The Consulting Relationship

Any successful relationship takes communication, trust and support. When you hire a business or marketing consultant the same expectations need to be met by both client and consultant. When your work together is complete, your business should be ready to move forward, and if relevant, you or the staff trained in new procedures.

What should you expect from the consultant?  

Consultants are hired to improve performance, solve specific problems, increase revenue or growth. They should come to the initial meeting with a baseline knowledge of your business and industry.

Expect them to be upfront about their experience and capabilities. Listen to you, ask relevant questions, and take notes. After the first meeting, expect a follow-up; the email should include action items discussed, cost breakdown of work and the date they could start.

You should not feel pressured or find yourself barraged with subsequent emails, calls or unasked for newsletters.

As the business owner, you are now at the ‘what works best for me’ stage. For example, do you need to connect through an hour call on pre-scheduled days? Do you want them to take on a project that requires their specific expertise? Do you or your staff need to learn to do something new to facilitate growth? Are there underperforming marketing areas that require updating/freshening?

A good consultant will create a package of services that works best for your business needs. Gone are the days of ‘one size fits all expensive contracts’; expect a more personalized approach.

When you have let the consultants know how you want to proceed, they will offer different ways to invoice you; by the project, the hour, or a daily or monthly retainer.

What does the consultant expect from you?

“Entrepreneurs often hire a business consultant when they’re faced with some kind of trouble,” says Israel, who was a successful entrepreneur before joining BDC. “But they aren’t open to the consultant’s advice because they are convinced they already know the solution. They’re just looking for confirmation of what they’re already doing”Business Development Bank of Canada

Have the right mindset. Thinking you are ready to hire a consultant is not the same as being prepared to do the ensuing work.

  • Listen, be open to advice and willing to change
  • Share relevant company information and internal materials when asked.
  • Be punctual for meetings and adhere to the consultant’s cancellation policy.
  • Pay on time.
  • Ask questions and provide feedback when necessary.

With time and effort, the benefits of this professional relationship are far-reaching; through mutual respect and good communication you will ensure success and growth for your company.

About Jill Crossland
Jill Crossland is a business and marketing consultant who can take your business and social media to the next level.
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