What Not to Do When Searching for a Consultant
I have been an independent consultant for more than 20 years. I have been successful and have provided many customers, large and small companies, with insights and solutions to a wide range of business challenges.
There are some companies and individuals who ruin potential business relationships by being unprepared to conduct business. I have listed a number of situations I have to deal with on a constant basis and which could be avoided by proper preparation on the part of the customer.
Do not ask for the price before discussing the project with the consultant. I provide customized research services, so each project is different. Some customers ask for the price not only without first discussing the project but sometimes without telling me what they want to accomplish. When a customer does this it tells me that:
- The customer has never done market research before and/or considers market research as a “luxury”;
- The customer has no budget set aside market research; and
- The customer is looking for the lowest discount price available.
Do not ask for examples from recent projects unless you are willing to have your project be used as a sample for someone else. On top of this, since each project is customized the new customer’s project may be completely unlike anything the consultancy has ever done before.
If you say that you’ll call back, do it. By not calling back you show that you have no respect for the consultant nor any respect for yourself.
Don’t try to add to the deliverables after the project is launched unless you are willing to pay for it. There is a lot of careful planning and budgeting when making the proposal or statement of work. If somehow the customer forgot to add something to the deliverables, the customer should be prepared to pay extra to have them added on.
Pay in a timely manner. The consultant strives very hard to provide the deliverables on time. It is good business to pay in a timely manner, because the consultant would be willing to do more work for you in the future. Also, delays in payment could hurt the consultancy, usually a small business that could actually bring about the financial ruin of the consultancy. Payment terms where the consultant has to wait for 60 or 90 days could prove the ruin of the consultancy.