You Don’t Need A Consultant

If you have ever considered hiring a consultant or coach, you will find this useful!  

Business owners and managers are often so confident (or arrogant) that they think they’re smart or skilled enough to achieve their goals without a coach or consultant.  Many times, top management decides to hire a coach or consultant, and then their arrogance comes out loud and clear and they want to “do it their way” even though the consultant they are paying, tells them to do it differently.

It has often struck me as odd or even foolish when a contractor hires a consultant, then proceeds to counter or argue against everything the consultant recommends.  If you are one of those owners or managers that believe you can do it better than anyone else – DON’T HIRE A CONSULTANT. You are wasting your time, the consultant’s time and reputation, and throwing good money away.

I consult for many disaster recovery companies (and a few HVAC Contractors) and I’m usually honored and thrilled at the serious approach my clients take to my direction, ideas and help.  However, once in a while, a contractor will hire me, and then buck and fight against every suggestion or bit of advice I bring.  Unfortunately, the way that’s resolved, is to tactfully tell them it’s not a good fit, and fire them as clients.  I don’t want the negative reputation, and they obviously don’t want my advice.

A consultant should be hired (and listened to) when the following situations apply:

  1. To enhance staff expertise.
    Some projects are so new and different that they require special skills that cannot be learned quickly or easily by staff, (such as launching a new marketing and sales program for commercial clients).
  2. To ensure objectivity.
    Completely new business development ventures can be so very different, specialized, and unique, and require an outside expert to coach the sales staff.  A consultant can usually suggest the right approach and solution to achieve a "win-win-win.”
  3. To ensure credibility.
    No credibility – No sale! If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.  A skilled consultant can help overcome these hurdles and show the right ways to quickly build credibility and trust. It is often in “what you say” or “what you should not say!”  There really are “fatal” sales words and phrases.
  4. Personalized Training. Attending a training event is a good foundation for specialized training, but some of it is "canned" because of the broad group in attendance. A "sales manager" outside coach brings a more indepth one-on-one trasining aspect.
  5. To obtain a variety of skills.
    A small to mid-sized company with limited budget and staff can still hire a consulting firm with access to people with the skills you want and need. Chances are good that you don’t have staff with the multi-talented skills for a unique new project like selling to, and getting commercial clients totally committed to you on a signed agreement.

First and foremost: be sure your consultant has great recommendations. (Check their LinkedIn profile for written public recommendations).  Make sure you are hiring someone skilled in the area of expertise that you need.  And yes, even consultants often have consultants because we know we aren’t brilliant in everything!

If you want advice, guidance, coaching, and consulting, be prepared to pay for the expertise, and be prepared to implement and utilize it. Otherwise, you don’t need a consultant.  Remember, all successful atheletes have coaches, so if you want to be at the top of your game, you should also consider a coach.

Author: Dick Wagner; restoration coach and commercial marketing consultant (and often "Acting Sales Manager").