Is there any truth to the consultant stereotypes?

Consultancy as an industry and a profession has been gaining recognition over the last decade, yet what most people don’t realise is that consulting is an old time practice that dates back throughout business. Since it was first introduced to the UK in the 1950s, consultancy has gone onto expand into multiple industries, with a variety of roles to offer. As it stands today the industry is worth £12bn and employs more than 80,000 consultants; and is only continuing to grow.

However, despite the profession’s undisputable success it is subject to much criticism; which is resulting in businesses appearing reluctant to hire a consultant, unsure that the investment will pay off. However, despite the profession’s undisputable success it is subject to much criticism; which has resulted in a culture of animosity built up of stigmas that are proving hard to shake – some more than others

You can’t do everything yourself/Sometimes you just need a bit of help

The phrase ‘consultants take your watch and tell you what time it is’ is used to reiterate the ideology that consultants don’t do anything a business can’t do themselves. Many businesses owners are reluctant to bring in a consultant because they believe no one can run their business better than themselves; due to their extensive history with the company. However, it is this same doubt that in turn is the consultant’s biggest asset. The lack of association with individual businesses is what allows a consultant to provide unbiased and unparalleled advice for the company; identifying weaknesses within the business that an employee may overlook due to their bias position. Once a business acknowledges their need for a consultant, it does not make them impotent; but in fact shows capability by choosing to put the needs of the business before their own ego.

Not just a quick fix

There are plenty of other reasons as to why a business would be hesitant towards a consultant, all of which consultants combat on a day to day business. For instance, clients may have past experiences in which they have been left dissatisfied, or potentially in a worse situation than they first started. One experience cannot be held accountable for an entire industry, in which there are countless reliable consultants waiting to help solve your problems. The benefit of a great consultant is that they will not be there for a quick fix, they are able to provide sustainable, long lasting solutions that will help both the business and its customers. These results are achieved through looking at all the past attempts made and identifying why they didn’t work in order to find a solution that won’t fail you.

Is it all just talk?

When most people think of a consultant they instantly picture a charismatic and charming professional who have a lot to say; much of which you won’t be able to understand. There is this existing stereotype that leads clients to believe that consultants only speak in complex jargon terms, using industry terminology you’d only find in a text book. Clients can be put off by the thought of intimidating jargon, for fear they may not understand what they are actually saying. However, this is an unfair prejudice as no two consultants will be the same. What a consultant will do, regardless of the jargon, is talk about information that is highly relevant to your business. You should expect a consultant make you aware of the latest surveys and studies within your industry, that will help you to make important business decisions.

How well do they know your industry?

When a business brings in a consultant, they are inviting an outsider into the core of their business to give advice and guide them to success; therefore, it is essential that the client trusts the consultant with their business. This is proving to be an issue in situations where the clients do not have faith in the consultant’s knowledge of the industry. Whilst it is understandable to have reservations it is important to remember that there job is to know your industry inside out; and amongst the thousands of consultants there will be one that is the perfect fit for your business.

For example, our managing director specialises in digital marketing consulting, for which he has gained his knowledge from his twenty-year career. Anders has worked in multiple fields, including eCommerce, marketing and IT in both B2B and B2C environments. His experience makes him more than qualified to consult companies and help them in whatever way he can. Choosing a consultant that you can rely on is essential to a successful partnership, helping to ensure effective communication that will allow both sides to work towards the same goals.

 

Sources

1 http://www.iconsulting.org.uk/purchasing-consultancy/why-use-an-ic-consultant/what-is-consulting

 

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