not rare for young professionals to start a consulting or training practice with little or no experience in the field.
So, the experience is a must, but you should also screen for the right kind of experience. This means you should go for someone who has delivered results for companies in your industry, especially companies with challenges similar to yours.
Bottom line: hire a consultant with a breadth and depth of relevant experience.
There shouldn’t be any compromise on the trustworthiness of the candidate. Depending on their role, the consultant will have some level of access to data on your business and clients.
Hence, look for someone who can establish your trust. Once again, references can help you find credible consultants.
5. Action Plan
Finally, you should only get a consultant on board who provides a plan of action to tackle the issues they’re hired to solve (such as launching a sales training program).
Many so-called consultants focus only on the patter and appearance, but they are at a loss of words when you talk about actionable strategies. If you follow steps #1 till #4, you can identify and screen such ‘consultants.’
That’s about it. Hopefully, you will now find it easier to search for a qualified and credible business consultant.
At Professional Success South, we provide consulting and training for businesses in San Diego, CA, based on decades of experience and a portfolio to prove it. Click here to schedule a free coaching session.