The secrets of unearthing the gems

Secrets for hiring a consultant

All entrepreneurs have worked with accountants and lawyers. Consultants, at least good ones, are different from these other professional advisors. Here are some questions to consider when hiring a consultant, based on our experience and the extensive writings of Alan Weiss, PhD, who has the strongest brand in the world among solo consultants.

  • Meet with them to see if there is a fit, personally and professionally.
  • Do they push back and challenge your assumptions and decisions in a respectful, logical manner?
  • Can they clearly articulate their value and results?
  • Can they quantify the value (your ROI) that they provide to their clients?
  • Are they focused on building a relationship as opposed to merely writing a proposal or obtaining a sale?
  • Have they “been there and done that” so they are speaking from experience?
  • Do they offer pragmatic ideas instead of philosophical concepts?
  • Are they thought leaders who have been published and referenced in the media?
  • How do they charge for their services? Is it time and materials that pay for inputs, like a plumber, where the longer they are around the more they make? Or is it based on equitable compensation for the value and results you receive, using value pricing?
  • Do they willingly provide testimonials, references, case studies and examples of how they have helped other people be more successful?
  • Are they niche experts or generalists? Narrow, niche experts who specialize in content are less valuable because they have limited perspective and fewer tools. Generalists, on the other hand, have processes that are adaptable to a variety of situations and organizations.
  • Are they trying to sell you a canned process, or are they able to customize an approach that is focused on your results instead of their methodology?
  • Do they ask tough questions that you hadn’t thought of before and make you stop and think?
  • Are they focused on getting results fast or unleashing hordes of ‘help’ to study the problem to six decimal places because that’s what their checklists tell them to do?
  • Are they highly responsive to your questions, emails and phone messages, because that behavior will be constant when you hire them?
  • Do they transfer skills and teach you and your people so you are smarter and stronger in the future?
  • Do they provide options for implementation, training, mentoring and support to enhance the overall project?
  • Do they provide options and different levels of value at different budget points?