5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Consultants
February 25, 2016 Categories: General
As consultants, we’ve been helping companies of all shapes and sizes for almost 30 years.
From implementing new software like an ERP or CRM system, to helping a business map a path toward its goals through a Business Direction Gap Analysis, our goal has always been to give our clients the best possible value throughout the consulting engagement – that’s why our methodology is based on a value-pricing, or fixed price, model with guaranteed results.
Over the decades that we’ve spent with clients, we’ve noticed that there are several things companies can do to make the most out of their consulting engagement.
On our end, of course, we promise to be professional, prepared, honest, and eager to help you find the most effective and valuable solution to your problems. But how about on your company’s end? What can you do to ensure that you get the most value out of your consultants?
- Don’t be afraid to ask in-depth questions during your interview. A good consultant will be ready and willing to answer specific questions about the methods they use and the value they believe they can bring to your company.
- Be clear and honest about your goals for the engagement. Once you’ve hired your consultant, the best way to get the project off to a good start is to be very clear about what you want this engagement to accomplish. Do you want to increase efficiency in your finance department? Identify and eliminate redundancies in your business processes?
- Be ready to engage in the process throughout the project lifecycle. Remaining engaged with your consultant will allow you to stay up-to-date on how the project is progressing, so you’re not faced with any surprises at the end of the engagement.
- Treat the engagement as a partnership. In an ideal consulting situation, you and your consultant are able to work together cooperatively, in a give-and-take relationship that results in the achievement of your business goals.
- Outline a clear schedule for payments and determine concrete deliverables. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that it never hurts to confirm details that may seem obvious.
In a sense, this is a pitch meeting: you want your consultant to be able to pitch you on their services. You could ask about past successes they’ve had with clients, a major challenge they had to overcome in a project, or how they’d begin to approach the issue that your business needs assistance with. Always ask for details – there’s no need to be satisfied with vague descriptions or empty assertions.
Whatever it may be, be honest about your expectations. They may need to be slightly redefined or redirected, depending on what’s possible, but your consultant will be much more able to help you reach your goals if s/he knows exactly what you’re after.
In addition, staying engaged will mean that you’re available to answer questions or offer feedback when necessary. This will help the project stay on track.
While there are bound to be bumps along the road, your project is almost certain to be more successful if you’re able to devote the necessary time and effort (within reason, of course – it’s still your consultant’s job to make this project happen) to becoming a partner with your consultant.
This will also allow you to build a stronger relationship with the consultant or consulting team – and that can be helpful in making future consulting projects progress more quickly and easily.
If you’re initiating a project that involves developing better financial processes for your finance team, you’ll want to talk with your consultant about what that means. What deliverables will you receive? What sort of timeline should you expect? If changes to the timeline need to be made, how and when will you be notified?
All this should be spelled out clearly before you begin the engagement. Likewise, your consultant should know when they can expect payment. Most likely, you’ll want to make payments throughout the project.
This can be easily arranged with TGO, as our fixed-price model means you know how much you’ll be spending right from the start – and therefore, how to divide it.
We hope these tips help you get the most out of your consultant! If you’d like to explore an engagement with TGO’s financial consultants or business process consultants, contact us today!