You’ve scheduled an intro meeting with a consultant. Great! Now what?
Consider this initial conversation as a “Get-to know-you” session. This informal meeting will help you both understand what your business needs, how their skills and experiences could address those needs, and how well your personalities may complement one another.
As you have a limited amount of time together, it’s important that you make the most of it. Here are four tips to optimize your time and get the most out of your meeting:
- Prepare: Do your research ahead of time and come prepared with questions.
- Find the Right Match: Verify that their experience and personality match your unique requirements
- Be honest about your timing and budget: This will help the consultant propose the services they think are best for you.
- Build Relationships: Get to know each other! This may be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.
When beginning your consultation, you should have an idea of what you want to discuss. This will help you make the most of your time and get the information you want from the meeting.
Help the consultant help you. You may want to prepare questions or topics that are important for you to cover. If this is your first meeting with the consultant, it’s a good idea to have any relevant documents or materials readily accessible. For example, if you’re looking for guidance on how to set up a marketing plan, you might want to bring along data from other years.
It’s also wise to do some research on the consultant beforehand; their Cansulta profile is a great place to start. This way, you can ask more specific questions about their experience and services. The consultant is there to answer all of your questions, but bringing planned questions or sharing background information gives them an idea of what you need and lets them guide the conversation accordingly. Better yet, message them in advance to provide as much context as possible about your organization, challenges, and even your questions so they can arrive with some background and you can save time and dive right into discussion!
Check out our “9 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring a Consultant” Blog Post
Finally, relax! Taking a few moments to relax can improve concentration and allow your brain to process new information more efficiently.
Find the Right Match
These are the three things you want to discover from your meeting with a consultant:
- You want to know if the consultant is knowledgeable about your industry.
- You want to get a sense of their personality and approach, and whether you’ll be able to work well together.
- And finally, you want to see if they have good ideas that can be applied to your business.
If you’re in an industry where there’s a lot of competition, such as law or accounting, then having someone who’s familiar with your competitors is invaluable. Getting a sense of the consultant’s personality is also important because it will determine how easily they communicate with you. Finally, if the consultant has some good ideas to offer, then those will help improve your bottom line.
Get help finding the right match for you and your business by using the Cansulta Concierge service.
Be Honest About Your Timeline and Budget
Being up front about expectations and resources will help consultants understand what kind of services they can provide for you. If you’re not honest about your needs, requirements, and any limitations, the consultant may give you advice or develop a strategy that is out of your price range or cannot be completed when needed, which could lead to frustration on both ends.
For example, if you tell the consultant that you want all of their top-of-the-line services but don’t have an unlimited budget, they can’t provide a realistic timeline or estimate. Disclosing a realistic budget and deadlines will allow them to recommend the best cost-effective options or tailor a custom package to suit your needs.
It’s important to remember that, first and foremost, you’re building a relationship together. This is not a transaction; it’s the beginning of what could be a long and fruitful partnership. So, take a few minutes to get to know them, and be yourself!
If you have an idea for a task or project but don’t have a specific plan yet, ask! The consultant should have years of experience facing similar situations and will likely have their own thoughts and recommendations to share. Don’t forget that this meeting is also an opportunity for them to evaluate whether or not they want to work with you, too. Listen well and take notes! It may seem obvious, but listening well is crucial to any successful working relationship!
Next time you have an Introductory meeting with a consultant, remember these four tips to help you make the most of your time. Keep in mind that an introductory meeting is just that – an introduction. It’s an opportunity for the consultant to understand what you need help with and whether they can provide the support you need. Use that time wisely!