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:
- What will be offered
- The value it will provide
- Start date
- Limitations on the scope of work
- 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:
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