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Consulting – What’s The Deal?


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You are a consultant. You might not even know it but it is unarguable fact. The moment you were asked for an advice you have become a consultant. Cool! I am a consultant? Sounds like lots of fun. Yeah, fun, but first listen to Gerald M. Weinberg’s The Number One Secret as he puts it in his book Consulting 
by Mykl Roventine

Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully:

Consulting ain’t as easy as it looks

If so, who wants to be a consultant? Do I? Do you? To answer this question I decided to ask few more:

  • Do you like solving problems in the field?
  • Do you like meeting lots of different people?
  • Do you like to be exposed to tons of challenging situations?
  • Hate cubicles?
  • Do you possess some sort of expertise?
  • Are you a go-to-person for the expertise?
  • Do you like sharing your practices and insights with the world?
  • Do you hate  9 to 5 thing?

As long as I kept saying Yes to each of the questions I became more and more comfortable of the idea of becoming a consultant.

I am consultant these days. I love consulting. My favorite part is that I am not framed by 9-5, and I learn tons of new so called soft skills – such as Influence Without Authority, for example. It involves different techniques, tactics, and strategies where the end goal is making the customer happy while staying within the budget and time.

See the difficulty Weinberg stresses with his The Number One Secret?:

  • The customer has high expectations.
  • You have no authority.
  • You have limited time.
  • You have limited budget.

To succeed under such conditions is not that easy. Here is the first lesson I have learned – Practice Emotional Intelligence. Remember, your goal is make the customer happy, not to prove you are right and the customer wrong (by the way, this is a common trap consultants fall and lose their customers). Get it? Good.

People will pay more to be entertained that they will pay to be educated.” – Johnny Carson

Practice This – Get Results

  • Under-promise, over-deliver – the easiest way to exceed expectations and win customers’ heart.
  • Ask your previous customers for testimonies – best way to get credibility and authority with new customers.
  • Practice Time Management – deliver on time and on budget, avoid disappointments.

My Related Posts

3 February 2009

17 Comments »

  • Evelyn Lim said:

    I like the idea of being a consultant. Most certainly, I enjoy helping others. But not in the sense that they should follow or buy-into my beliefs. Rather, it is to help them see that they need to take charge of their lives and to tune into their own inner wisdom. I am like some kind of sign-post that points out directions that a person can take and recommended choices that appear “wiser”.

  • tom said:

    Great article, I will definitely check out the book because I have been curious about consulting myself.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    tom,
    you won’t regret – this is great book and easy read with tons of practical wisdom.

  • J.D. Meier said:

    I think in today’s world, more people will find themselves in consulting roles.

    It’s good to know your niche(s).

  • alik levin (author) said:

    JD,
    Big thanks go to you recommending this book to me in first place ;)

  • Melissa Donovan said:

    When I first started my freelance writing business, all I did was write, write, write. Now I do equal parts writing, research, and consulting, which has actually made things a lot more interesting. Great tips Alik!

  • Jason said:

    In my line of work, consulting is the difference between a job that can be high-value, high-income and a job that can be outsourced off the continent. I know of no other way to emphasize just how important these skills are!

    Your tip on emotional intelligence is really important. I’ve known consultants who are fantastically smart and technically gifted but have no EQ – they fail. Other consultants have less technical talent but plenty of EQ – the will succeed amazingly with customers.

    Consulting is as much about the connection and the ability to become a trusted advisor as it is about providing technically perfect guidance.

  • Davina said:

    Hi Alik. You could be the consultant to consultants. “Your goal is make the customer happy, not to prove you are right and the customer wrong”… this is excellent advice.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Melissa,
    Great you liked the tips.
    BTW, “Consulting” and “Interesting” are synonyms for me too ;)

  • Pini Dayan said:

    Hi Alik , Well, I read, i read again…….. i am a consultant :-)

    Great article.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Jason,
    Thank you for the insight – I am thirsty for more like this.
    WRT EQ – I’ve done too many mistakes and I observed even more as others doing it. EI (EQ) – is the #1 skill that any consultant must master first. In fact, everyone must muster it …. ;)

    Davina,
    Hey!! Good idea! Here is the role model – Darren Rowse, eh? – How about the domain name – ProConsultant.com? LOL!…arrrrggggg taken..;)

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Pini,
    It’s a deal, huh? ;)

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Evelyn,
    Enjoying helping others is surely one of the best parts in consulting I personally enjoy too!
    [Sorry for the late response.....] ;)

  • Joe said:

    Hey Alik,

    Great article!
    Those questions you’ve asked are the exact reason why I switched from a developer role to consulting.

    On top of those, one other reason is the option to teach yourself new things and technologies. Every customer is different, they all have different systems, and different ways to do stuff…
    It is like an endless stream of issues, knowledge, and situations…

    (and I’m sorry for the late response… time.. you know :))

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Joe,
    Good to hear you liked it!

    “different ways to do stuff…” ;)…. oh yeah….

  • Consulting Books List — Practice This said:

    [...] Consulting – What’s The Deal? [...]

  • Consulting School Is Over, Time For Consulting Education — Practice This said:

    [...] No. Well… make sure to read this – Consulting – What’s The Deal? [...]

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