The consulting business has been a new endeavor for me, having only worked in-house roles at previous companies. When I started with Statera, I quickly learned that consulting was going to be much different than my previous roles. Thanks to some great colleagues and clients, here are a few things I’ve learned about how to be a good consultant:
Confidence is paramount in being a successful consultant. We are, after all, experts in our trade and our clients want to know that their business is in good hands. It should be clear to clients that we believe in our designs and solutions. Does this mean we have to know everything? No. But As consultants we should be always be confident in front of our clients. If we’re not confidence in ourselves and our abilities, why should our clients have confidence in our deliverables?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. More often than not clients may not know what they actually need and instead ask for what they think they need. As consultants, it’s our job to gather as much detail as possible to gain a better understanding of what the client is actually trying to accomplish so that we can design solutions that fit those needs. Asking questions is not limited to the client – don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues and peers for assistance. Your colleagues likely will have experiences and insights that differ from your own.
A great way to manage your client’s expectations and ensure that everyone is on the same page before the project build begins is to create blueprints and mockups to show your proof of concept. This helps demonstrate to your client exactly what you plan on building, how it will look, and how it will function and gives your client the opportunity to make any tweaks or changes before the actual work begins. Once the project has begun, help manage client expectations by planning weekly demos to show client your progress. These demos can be incremental and do not necessarily need to include much detail, but should show your to-date progress.
Make sure every meeting you schedule with your client is purposeful and meaningful. You’ll work on clients for whom daily communication is necessary and beneficial, but this may not be the same for each of your clients. Make sure you aren’t overloading your clients with meetings just for the sake of having something on the calendar. When scheduling meetings with your clients, be mindful of the intended purpose and results of the meeting. What is the meeting set to accomplish? Who should be in attendance?
Don’t Take it Personally
Not every project is going to be seamless and clients are not going to be happy with everything 100% of the time. If you’ve made a mistake and a client reacts negatively, don’t take it personally. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept it, own it, learn from it, and try not to repeat it in the future.
Ensure Client Happiness
At the end of the day, you want your client to be happy with the services you’ve provided. Sure you may have completed your work and billed your hours, but always ask yourself if the client is happy with the final deliverable. Is the client happy with the service you’ve provided and have you developed a good relationship with your client? Chances are, if you’ve been diligent in asking questions, managing expectations, and communicating effectively with your client throughout the project’s duration, your client will be happy once the project is completed.
Bailey Tapert is a Consultant specializing in Salesforce configuration having worked with the CRM platform for the last 6 years. I have worked on Salesforce implementations and enhancements across many different industries including the housing market, manufacturing, jewelry, and events based. I moved to Colorado from NYC one year ago.