What makes an exceptional consultant?

Last week I explored how to become a trusted advisor. In short, the answer was to establish and build on trust in your client relationships. Expanding on this topic, is the concept that your client is looking for two things from you – an outcome and a feeling. In fact, the outcome can be great every time, but it’s the feeling your client has about their interactions with you, that keeps them coming back for more. Being one who loves a good analogy, let me illustrate it for you with the following example;

Outcome vs Feeling

Imagine your car needs a service. You drive your it to the mechanic and notice how busy they all are attending to other cars. You stand around a good five minutes waiting for someone to notice you and attend to you. Finally someone walks towards you and indicates you can begin talking without so much as a greeting. You let them know what is wrong with the car and they tell you to leave your car ‘over there’ and that someone will check it out. You ask what could be the cause of the issue and the response is “could be anything, we’ll have to take a look”. You then ask what time to pick it up. Would the end of the day be OK? They say it ‘should’ be ready by the end of the day. You leave feeling a little uneasy that they don’t really know what the issue is, what work is involved, perhaps you could end up getting ripped off, etc.. etc.. When you return at the end of the day they have attended to your car and scribble out an invoice for $1000. You pay it, not really understanding what the issue was, whether you have in fact been ripped off or taken for a ride, but the car is ‘fixed’.

Scenario number two. You selected the mechanic down the road instead. You drive in, get out your car and immediately see someone at the front desk who smiles and greets you and asks what they can do for you. You explain the issue and the mechanic takes the time to listen carefully and then explains it could be one of two issues and then goes on to explain each issue and the work that would be involved with both scenarios. They even go as far as to outline expected costs for both cases. They then let you know it will definitely be ready by 5pm and will call you once the car is inspected to let you know the actual issue and the cost prior to doing the work. You feel looked after and immediately you trust this mechanic. During the day the mechanic calls to let you know the issue is more detailed than originally thought and, after explaining the issue thoroughly, continues to tell you it will involve more time to fix, be a slightly greater cost and the unfortunately the car won’t be ready until tomorrow. You are then offered the use of their courtesy car for the inconvenience. When you collect the car the next day, the mechanic comes to greet you immediately and further explains the issue and even lifts the bonnet to show you exactly what was worked on and how it is fixed and won’t re-occur, and if it does they have a 100% workmanship guarantee they will honour.

Consider both scenarios and how you would be left feeling about your experience at each mechanics and then consider which one you would seek out to service your car again. This scenario is one I have presented to thousands of people over the years and I would say almost 100% of people choose the second mechanic.

Don’t neglect to build the feel-good factor amongst clients

Translated, the conclusion we can draw is that people select consultants based on how they feel about the way they are being treated and how they feel about the service they are receiving. This ‘feel-good’ factor allows clients to be more patient and forgiving if the outcome isn’t perfect allowing them to be more forgiving of mistakes and any hiccups to the service you provide along the way.

With this in mind, many consultants still fall into the trap of concentrating on the outcome at the expense of the feeling. When the outcome doesn’t quite go perfectly, as it will inevitably do on occasions, then the exceptional consultant will find themselves dealing with a patient, understanding and forgiving client.

So how do you go about ensuring your clients are left with a lasting ‘feel-good’ experience of you and your services? This involves a whole number of things, but essentially you need to strive to stand out from your competition, consistently build your credibility, consistently propose creative and compelling solutions and deliver results that get noticed. Plus, importantly, you need to implement strategies to establish and build on the trust and rapport of your client relationships.

I can go into much more detail and practical tools you can use to go from an average to an exceptional consultant. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today if you’d like to book one of my tailored workshops.

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