The Consultants’ Bill of Rights
The Consultants Creed
I have been very fortunate over the years to have received many referrals from peers, colleagues, professional connections, and vendors. I am grateful for their endorsements and recommendations. However, after a perspective client hears glowing reviews, some want to bypass formality, and adopt a client mentality without making the commitment or investment.
Creating a Mutually-Beneficial Relationship
I, and my firm are “all in” and become passionate advocates for the businesses and brands we work with. Because we invest so much; even after being chosen as “the best” to help them achieve their goals, we have found it necessary to part ways with existing clients, or withdrawn proposals from new clients, who fail to demonstrate a healthy respect for the experience and time that enables us to provide the information and support they need to be successful in achieving their goals.
To impress upon those who seem not to understand the value of a consultant, I have written the following as therapy for myself, and for professional consultants in all industries who may find themselves in the same situation.
Consultant Bill of Rights
Time is Money.
A consultant has the right to expect to be compensated fairly. As your adviser, I will generously share my knowledge, connections, experience and insights to help you be successful. However, as a consultant, talking about your business is not my hobby, it is the core of my profession. I have worked very hard to earn respect in my industry, based on my tireless commitment to develop, test and implement methods that deliver results. Like the inventor that creates a patent, the programmer that creates a game, or musician who composes a song, being compensated for my talent and knowledge is the core of my career.
If I wanted to give away free advice, I’d become a bartender and listen to people talk for hours while selling cocktails, (time in the context of a professional relationship is never free). Although I expect to be compensated for my time, I have not elected to become a consultant solely for the money. I gain great satisfaction in providing value and helping others achieve their goals, so you can expect the very best I have to offer, always.
If you think it is expensive to hire an expert, try hiring an amateur.
Fight or Flight
A consultant has the right to expect your cooperation and commitment. If you hire me to provide you with recommendations that you can act upon to more aggressively pursue and claim your market share in your industry, be prepared to fight for it. In other words, you should be hungry as I am for success and be willing to step up to the plate and execute our agreed plan; or simply accept defeat and let your competitors own the marketplace. When we agree on a plan, be prepared to make it happen. If I am willing to move mountains to deliver results to you, it is imperative that you be ready, willing and able to facilitate success. Why waste all the time and money in a plan you have no ability or intention to implement?
If you are not 100% comfortable with the plan, let’s work through it, together. However, if you are afraid of succeeding, it won’t matter what we do – you will likely find a way to sabotage all the good work being done on your behalf and no one will be satisfied with the outcome.
In other words, Go big, or go home.
10% Implementation Will Never Yield 100% Results
A consultant has the right to expect you to invest in results you expect to receive. Do not cherry pick portions of a comprehensive plan and expect the same results as if you had deployed the entire plan. I am passionate about delivering results, and neither you or I will be satisfied if the program is scaled back or terminated before it can deliver ROI you are seeking.
If you are limited by time, budget or marketplace restraints – make me aware and we will work together to tailor a program that works within the parameters you are comfortable with committing to – this approach will always yield better results than if you lose interest or funding partially through a comprehensive program.
Let’s Just Be Friends
A consultant has the right to terminate a professional relationship that is not working. If you feel that these “rights” are selfish or unreasonable, we have no business working together. Just like any other type of relationship, the client-consultant relationship must be a healthy collaboration that is profitable for both parties if it is to sustain the test of time. It does not mean I don’t like you. It just means we are not a good fit to be effective in the context of a professional relationship. I will wish you well and refer you to other resources that may be able to assist you.
If you have read this and are not offended; value fierce loyalty in professionals you associate with; actually want to work with the best (not just say you do); want to experience the benefits of a powerful association from which value of our collaboration is greater than the sum of its parts; I hope you will contact me immediately – we MUST work together!