Consultants not only need broad technical skills, but they also need the right attitude to be successful. Delivering sound products and fitting into the client's corporate culture requires a delicate balance between confidence and approachability. In this video, the instructor discusses hints and tips for ensuring you are perceived as a cooperative part of your client's team while you deliver vital services.
- I went into a computer store a couple of weeks ago and was quickly greeted by a customer consultant who wanted to help me pick out the right PC. After a few overly simply questions, he proceeded to tell me exactly the computer he felt I needed. While he may have been correct, the fact that he didn't take time to understand my needs more thoroughly came across as arrogance. It disappointed me and I left, without a computer. I was looking for help from someone with expertise and the right attitude.
Let me share with you the characteristics that form a positive consulting attitude. First, confidence, but with appropriate limits. While you may know a lot, you also need to be able to pick up on your client's needs and the challenges they're facing. You need to show solid experience and the ability to deliver, and in doing so, you need to avoid coming across as knowing everything that needs to be known, without being boastful.
Listening and powerful questions are essential to be able to successfully guide your client. Second, you need to show flexibility. Some clients will want you to give them specific direction. Others will just want to understand your high level approach and ask you for milestones to demonstrate progress. A good consultant can work under many different levels of interest and direction from client management. You also need to demonstrate a strong care factor.
Successful consultants always appear to be in their client's corner, helping them overcome challenges. While it may be the ninth time you've applied your technical approach, it's probably the first time for your client. Conveying genuine concern, even if things are very simple for you, is critical for success. And demonstrating calmness while maintaining a sense of urgency is an important characteristic for all consultants. Consultants often push change, which can be uncomfortable for clients, and you might see a full range of emotions and arguments about something you believe is in the best interest of your client.
Remaining composed, listening carefully, sticking to your message and position when no new facts are presented, and remaining focused on your assignment is key to delivering the right outcomes. And, last but not least, a sense of curiosity. The best way to understand your client is to be curious about how and why they do things. Asking questions to discover other areas where you can be of assistance can increase your value in the eyes of your client.
Technical or industry skill can get you in the door on a consulting engagement, but your attitude is critical to keep you there. Keep these characteristics in mind as you approach any consulting engagement.
- Identify the critical requirements needed to become a successful consultant.
- Review the roles a consultant can fulfill to increase their success when dealing with clients.
- Recognize approaches for assessing your success level with a client before you've received a formal evaluation.
- Explore how to switch between consulting roles without confusing or aggravating your client.
- Review the change management conditions that must be in place to successfully deploy your consulting solutions.
- Identify the actions that maximize your chances for future work with a client.