When a consultant shows up at a new client, it’s always a good idea to have one’s guard up. It’s very possible that he or she is entering hostile territory. It’s nothing personal. Okay, maybe it’s a little personal. You did decide to become a consultant after all.
I used to wonder why clients distrusted us consultants so much. Over the years I learned that it was a combination of past experience, confusion, and a little over-generalization. One of the major causes is, like any category of people, there are always some people in a group that give everyone a bad name. Continue reading 6 Reasons Client Employees Hate Consultants→
The city was experiencing a rash of fires. Arson was usually suspected but the source of the flame could never be proven.
Fortunately, the city had a crack firefighting squad. Mark was the star of the show. Every fireman on the crew admitted that they wouldn’t be as successful without Mark. It seemed that at the outbreak of every fire, Mark was the one who knew exactly what to do. Everyone turned to Mark.
Trust in a consulting relationship is highly overrated. All you really have to do is give them the hard sell, play a little hard-to-get and soon you’ll have them eating out of your hand. With that in mind, here are some ways to kill any trust you may have developed with the client by mistake.
Don’t trust them in the first place. Let them know from the outset that you don’t trust them. Question anything they say and question their motives while you’re at it. Make them prove anything they tell you about their company to prevent you from verifying it yourself.
Over bill and over-expense. Charge the client for hours you don’t work. Go ahead and take the team out for lunch and charge the client for that too. They may not catch on the first time or two, but they eventually will start to question your invoices. They may never be able to prove it, but will suspect first and then grow to mistrust anything you do.
If you’re in a position to receive resumes from anyone looking for a job, you may have come to the conclusion that everyone seems to be a consultant now days. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tom Peters has been advocating for years that we should treat our careers as thought we are independent consultants. You may be a full-time employee of a company, but the days of retiring from the same company you hired into right out of college are essentially a thing of the past.
I’ve known people in the business world that don’t believe in using consultants. These people believe that consultants are over-priced hacks who “borrow your watch to tell you the time”. Like any industry, there are consultants that provide poor service and give their industry a bad name. When a company pays anyone to provide a service, they need to do the due diligence to make sure they can do what they promise. But once a company finds a consulting firm that is good at what they do, their rates can often scare them away. So why would anyone in their right mind pay those high consulting rates?
Why you would need a consultant
Let’s look at three main reasons for which an organization might hire a consultant
Why is it that when I ask for a waiter’s recommendation, they suggest one of the most expensive things on the menu? I suppose it’s possible that the most expensive items are the best. It’s basic supply and demand economics. But I always suspect that they’re more interested in jacking up the bill – and in turn, their tip – than in finding me the ideal meal. Their conflicting priorities are obvious.
The young batter planted his back foot in the dirt of the batter’s box and assumed his stance. He took a hard swing at the 2-1 pitch, rocketing it between third base and the shortstop. The shortstop dove hard to his right and knocked the ball down. Quickly, he picked it up and threw a hard rope to first base. We all heard the base runner’s foot hit the base a split second before the ball hit the glove to beat out the play.
I loved watching Michael Jordan play for The Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. In those days, everybody seemed to want to “Be like Mike”. I remember thinking about how isolated he and other big celebrities had to feel as public figures. When I went out for an evening, I would often think about the fact that he couldn’t just go out to a movie with his family without drawing a huge throng of fans seeking autographs and pictures.