5 years later, where has the magic happened with my marketing consulting business? I have made 3 tricks as my mantra to match with a work culture that I believe is successful for thriving in a healthy consulting environment.
Being Humble and Matching with Humble Clients
It goes both ways. As a consultant, you come into your client’s company with a set of skills but they are the ones with the whole knowledge and vision about their business. Most likely, a consultant brings in a fresh and external wave of support the client does not have time or the in-house resources capacity for. It does not mean they could not do what you offer to do for them but rather they need your time to do it faster and better.
On the client side, outsourcing for your services is already a sign of humility as they recognize external parties may be a better option for the job. Nonetheless, it is important to detect a humble mindset before starting the job as well as it will be the assurance that your work will be embraced, used and useful. Keep in mind that your lead from yesterday has become your client today and will be part of your client reference portfolio tomorrow. Speaking of which…
Beyond Listening to the Need behind the Call for your Services
Once upon a time in Boulogne (North of Paris, France), I got an email from Olivier Njamfa, the CEO of Eptica, a 20-year successful company specialized in customer engagement solutions. Olivier wanted his company to take on a new leap in customer artificial intelligence solutions. Eptica had the in-house developed technology and a full-time operational marketing team.
So why would the CEO call for an external marketing expert’s services then?
Sitting and connecting at the same level with your client is another crucial part of a successful mission. Asking questions with different perspectives to get the macro underlying need helps to go beyond expectations. In the case of that company, the new product launch was actually part of a broader company rebranding objective. The first consulting job accomplished then led to other collaborations as it had been executed within full context and perspective. Your client’s success is your own success so doing the work as part of a broader strategy is critical.
Respecting Time Boundaries
One time boundary easy to break is to over-commit on a project delivery date, to burn yourself out and to disappoint the client. There is no such thing as an immediate delivery if you want to keep high standards in your work quality. Without mentioning that it would have a negative impact on your mental and physical health caused by stress. Quality takes time and there will always be a rush to execute but your work needs respect.
Again, it goes both ways. Be mindful of your communications with the client. They have a full-time job that is not to manage the consulting project. One trick here is to send a digest email or have one call between each significant advancements in the work, always during acceptable day work hour windows. Disorganized and unnecessary back and forth are not proof of hard work but rather tend to look unprofessional.
Scale your business when ready, no rush, enjoy what you do. Guess who called me a couple years following our experience working together? Olivier. He had decided to take on a new business venture and offered to partner up together. I am incredibly thankful for this experience and I would like to think that humility, beyond listening and time boundaries have been key here.
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Lena Baudo | Digital Marketing Nomad helping companies and non-profit organizations grow their business through marketing intelligence and actionable plans. My motto is to begin with the end: no data analysis = no effective decision.