When you’re looking to hire a consultant, the first question that may come to mind is: “how much will this cost?” However, there are many questions you need to ask before hiring a consultant that don’t have anything to do with money—questions that will help get everything you want out of the relationship.
There are many consultants out there with different levels of expertise and experience, so it’s important to choose wisely if you want to get the most out of your consultant and your money. To do that, it’s essential to ask these nine questions before hiring a consultant:
- What kind of clients do you normally work with?
This question will give you some insight into whether or not they would be a good fit for your company. Do they usually work with businesses in your industry? Do they have experience working with companies of your size? Are they familiar with the types of challenges you face?
- What services do you offer?
Asking a consultant what services they offer is important for a few reasons.
► First, you want to make sure that the consultant you hire is qualified to help you with your specific problem and prepared to hit the ground running.
► Second, you want to know what the consultant will actually be doing for you.
► Finally, understanding the scope of the services offered will help you set realistic expectations for results.
- Where are you based?
Location isn’t necessarily a make-or-break for great partnerships, but may be worth considering for a few reasons:
► Depending on your business it may be important for you to have your consultant based in your local area. You may need them to have the ability to attend in-person meetings or to be familiar with your local market and trends.
► If you’re looking to hire a consultant based in another country, they may still need to be familiar with the laws and regulations in your country.
► Time-zone differences could interfere with meetings or deliverable deadlines.
► Knowing where a consultant is based can also give you some insight into their culture and how they might approach business dealings.
- How long have you been consulting for?
This will give you a good idea of their experience and expertise! Veteran consultants, while likely more expensive, may provide more reliability. And if someone is new in their career, it does not mean they’re unqualified! You may just want to delve deeper into the other questions noted here to ensure they’re a good fit for your business.
- Do you have any case studies that show how you helped other businesses in my industry?
You want to be sure that the consultant you’re hiring has experience in your industry and knows what they’re doing. The best way to gauge this is to ask for case studies of other businesses in your industry that they have helped. This will give you a good idea of their success rate and what results they can deliver.
- Are you collaborative? How would you describe your working style?
This question helps you gauge whether they work collaboratively and whether they are willing and able to work with you and your team to share updates and status of tasks.
Or, perhaps they prefer to work independently until the project is completed. This gives you both the opportunity to discuss what each of your communication expectations and work styles are. Depending on the project, or industry, either working style could be accommodated if both of you communicate your styles and needs.
- What is your process of tracking project completion? How many projects are you currently working on? How do you manage your time and could your workload interfere with our timeline?
This question has some layers, but all pertain to how to track your project completion. It requires full disclosure on your timelines and their current workload to set a baseline for expectations.
- What information or data access would you require?
This question also relates to our post, 30 Minutes to a Better Consultation: How to Make the Most of Your Introductory Meeting. Come prepared. The more specific you are about your needs, the more specific your consultant can be on what information they may require. If you’re looking to revamp your marketing approach, for example, they’ll likely need to see what you have done in the past.
- “Do you think we’d work well together?”
Put the question back to them. Let the consultant fill you in on all the reasons why you’d work well together. Or, alternatively, there could be a reason they think you wouldn’t work well together, such as schedules or timelines. (In which case, they might have a recommendation for a consultant or service that could work better!)
Booking a meeting is the first step in connecting with an expert— it will allow you to speak directly with someone who understands your problem, is qualified to address it, and who has demonstrated their ability to do so. Many factors go into determining who is the best fit for you: whether they’re local or international, their expertise and specific skill set; how they collaborate; or if you think you’d work well together.
If you’re unsure of what problem you have or what kind of consultant would best suit your needs, book a meeting or email our Concierge team at firstname.lastname@example.org today— they’ll take care of finding the perfect match for you!
Cansulta is a global platform of independent consultants that makes it easier and more affordable for business leaders to fill gaps in their internal team and optimize every aspect of their organization.