While there are few career paths that some would call perfect, being a consultant comes pretty close to having it all. Yet while it is one of the best ways to earn a living, there are challenges and pitfalls that are sometimes overwhelming and unexpected.
When analyzing, identifying and exploring the most specific challenges high on the consultant’s list, there are probably a few that would probably be considered the greatest of all. Whether your goal is to help a client increase sales, or if your objective is to show them how implementing a new idea will make things more effective, challenges are always to be faced.
One very huge challenge most consultants face is dealing with a client who has lofty goals, but lacks a forward thinking attitude. Understandably, the client wants to achieve a great deal but when it comes to a client’s business, more often than not they’re fearful about spending money. Because some clients are often short-term oriented, they sometimes expect big results from very small investments. To encourage a client towards longer-term strategies, ask your client if your services are showing progress overall. It’s up to you to prove to your client that you are making a difference.
Creative Ways of Attracting Clients!
While writing letters, introducing your company, creating press releases, developing a web site and of course networking are all critical to the success of any business, in a competitive market such as the Internet, the challenge grows even greater.
What that means to the consultant is that he or she must conceive of unique measures for opening doors to their services, and that demands different approaches. As an example, if you’re a web designer, convincing your client of the importance of having a web site is critical in today’s market. Yet, often when approaching a prospective client, getting past the initial inquiry presents a great challenge. Not wishing to lose a client right off the bat, tell the client that their decision to use your services will depend upon what they actually want to achieve. Suggest that you have some great ideas that will enhance their business. Offer a first no obligation meeting or conversation to give them an idea of what you can do for them. Usually under those terms the client will agree to speak to you about your intentions giving you an opportunity to demonstrate how you can help them.
Relating to and Understanding a Clients Needs!
Because a consultant commonly seeks to offer newer and more progressive ideas to an organization, the consultant’s challenge is to relate to and understand different client’s needs. Prospects often have a difficult time grasping the full benefits of a particular strategy. As an example, if you’re interested in introducing new software, the potential client may not understand how implementing the newer idea can help augment their business. Although clients might not have a handle on the importance of adding something technical to their business, carefully researching different markets and showing proof as to why your idea will be to the client’s benefit is one way of overcoming this challenge.
There are always going to be times when a potential or existing client may challenge your suggestions or method of operation, but you have to hear and understand where a client is coming from even when you don’t agree. First listen and then show why you believe your way is best. As a consultant it is your goal to become known as a solution finder, and the only way to do that is to become aware of your client’s concerns. It’s your job to go beyond those concerns by helping your client reach their goals. As Consultants we always have the choice to either permit our challenges to defeat us or simply use them as an opportunity to transcend specific hurdles.