One of our very best and most respected TopLine consultants, Jody Gouge, sent me an email with a very interesting article that appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, written by Karen E. Klein titled, “Why Self-Employeed Consultants Fail.” It contained ideas by top corporate consultant, Alan Weiss, one of the most articulate and respected consultants in the business.
Alan makes several good points, among which is to take the time to find out what the client wants, then match your offer to suit their needs… and don’t charge by the hour, but by the value you can create for them. I couldn’t agree with Alan more on these points. Far too many consultants try to sell what they know and offer to their clients, rather than take the time to determine exactly what will produce the greatest results for them.
A smart consultant will determine what they can do to add the greatest amount of profits to the bottom line of their client’s business, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of effort, the lowest amount of capital expenditure, and the least amount of risk. In other words, how can you put money in their pocket the fastest, easiest, cheapest, and risk-free way possible?
If you take forever to generate enough income to cover your retainer, you’re costing your client money… and you’re not making anything for yourself. You’ve got to find a way to generate fast cash. Doing that will reinforce their decision that hiring you was a good one. And it will make it easier for you to pay your bills.
And the “getting paid by the hour” thing? Forget that. There are only so many hours in a day, and you can only charge so much… so your income is limited. And when you start billing a company more for your time than the CEO makes, eyes start to roll and they begin watching everything you do. But when you get paid for the value you create… the money you can save them, or the additional revenue and profits you generate for them… your asking price becomes a moot point.
Alan discusses several additional points such as, getting your clients to come to you rather than you chasing them, only working with people who can write you a check, not working with very small businesses or difficult people, the importance of a good self-esteem, positioning yourself as the go-to expert for their particular problems, and a number of other things.
In the video on this page, I discuss some of the points Alan made in his article in detail, and tell how we address them with our TopLine consultants. Alan’s article is good, overall. There are a few things I don’t fully agree with, but he does make some good points, and it is worth your time to read it. Then take a few minutes and watch the video on this page for more indepth information.
As always, I’m very interested in your comments and feedback, and stand ready to help move you closer to the accomplishment of your goals. Please let me know how I can help you!
Martin Howey, CEO
TopLine Business Solutions
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