Why I Don’t Like (Most) Consultants

A good friend of mine sent me a post from Sam Fiorella, I Declare Open Season On Social Media Experts: Closed. My buddy sent it to me because he finds my opinion of consultants (who often proclaim themselves as “experts”) as brash, albeit somewhat comical.

Many consultants ultimately run out of things to say, or run out of people to say it to. It’s easy for most consultants to tell something to someone who knows nothing. In my opinion, a consultant worth hiring can tell much more to someone who knows a lot.

So what else do I look for in a consultant? Here are five musts:

  1. Do some homework about my business. Show me you care by referencing some of the work we’ve done and asking a lot of questions. I’m still surprised how many consultants are more like bad sales people who have no idea how they fit into our organization.
  2. When doing your research, don’t start the clock. Yes, I know you need to get paid. But if you’re confident in what you can do, I’ll be more than happy to pay for the work you did upfront once I agree to work with you.
  3. Don’t come out and tell me what conferences you speak at or about the book you published. I must have been asleep when this happened, but when did writing a book make someone the smartest person on a particular subject? And give me some credit, I likely heard you talk somewhere, which is the reason we’re speaking in the first place.
  4. Sell me on your experience not only as a successful consultant, but actually spending some time doing my job. One of the best consultants I ever worked with ducked in and out of his consultancy and took full-time jobs at different companies to assure he was always on top of his game and had some great practical experience.
  5. Give me some guarantees. What results can I expect from hiring you? Tell me what you expect from me in order to make that happen.

I’ve had some great experiences working with consultants. However, it amazes me how many bad experiences I still have. Good luck. I look forward to working—or not working—with you in the future!