We often ask our team what it takes to be a great consultant. You may have noticed, but the consulting industry is full of high performing individuals from impressive schools and interesting work experience. With competition like that, how are you supposed to differentiate yourself from your competitors and stand out?
From our experience there are a number of sought-after qualities, soft skills if I may, that we look for in a consultant that are equally important (if not more important!) than a stacked resume. Despite popular belief, having knowledge and skillset is simply not enough to be a great consultant. Those are the things we expect you to come to the table with. Communication, building trusted connections, and becoming a go-to resource is what we’re after. But how do you do build trust with your clients and become a trusted resource? Below are our top 5 tips on how you can zoom past your competitors and go from being a good consultant, to a great one.
Ask (Good) Questions
In the world of consulting, you may feel intimidated to ask your client questions, but asking good questions is not only helpful, but necessary. Never be afraid to ask for information or clarification on your task. Asking questions reinstates your understanding and shows that you are actively listening to their needs.
Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
This phrase is about showing consistency between your words and your subsequent behaviors and actions. Simply put, do exactly what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it! Listen to your clients' needs and then give your clients what they want.
Understand the “Why” to the “What”
A key quality that can take you from good to great is not only understanding the task at hand, but taking the time to understand why this task is important for your client’s vision. With proper understanding you can expand your thinking about the problem at hand and create even better solutions for your client.
Pay Attention to Detail
The key to being a great consultant is building trust with your client. Trust is built by producing error-free deliverables and paying attention to details. We encourage you, like in math, to ‘show your work’ showing the steps you took to get your answer. Pay attention to every detail. Think through every possible solution, finding any possible errors before arriving at your solution.
Become the “Go-To” for Something
Hands down the consultant who performs the best is the one who has an area of expertise they excel in. This is especially true when it’s a skillset that is in high demand that nobody else seems to have. Your mission is to find out what you can become the “go-to” person for, and then sharpen that skillset.
“As you can see, going from good to great takes only a few adjustments and tweaks, but these “tweaks” are important ones to cultivate. These are the consulting industry best practices that I instill in our team culture everyday! By focusing on these 5 tips and I know you're going to see success in your consulting career. Good luck!”
- Omar Bouhaddou, PhD (Co-Founder & CHIO of InnoVet Health)
InnoVet Health is an IT consultant company specializing inbusiness intelligence, digital services, and health interoperability founded by MIT-alumni & informatics experts. Learn more about us on our website or reach out on LinkedIn.