To get your money’s worth from a consultant, you might be surprised to learn you have to use best practices in your role as the client.

“Huh?” you’re probably thinking.

For strong results, it’s not just a matter of hiring a consultant, forgetting about it and expecting work to get done. You’ll get top results after retaining a consultant if you’re at the top of your game as a client.

My conclusions are based on my experience as a confidential business-performance consultant since 1992.

To get your money’s worth, here are four tips:

1. Be 100 percent responsive

For maximum communication and efficiency, you need to be fully accessible and prompt in responding to your consultant.

Reach an understanding on your means of communication – the best ways for the two of you to communicate between meetings – whether it’s e-mail or telephone.

If you are planning to be away from your office for any reason, such as holidays or vacations, notify your consultant in advance.

2. Heed your consultant’s recommendations

Assuming you’ve hired a consultant for expertise you need, and one who is mindful of your welfare, it’s important to listen to your consultant.

Don’t put your consultant in a position to have to ask you: “Why did you hire me, if you’re not going to listen?”

A competent consultant won’t deal indefinitely with a client who doesn’t listen. The exasperation isn’t won’t be worth it.

3. Be fully aware of the agreement

Know all the details and all ramifications. It must be in writing.

Every situation is different, but there are eight essential elements you need to know:

  1. What will be offered
  2. The value it will provide
  3. Start date
  4. Deliverables
  5. Timeline
  6. Limitations on the scope of work
  7. Cost
  8. Payment schedule

For the most efficiency, you’ll find project billing is preferable to hourly billing, as the latter is too open-ended. For instance, if your consultant can’t finish a project on time, you won’t want to pay extra for cost over-runs.

By the same token, be sure to pay your invoices promptly. It’s really true that what goes around, comes around.

4. Hold your consultant accountable

If your consultant fails to adhere to the agreement, don’t settle for substandard deliverables. There should be no negative surprises.

On the other hand, if you get stellar results, be sure to express your appreciation. Recognition is important in relationships.  The two words, thank you, are like magic to a consultant. In turn, you’ll get the red carpet treatment from your consultant.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more tips:

Thought Leadership — Why Companies Hire Management Consultants — Companies want knowledge. A good idea can be worth $1 million and more. That’s why companies hire thought leaders. It’s also why you see many consultants position themselves as thought leaders and give away free information in how-to articles or studies, which lead to books, seminars and being quoted in the media.

Basics in Hiring a Consultant to Help You Improve Your Company — When you can’t solve a business problem, you probably need a consultant. Perhaps you don’t have the necessary experience to solve a problem and need to avoid a costly mistake. Or you’re busy time-wise and you might find it more cost effective to hire an expert.

6 Tips to Save Time and Money by Hiring the Right Tech Consultant — If you need to hire an information technology consultant, it can be costly in time and money, if you choose the wrong person. Use due diligence. Sophisticated tech vendors and consultants of all sizes have been known for cost over-runs. Again, certain precautions are needed.

10 Tips for Hiring the Right Attorney for Your Business — In running a successful business, you typically need the services of three professionals — a good tax accountant or CPA, insurance agent and an attorney. Know that talent and skill levels are crucial for your success.


There is a wide variety of opinions on consultants. Some people hate them, and some people hate them a lot.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.