How to find your Ideal Consulting Client?

Your ideal customer is the one to whom you bring the greatest value. And since you bring high value to people, you will be rewarded accordingly with high paycheck. Simple mathematical logic. But let’s pose a moment on this. I’m sure you’re starting to sense the importance of this last sentence: we’re not looking for the richest prospect on the market, nor the largest company in the world to work with, but the entity with the most difficult and painful situation to solve. If you want to maximize your results, you cannot simply engage as many leads as possible and allocate your time equally among them. Instead, you’re going to concentrate on customers who have the highest probability of being negatively impacted by the absence of your solution.

Ideal

The lady who rents one of my apartments recently experienced a situation some of us have maybe already faced. Already in a hurry for an important meeting she couldn’t miss, she was finishing getting ready. Assembling all his belongings before leaving the condo, she finally slams the door behind her, goes down the stairs to the parking, and engines her car. After a few seconds, she realizes that she forgot the professional file she completed the evening before and she’s on the verge to present. She stops the car, runs up the stairs, and there…found the door shut with the keys inside.

In your opinion, who’s the best client of the locksmith? The owner who comes to make a copy of the keys, or the lessee who can’t wait and paid 350€ to be sure to be on time at the office? You get it, You probably also noticed that a number of factors have influenced the lady to buy to this specific locksmith. We’re going to come back to this.

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But how can I find my ideal consulting client?

The practical exercise to this hurdle is found in what marketing specialists name MARKET SEGMENTATION and TARGETING.

SEGMENTATION involves breaking a market into segments, small portions of the market which gather entities with the same profile based upon different criteria. In this first step, your « laser mind » will mentally cut the market, and you’ll make a note in front of you (or open an Excel file) to perform the following exercise.

Write the following corporate factors on the horizontal axis :

  • identity :
    • sector of activity/industry
    • company size (FTEs)
    • location (yes, the locksmith was the closest of the apartement),
    • values, mission and culture (innovation,…)
  • operations :
    • equipment,
    • current or past solution for the identified issue,
    • purchasing policy,
    • identified buyer (level and position within the company, personal objectives)
  • strategy :
    • in-house capacities or propensity to subcontract  (Make or Buy decision)
    • development, M&A…
  • finance :
    • turn-over,
    • current financial health
    • investment.

And then note all the company names that come to your mind on the ordinate. They’re players facing similar tricky experiences you can diagnose and for which you bring the same desired benefits.

  • People of interest for my services :
    • seniority
    • department/business unit
    • job title

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Start with the closest companies, and then enlarge the geographical circle. At the beginning of consulting activity, I strongly recommend you to avoid mentioning any international structure. Like Airbnb company success story, a business scales when it applies an eccentric strategy, moving away from the center little by little. Don’t try to go too fast and too far at the beginning, and prefer to focus on regional and national actors.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve started to offer services outside Belgium only after 4 years of consulting activity, and I still focus on customers relatively close to my offices, like Switzerland or France. My market is composed only with biotechnology companies which faced commercial and marketing difficulties in term of strategy or execution. Working with french speaking companies ensure me to always be on the same page since French is my native language.

TARGETING  is the act of selecting one or more market segments to best serve your consulting strategy. On the contrary to mass marketing, we’re going to develop a ONE SEGMENT/ONE OFFER approach. Don’t forget that the power of a laser comes from the concentration of all beams in one single spot, and this is exactly what we want to achieve here.

You’re now drawing a graphic like the one below, with the Severity Level in ordinate, which indicates the relative impact of the issue on your customer organization, and on the abscissa its Propension To Buy. All your segments are going now to be placed on this display depending on their respective level for the two different factors.

Will AI Kill the Consulting Industry?

Kill The rise of artificial intelligence in recent years has been accompanied by headlines about a huge coming wave of technological unemployment—no longer will people be needed for anything that involves data processing, pattern recognition, and so on.

At the leading edge of this revolution: the consulting industry, which thrives on its ability to identify trends and technologies that will reshape its clients’ businesses—often selling these very technologies as solutions.

Kill

But, as a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review notes, the advent of ever-more-sophisticated AI may be coming for the consultants themselves:

“One might argue that corporate clients prefer speaking to their strategy consultants to get high priced, custom-tailored advice that is based on small teams doing expensive and time-consuming work. And we agree that consultants provide insightful advice and guidance. However, a great deal of what is paid for with consulting services is data analysis and presentation. Consultants gather, clean, process, and interpret data from disparate parts of organizations. They are very good at this, but AI is even better. For example, the processing power of four smart consultants with excel spreadsheets is miniscule in comparison to a single smart computer using AI running for an hour, based on continuous, non-stop machine learning.”

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The rest of the article makes equally grim reading for those in the consulting industry—especially if the advances the authors expect to see in AI actually come to fruition. Noting that products such as Apple’s Siri, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa can already interpret many of our daily needs—and that they’re learning from us all the time—the authors conclude that:

“It is likely only a matter of time until all leaders and management teams can ask Alexa things like, “Who is the biggest risk to me in our key market?”, “How should we allocate our capital to compete with Amazon?” or “How should I restructure my board?”

I’m going to stick my neck out a little here and admit to feeling somewhat skeptical about this utopic vision of a world where corporate leaders just ask their watch or cellphone a couple of questions and base their answers on the outcome. Firstly, as the article notes, data quality is a huge concern—as is privacy and security. It’s one thing to imagine a future where I ask Alexa where my company’s biggest risk lies. It’s quite another to imagine that future when I include a bunch of competitors who will be doing everything possible to hide and obfuscate their own data while trying to learn mine.

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Sure, when it comes to internal data—especially in large, complicated companies—being able to call up a comparison of YOY marketing spend at a moment’s notice is a definite improvement over the current process of hiring a consulting firm. But, in addition to the aforementioned data security risk, this scenario also assumes that consultants won’t simply harness this ability and build it out as part of their suite of services—something that is, in fact, already happening at several leading firms in the industry. 

When previously considering the possibility of technical disruption in other industries, I’ve made the point that we don’t have to be looking at an either/or scenario: the purpose of most technological advances is to be able to do more, better, and cheaper than you could without the technology. So, yes: a decade from now, consulting firms will likely have fewer first-year associates pulling long hours turning data into charts for presentations. But the idea that executives will stop relying on expert outside counsel—which, despite the characterization of consultants in that first excerpt above remains the overriding purpose of strategy consultants—seems far-fetched, especially when those experts will also be able to utilize these technologies in their analyses.

15 Best Consulting Firms for Gender Pay Equality

Firms Every year, Vault surveys thousands of professionals at the best consulting firms around the world. Their responses form Vault’s annual rankings of the top consulting firms in prestige, quality of life, and numerous other factors such as diversity and compensation.

Firms

Drawing from the 2019 consulting rankings for North American firms, we’ve compiled a list of 15 consultancies that are making strides in closing the gender-based pay gap. Survey respondents were asked to rate their employers on a scale of 1 to 10 based on pay equality. The firms you see below each had more than 100 responses, and are organized by their pay equality score.

1.) Bain & Company

Selected response: “Bain has a number of diversity groups to support not only the recruiting efforts of these diversity groups, but to build a more robust culture within the firm. Regarding compensation, I could not imagine a more transparent compensation policy than what Bain institutes—everyone makes the same base salary…The difference comes in bonuses, but they are tied exclusively to performance ratings, so there is no possibility for pay inequality…”

2.) McKinsey & Company 

Selected response: “The firm has a really strong commitment to equity of pay and opportunities. For example, during reviews (when pay and promotion decisions are often made), the firm even appoints someone in the room to specifically call out unconscious bias so that reviewers are talking just about the merits of each individual person. The firm also invests heavily in developing and supporting women in the firm so that they’re ready to take on those promotion opportunities.”

3.) L.E.K. Consulting

Selected response: “The promotion discussions are very open, and there is a consensus decision on who gets promoted, followed by an appropriate justification. Both male and female managers are involved in making the decision for a person’s promotion. Pay scale is based on quantitative ratings rather than subjective feelings, hence there is pay equity per employees’ performance reviews.”

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4.) Strategy& 

Selected response: “There is an increasing effort to promote gender diversity and transparency into the promotion policy. Last year, the head of Strategy& left and was replaced with one of the women partners… Also, the pay levels are a bit formulaic, so it would be hard for me to imagine pay inequity.”

5.) The Brattle Group

Selected response: “Brattle is a very open environment and there is generally clear communication regarding compensation and the basis for it. Brattle has a highly educated workforce that is quite diverse.”

6.) A.T. Kearney

Selected response: “A.T. Kearney is proactive and transparent in addressing the gender gap in consulting. There is a concerted effort for hiring equity at the junior ranks and increasing focus on increasing the presence of women in firm leadership.”

7.) Trinity Partners, LLC

Selected response: “Trinity is very cognizant of pay equity, and has dedicated resources to ensure there is no gender-based pay gap. I am impressed by its willingness to look inward and analyze its own performance to foster a work environment in which there are equal opportunities for male and female employees.”

8.) Simon-Kucher & Partners

Selected response: “The firm is pretty open with how they set salaries. Each person is assigned to a “cohort” based on level of education and number of years at the firm. High performers are primarily rewarded through bonuses and promotions. And, I’ve seen very similar promotion timelines between male and female co-workers.”

9.) Bates White Economic Consulting 

Selected response: “The firm engages in a thorough, thoughtful, and inclusive compensation process that seeks input from external benchmark data, 360 performance reviews, and objective business measures. Authority for compensation adjustments is delegated to Practice Leaders and harmonized by the Board of Directors and senior leadership.”

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10.) ZS (Score: 8.777)

Selected response: “ZS has been very transparent in sharing analysis that compares the equality of men vs. women both in terms of pay and promotion.  As a participant in most local promotion decisions, I have never felt there has ever been any discussion (either direct or indirect) other than the performance of the individual.”

11.) Oliver Wyman 

Selected response: “Very structured consultant compensation model… Level determines compensation. Promotion opportunities harder to define. Personally, as a woman, I feel I have been given strong access to promotion opportunities.”

12.) Deloitte Consulting LLP 

Selected response: “I believe that promotions are earned based on our ability to earn our clients trust and ability to serve them consistently over a period of time. Market eminence and subject matter expertise determine promotion readiness.”

13.) PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Selected response: “Salaries are laid out based on fairly mechanical lines, so that someone in the same position with the same tenure would be paid regardless of gender. The firm is greatly focused on ensuring female and diverse employees are given opportunities to excel.  In a group where travel is basically required (like many in consulting), the firm tries to give mothers flexibility and is actively trying to retain them…”

14.) Alvarez & Marsal

Selected response: “I believe that women in the office are fully supported and receive equal pay and opportunities.”

15.) Accenture

Selected response: “Base pay is a sliding scale across genders, although I don’t know if there is a difference between bonus payouts. I do feel that Accenture has a strong commitment to diversity, especially across genders. It’s one of the few global corporations setting public goals and sharing current gender mixes (50/50 male/female by 2025).”

That Boost Consultants’ Professional Growth

Professional Sophisticated clients, high-level responsibility, and dynamic teams: these items top the wish lists of most candidates seeking consulting positions. And for very good reason—working alongside high-caliber colleagues on the most cutting-edge work provides invaluable experiences.

But there is one often-forgotten area that job candidates should also prioritize when assessing consulting firms (or any employers for that matter): training—more specifically, holistic training.

Professional

Holistic training doesn’t merely address the practical skills a person needs to complete his or her job; it goes beyond those to consider the person as a whole—their experience level, their specific concerns, their relationships, their learning style, and more—to provide them with the tools they need to excel.

In developing its current training program, Putnam Associates embraced a holistic approach. According to Ben Diop, Principal at Putnam, the firm asked itself, “How can we make sure that everyone gets the kind of support and tools they need to be 100% engaged every day at work?

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Tiered Leadership Training

Clients who hire top consulting firms expect the brightest minds. But they also demand impeccable service and a team that is ready to hit the ground running. The firm must provide its consultants with the practical know-how to tackle assignments. Whether it’s in-house sessions, role play, interactive programs, or outside-expert presentations, consulting firms may implement various tools to arm employees with the requisite skills needed.

Not all trainings are equal, however, and tailoring training to consultants’ needs and experience levels can add major value.

“In recent years, we fine-tuned the kinds of training we’ve done for very specific levels,” says Diop. “Having a tiered approach to the training helps address developmental needs that an employee may face at various stages of their career, rather than going through the same process year over year”

Beyond Everyday Skills

But technical skills alone aren’t sufficient for optimal professional growth.

It’s very easy to train our employees in cool Excel skills or master SPSS, but with these trainings we try to go beyond the technical requirements of the job.” says Diop. “The idea is to ensure that soft skills like presentation and client management are also being addressed in a structured manner.”

In exploring its consultants’ training needs, Putnam found that one major area was lacking: soft skills. Consultants were achieving great results, but there was an opportunity to provide training that would increase communication, build more effective teams, and improve employee engagement and satisfaction.

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Out of Office

A holistic training model goes beyond “conference room” learning. Hosting off-site development programs can bolster team bonding, provide a forum for discussion, and better reach those with differing learning styles. Off-site trainings also reinforce the firm’s support for their consultants’ development.

 “These off-site trainings really do protect the training time and convey that ‘this is time that is important for you and to us,’” says Diop.

Consultants at Putnam are enthusiastic about the firm’s off-site trainings. The firm hosts a Case Leadership Training at Chatham Bars Inn, in Chatham, MA; a Team Building Outing at the Museum of Science, and an Advanced Consulting Skills Training at Wentworth by the Sea in New Hampshire.

Encourage Employee Input

Truly effective training does not take place in a bubble. A critical component to holistic training is considering what the actual trainees need. In other words, effective development programs incorporate staff feedback. Employees at Putnam have a voice in the firm’s development programs and can make specific requests for training topics. By keeping its finger on the pulse of consultants’ professional needs, the firm has been able to tailor its training to its specific functions, work, and clients.

“I think one thing that is unique to Putnam is that everyone is invested in the growth of the firm,” says Murali, who explains that the firm listens to everyone’s feedback when creating training goals and programs. “We have been able to maximize the training because of the fact that it is developed internally and addresses specific requests brought forth by employees.” says Murali.

For example, after employees requested greater emphasis on diversity, Putnam formalized a diversity initiative. The goal of the initiative was to provide an open forum for employees to explore and discuss diversity and to provide proper support to employees of all backgrounds.

The 5 Best Consulting Firms for Benefits!

Benefits Did you know that this coming Friday, September 6, is National 401(k) Day? Who would’ve thought there was a national holiday devoted to promoting 401(k) education?

Benefits

Given that there’s a day of observance for pretty much everything (you can celebrate National Peanut Day just one day later), it’s actually pretty smart that we have one to increase awareness about the importance of saving for retirement. Started by the Plan Sponsor Council of America, part of the American Retirement Association, National 401(k) Day is celebrated the Friday after Labor Day, so that we can “start the week with Labor Day and end the week with Retirement”.

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401(k) and similar retirement savings plans are, of course, just one of many important benefits companies offer employees to contribute positively to their quality of life and overall well-being. As you know, Vault recently released our 2020 Rankings of the Best Consulting Firms to Work For in North America. These encompass our overall rankings as well as those broken out by key employment factors, including benefits.

To highlight some great companies that really take care of their employees, here’s a recap of the 5 Best Consulting Firms for Benefits.

5. Analysis Group

Select Employee Review: “AG offers pretty much every perk out there including free food, excellent medical coverage, gym/lifestyle reimbursement, retirement matching plan, coverage of education expenses, discounts, paid maternity/paternity leaves, etc…The firm invests a lot in the wellbeing of its employees, and we can feel it in the office engagement and happiness level.”

3. Bain & Co.

Select Employee Review: “Bain has an incredible compensation structure, including base salary, a generous bonus, automatic 401K contributions, and profit-sharing.”

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2. McKinsey & Co.

Select Employee Review: “Bain has an incredible compensation structure, including base salary, a generous bonus, automatic 401K contributions, and profit-sharing.”

1. Boston Consulting Group

Select Employee Review: Incredible compensation, not just in salary, but in best-in-class healthcare/retirements benefits and other additional perks.”

Top 13 Zoom Key­board Short­cuts for the iPad

Zoom makes teleconferencing incredibly easy with a host of intuitive controls and features. It is platform agnostic and that is one of the reasons for its popularity since it already caters to over 300 million daily meeting participants. But, it’s not exactly a straightforward app and muting/unmuting calls can become a chore. So, if you use Zoom for professional and personal calls on your iPad, you can make things even easier for yourself with some keyboard shortcuts.

Zoom While Zoom for iPad doesn’t carry enough sophisticated shortcuts as on desktops, you can still make the best out of the few and avoid tapping the screen fervently. That’s why the Bluetooth keyboards can be useful for something more than merely typing.

Without further ado, let’s check out a list of the best Zoom keyboard shortcuts (both direct and system-based) for the iPad to help with navigation and multitasking.

1. STOP/START VIDEO

Let’s say you are in the middle of an important video call and someone just barges into your room. Meanwhile, you’ll have a little clue since you’d be paying attention to the other participant’s video.

Before you end up embarrassing yourself, press Command + Shift + V shortcut to quickly stop your video.

After you’ve dealt with the situation, use the same shortcut to unblock the camera.

Even if you stop the video with this shortcut, the microphone will remain active and the participants can still hear everything. So you have to tackle that as well, right? Continue reading.

2. MUTE/UNMUTE MICROPHONE

So if someone suddenly drops in while you’re on a call, your phone rings or there is a sudden spike in the ambient sound level, then you should mute the audio. Take pity on your participants and press Command + Shift + A to mute the microphone. Repeat the shortcut to unmute yourself.

3. DISPLAY/HIDE CHAT

Want to access the Zoom chat box during a meeting? Quit opening the Zoom menu each time you view or hide chat and press Command + Shift + H instead.

When you’re done chatting, perform the same shortcut to hide the chat box.

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4. MINIMIZE MEETING

If you want to check other Zoom chats, view upcoming meetings, or modify the Zoom settings, you must first minimize the current Zoom meeting. Press Command + Shift + M to do that and people won’t even notice.

Once minimized, you can drag the floating window of the meeting feed to any corner of the screen while you interact with the rest of the Zoom user interface.

Tap on the floating meeting pane whenever you want to maximize it. Just like YouTube’s Picture-in-Picture mode in Chrome.

5. DISPLAY/HIDE PARTICIPANTS LIST

The Participants list in Zoom meetings lets you do all sorts of things from inviting new people, reporting participants, to muting them. Press Command + U to bring the Participants list.

Repeat the shortcut to hide it.

6. CLOSE WINDOWS

The Command + W key combo helps you close most Zoom pop-ups and windows — Participants list, Meeting Settings, etc. — immediately. However, don’t go overboard with that else you might end up closing the on-going call window too. Also, it beats tapping elsewhere or reach out for those Close/Done buttons.

7. SHOW SHORTCUTS

Certain shortcuts can be hard to remember. But don’t worry. Simply press and hold the Command key for a couple of seconds to bring up a handy list of the shortcuts listed above.

As long as you have Zoom open, you can access the shortcuts list whenever you want. Zoom will display shortcuts that it supports directly within this list. Keep an eye out whenever a new Zoom update hits your iPad.

8. SWITCH APPS

Noticed a notification and want to switch to that app while a Zoom meeting is in progress? Press and hold Command + Tab, and then press the Tab key (while holding down the Command key) to move along the list of open apps — release the Tab key to open the app that you want to access.

9. TAKE SCREENSHOT

Unlike on desktop, Zoom offers no direct shortcut to take screenshots of the key moments in your meetings. But you can always rely on the iPad’s system screenshot key combo — press Command + Shift + 3 for that.

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10. TAKE SCREENSHOT AND EDIT

Want to edit your screenshots as soon as you take them? Press Command + Shift + 4 to open the Markup mode for editing the image. However, note that Zoom will pause your video while you perform the edits, but your microphone will continue to be active.

11. BRING UP DOCK

Want to drag out an app from the iPad dock to work in Slide Over? To bring up the dock in the midst of a meeting, press Command + Option + D.

12. START SEARCHING

Can’t find the app that you want to multitask with on the iPad dock? Search for it instead with the Command + Space shortcut to summon Spotlight.

13. GO TO HOME SCREEN

Whenever you want to visit the Home screen of your iPad, either use the Command + H key combo or press the Esc key.

However, visiting the Home screen will not stop the meeting that you are hosting or participating in. Zoom will pause your video, but not the microphone and audio. To go back to the meeting, tap either the Zoom icon on the Home screen or the Zoom app card in the app switcher.

ZOOM YOUR WAY

Shortcuts help out a lot in speeding up the Zoom app experience on the iPad. And due to the desktop-oriented approach of iPadOS, expect new shortcuts to hit Zoom sooner rather than later.

Appearance so important in consulting business?

business When he was young he founded his own company “Victoria” and rapidly became a multi-millionaire. But Sam was originally a child abandoned by his parents. A circus owner has fostered him. Since the latter often found the young boy staring at lions in their cage, he decided to call him Sam Lion.

But Sam had no talent for circus performing. He was so first compelled to work as a cleaner and pick up animal excrements all day long. He finally got the idea to develop cleaning machines to help any public area cleaner to deliver easier and better outcomes.

business

This is the story of “Itinéraire d’un enfant gâté” (Itinerary of a spoiled kid), one of the most emblematic movies of French cinema, for which Jean-Paul Belmondo received a Cesar in 1989.

There’s a funny sequence in this film that’s even more cult than anything else in the film. Since Sam no longer wishes to continue running his company, he undertakes to train a naive young man, Albert, to succeed him.

Consultant dress and acts like the successful person they want to be

Sam asks Albert to take a room in one of the most expensive hotel in town. He also told him to buy a nice suit and to avoid any mismatch between shirts and suit (stripes with stripes for instance).

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If it isn’t already done, buy a nice suit. Right now.

Prefer neutral and dark colors like grey, black or blue. They’re classical, never old-fashioned and can be easily paired with different shirts. They also convey authority and accessibility. If you’re poorly dressed, everyone will remember your suit. If you’re well dressed, everyone will remember YOU.

Pick up a suit that fits with your physical appearance and ask the tailor to make appropriate cut. If you pay enough for a suit, you’ll be comfortable in it and so be confident with others.

Body and mind are closely connected.  If you look and act like a success, people will buy success from you. Your shoes should be shined, your hair well styled (I don’t have hair anymore, so one less problem), and your accessories intelligent.

It’s not superficial. It’s essential. What’s the difference between an expensive outfit and poor one? Your confidence.

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The most important thing in life: learn to say “hello”

There is a difference in the results when these “little” things work for you. Things like a pleasant smell, a fresh breath, or a nice suit. You’re smiling? But how many consultants did you encounter that had a poor presence, a poor makeup and a dirty shirt with grease spots?

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. And trust is built on it. In fact, to be realistic, the world is built on first impressions.  And it’s indelible.

Since people need to retain specific information among tons of data, they’re going to link your profile to a certain feeling. And for a long time!

If you say hello properly with a nice and sincere smile, you’re halfway there. What people are interested in is that you talk about them, not yourself.

Marcel Pagnol used to say, “Boring people talk about themselves, talkative people talk about others, but the intelligent ones talk about you”. It’s so a valuable lesson, but so rarely applied.

Some freelancers love to speak about themselves, their past missions, their background, their success, and even sometimes their family holidays. But remember why you’re there. You’re only there to understand how you can help your customers by developing a deep sense of empathy and putting you in their shoes.

My belief is that you cannot fake empathy, so be sincere.

Everybody has a profound desire to be understood and have many needs to be taken care of. Don’t spoil everything pretending you know what is good for them. The discussion is not about you; it’s only about THEM.

The future of independent consultants

independent In the past week, a close friend of my wife asked me about my feeling and vision about the future of consulting activity and freelancers. He was not familiar with the independent status and was deeply curious to understand the underlying system. As a bonding experience, we’ve decided to put down in writing our discussion.

independent

Self-employment is definitely accelerating.

Today, 36% of the US workers (57.3 million) are freelancers who work from home and they collectively contribute $1.4 trillion to the economy every year: it’s (just) a 30% increase since 2016.  By 2020, 43% of the total U.S. workforce will be freelancers and this number will reach 55% by 2027. The traditional employee status will become the new minority.

In the United-Kingdom, based on the report of the Office of National Statistics, employment patterns have totally shifted over the past decade. Traditional full-time employment remains stable, while self-employment has grown by 25%.

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How do you explain this trend in freelance activity? »

The explanations can be found in the fact that the barrier to entrepreneurship has radically decreased thanks to the massive use of the internet and the easy access to knowledge. Nowadays you can learn anything in a very cost-efficient way and start your own business with a computer and a phone only.

Furthermore, I feel a revival of the individual quest for freedom and identity: people want to be the master of their time and take control of their life. They’re looking for meaning and they’re craving for new experiences that convey a sense of fulfillment.

The biotechnology sector is one of the top providers of opportunities for the 21rst century.

But let’s be transparent and objective, the major providers of freelance missions will be AI and robotics in the coming years. For the moment there’s a lack of skills in the market place, supply and demand are dramatically unbalanced, so the independent experts in these sectors will have access to an overwhelmed number of crazy opportunities.

How do freelance workers find consultancy missions? »

In the past, most opportunities were coming from word of mouth and freelancers used to exclusively work with people they know pretty well coming from their inner circle of acquaintances. But I think this model is going to become a bygone age.

  • First, the demand is global and recruiters are looking for a fast return of investment: you can’t ask a European freelancer to develop your business in South America and vice versa: she doesn’t have the appropriate connections, neither the culture or the language.
  • Second, markets are becoming too complex. Companies are based in several countries working on several time zones, depending on different local regulatory rules, and decision markers are spread all over the globe.
  • Third, the level of expertise is increasing exponentially. People are more than just « experts »: they’re experts in a particular subject, in a special niche, so it’s impossible to be comfortable with any topic even in your own field. So, rather than simply rejecting the mission, which could be misinterpreted (lack of ambition, lack of skills…), it is better to outsource your client’s request to another trusted freelancer.

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« What is your vision of the independent consulting market? »

I’ve founded Freelance Biotech in order to give people the opportunity to start self-employment activity but also to improve their skills by joining a tribe who share the same ambition and taste for freedom. Of course, we’re all fond of life sciences.

When I discuss with people they tell me the first value of freelancebiotech.com is the 1-to-1 connection between recruiters and freelancers for a particular mission.  It’s quite simplistic. The value of our platform is in people who have made the choice to join a community and our strength lies in the tribe.

I’ve noticed that many struggling consultants feel alone because they lack a support network to provide encouragement and advice. This is the dark side of the home office: a deep feeling of isolation may afflict you. Sharing with your peers is always the best source of information, so we strongly invite our freelance community to share information, good practices and especially to establish contacts.

4 Tricks To Better Sell Your Consulting Services

Services Stephan has started selling and buying real estate by accident after failing economic studies and playing theater as an amateur with friends. Unemployed, he gave himself a try as a real-estate middle-man at his cousin’s business place and rapidly became the best seller ever.

Services

In 2015, Stephane made a genius move by branding his famous last name to a network of real estate offices, becoming a multi-millionaire without having to create a single agency. Since 2005, Stephane runs his own TV shows « Maison à vendre », « Recherche Appartement »… inspired by the concept of the American show « Sell This House », where he can combine his expertise for real-estate and his talent for acting.  The show depicts people who have relentlessly struggled with the sale of their house for months, sometimes for years. They finally called for help and hired Stephane as a sales consultant.

An independent contractor questions his consulting services and faces the hard cold truth

The show starts with Stephane making a tour of the property and asking diagnostic questions. A lot, in fact. His purpose is to fully understand the key parameters gravitating around the sale: the emergency situation for the people, the attraction for the product and the technical features of the house.

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The emergency is never a good situation for a consultant.

Don’t let impatience be your guide and take your time to negotiate your contract properly. Of course, sometimes an independent doesn’t have the choice anymore as his financial situation is becoming a dead-end. Learn to anticipate to avoid being stuck in painful situations.

Figure the metrics linked to the attraction of your consulting services. 

When Stephane asks about how many visits or how many offers people got, you have to make a parallel with your corporate activity. Nowadays it’s quite easy to test the attraction of a new offer on social media or give a few calls to test your consulting idea with prospects.

The value of a consultant resides also on her ability to have a fresh perspective.

Be honest with yourself. Yes, you do not have perfect service, and yes you can do provide better consulting services. Learn how to emphasize qualities and reduce defaults. If one customer likes what you deliver, probably others will.

Consultants do their research and benchmark their service

Do your homework about the competition.

To learn about alternative offers is a nice way to keep on eye on the market dynamics. But please don’t turn it into an obsession. At the end of the day, your real focus must be your service, your user feedback, and your client relationship.

Position your product in a nice price range.

Don’t hesitate to ask colleagues to estimate the value/price ratio. Ask yourself if people perceive the same value as you do.

Freelancers know how to dress up something old as something new

Don’t put personal feelings into the equation

In his TV show, Stephane used to make a fresh start and clean everything that links the house to personal feelings and criteria. Your product is your baby but it doesn’t belong to you anymore: it’s already in your client’s hands. It’s a difficult step, but it’s a necessary one. Start putting yourself in your clients’ shoes and take out your personal life from the equation.

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Don’t spend too much money on your Minimum Viable Services

It’s possible to improve your product or services, but get used to spending a maximum of 2 or 3% of the total cost on it and not more. Like home staging, increase pragmatic features, the user-friendly side.

Give a feeling of comfort and create a service people would like to use again and again. Like Steve Jobs, stay connected to fashion and design: a practical service can also be esthetically pleasing.

Make a first good impression

You have only 90 seconds to make a first good impression. Take care of what people will first discover and try to immediately create emotions. Don’t forget that the buying process is a good mix of vibes and rational explanations.

Consultants don’t forget to have fun when they are at work

During the show, Stephane always wears a fancy dress, playing with children and telling jokes. Selling can be fun if you put things in perspective. As a sales professional, Stephane has a good sense of humor. He takes his profession and his prospects’ needs seriously, but not himself.

What Do Management Consultants Do?

A Management Consultant is a problem solver- that’s the simplest way in which you can describe what this job involves. As a Management Consultant, you are responsible for addressing the problems that are preventing a business from achieving its full potential.

Management

If you think that this sound like a very generic statement, well, you are not wrong because, in your capacity as a Management Consultant, you will essentially be working on problems in various aspects, departments of the business with a view to resolving them and gearing the business towards overall efficiency and growth.

Look at it from the business’s perspective to get a clearer picture of what you are expected to do when a client hires your firm for a Management Consulting project. Apart from the basic requirement that you are expected to identify roadblocks in the firm’s progress and resolve them, they have the following expectations from you:

  • You are an objective professional looking in: The firm has its own top management who are very familiar with its operations, financials, limitations, staff, etc. Why do they need to hire your Management Consultant firm or you then? Well, often, the people inside the business have too much of a personal stake in it to be able to see things clearly, especially problems that have been festering for long. An outsider like you, with the qualifications, the skills to identify and resolve problems, can view the business set up with complete objectivity. This objective viewpoint often ensures that you can pinpoint issues that the firm’s top management will never be able to spot.
  • You bring in specific expertise: The client company’s management may be skilled in aspects relevant to their own niche industry but if they are planning big moves, such as takeover or merger, they may lack the expertise to assess how it could impact the firm, whether it is a viable move or not. In fact, they may also need guidance on how to go about the process. This is a situation where a Management Consultant proves to be invaluable in lending some functional expertise that can ensure a seamless transition into the next phase for the firm.

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What Does a Management Consultant Do Day to Day?

The first thing you should know is that every single day in your life as a management consultant may be dramatically different from the previous ones. That is one of the biggest appeals of this career choice and the reason why so many people wish to enter the field. It is exciting, unpredictable, and promises something new on a continuous basis. That said, it may be possible to give a basic, very general idea of what you may be doing daily.

  • The day usually starts with the management consultant checking emails or messages to know what has been happening at work and what needs to be followed upon.
  • The next thing to do is line up client meetings where you will be discussing new projects or existing ones that you have been working on.
  • Interactions with team members to get an update of what is happening on various fronts is what follows the day’s plan is made.
  • Now is the time to prepare for your client meeting beforehand, making sure you do not get caught unawares during the interaction. Prep time maybe during your commute to the client’s place or you may allocate some time to it if the commute is not long.
  • Once you are prepped, you meet your clients, give them an update about the project or discuss what it is that you can do for them.
  • You come back to your team, probably already having in mind how to delegate the new project or the new tasks in the existing one. While you are doing so, you also get to know what the team has been up to until now.
  • Once this part is done, it is time for you to get down to your own deliverable for the rest of the day.

Typically, this is how you would want your day to pan out. However, a client call likely makes you drop your plans and come up with a quick solution to an issue that has cropped up or a new client calls in with a request to meet immediately, or perhaps a team member needs your help with a specific task. Your life can be unpredictable, but there is no doubting that as a management consultant, you will lead the most exciting, productive life!