How to Vet a Potential Consultant

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Hiring a consultant or agency for your business can help you to achieve your goals in due time. This is because a seasoned consultant can provide you with the know-how expertise that your business needs to achieve set objectives. With the right consultant handling your business and other technical aspects of your business, you will gain the unfair advantage to compete favorably with similar businesses in your chosen niche.
The question, however, is: how do you get to hire the right consultant for your business? Of course, your business is out to make money. Hence, the right consultant should be able to help you achieve this goal through the application of the right strategies for your business. However, if you are at lost on how to choose and vet a potential consultant, this article has some proven solutions to offer you. If you can invest a few minutes of your time into reading this post, you will soon devise a means of vetting potential consultants before deciding on the right one for your business. Read on to learn simple but effective ways you can test a service provider so you won’t waste your hard-earned resources. This will definitely save you from all the troubles a wrong choice of consultant will cost your business in the future.

Try to Vet Your Potential Consultant for Niche Expertise

How knowledgeable is your potential consultant about the nitty-gritty of your niche? The first thing you need to do as a business owner is to deduce the level of expertise and skills the potential consultant has in the core area of your business specialization. Your business needs a solution provider to handle those aspects of your business you can’t handle internally.
The hope is that the potential consultant will help you to generate strategies and values that will increase your return on investment. So, you need to ask direct open-ended questions that will help you to know the consultant’s level of expertise in your niche and industry. You also need to ask direct questions relating to the service provider’s experience with your business model or the situation currently facing your business.
For instance, a consultant who is vastly experience in helping large corporations to navigate through industry and company’s internal politics might not be the appropriate person for your startup business. Yours might be someone who is passionate about helping small businesses to grow. The following questions might come handy for you.
  • Can you describe your consulting firm?
  • What types of clients do you work with?
  • How do you work with your clients?
  • Do you come into the company’s office or work remotely?
  • How would you help solve company’s current challenges? (mention your specific problem, be it marketing or technical)

Try to Vet Your Potential Consultant for Proven Track Record (Case Studies)

Going through consultants’ case studies or seeing previous works done by them, is one of the best ways you can effectively vet your potential service provider before deciding to hire them. So, if you want to have an insight into a potential consultant’s competence level, try asking for case studies on project they have done for companies in your niche. This will help you to see what they have been able to accomplished and how please the clients were with the work done. You should try to ask for the case studies early prior to the contract negotiation and be objective in your analysis as each company has their peculiar circumstances. Overall, the case studies will help you to:
  1. Vet and disqualify early any consultant who you believe are not suitable for your needs.
  2. Finally arrive at the right consultant for your project.
Ty to Vet Your Potential Consultant for Effective Communication
Your potential consultant, who you’re handing over important affairs of your company should have great communication skills. The essence of engaging a consultant is to improve results and increase income. So, your potential consultant should be able to communicate detailed information that will help improve your skills and grow your knowledge base. Your potential consultant should be patient enough to explain details to your understanding and as well teach you how to handle your own part of the strategy effectively. Thus, you should consider any poor communication skill from any consultant you’re planning to hire as a red flag.
Summarily, the following are bullet points of important questions you should ask your potential consultants during initial conversations so you can determine his or her competence level.
  • What can you tell us about yourself, the types of clients you work with, and how you work to deliver your service?
  • What is your marketing philosophy and how well does it react to change?
  • How do you measure success?
  • How soon can you adjust strategy that fails to work?
  • Do you have case studies similar to the niche in question? If not, can you prove your capability?
These questions and any other niche related ones that come to your mind will help you to determine if you’re actually interviewing the right consultant for your business. This vetting process will save you from some future troubles that emanate from the incompetency of a consultant.

Conclusion

Your judgment of the vetting process and evaluation of the various responses to your questions will go a long way to help you make an informed decision about hiring the right consultant. All you have to do is to be vigilant enough to keep track of how and when they respond to your questions. You can also take note of their body language as they try to respond your questions. Hence, everything, ranging from how quickly they get in touch after your initial inquiry, their level of experience, to their tone of communication, will go a long way to help you reach the final conclusion about which consultant is most suitable to work for you. 
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