May 09, 2024 | 4
Minute Read

How to Find the Right Business Consultant



Getting an outside perspective can be invaluable if you want to take your business to the next level. However, you need to make sure you trust the right person and find the right business consultant to elevate your organization. 

Here’s your step-by-step guide to finding the right business consultant the right way. 

Define Your Needs and Objectives

The first step is to assess your current business situation and challenges. If you don’t have a good sense of the challenges your employees are facing, it will be difficult to find the right coach with the right solution. 

Determine your specific goals and objectives before looking for consulting services. Here are a few questions to get you started: 

  • Do you want to invest in individual professional coaching?
  • Are you looking to build and strengthen your team?
  • How does your organization currently develop employees? 
  • Does your organization have a developed talent pipeline through upskilling? 
  • Does your organization have a succession plan? 
  • What’s your executive leadership development strategy? 
  • How can your hiring process be improved? 

These are just a few ways you can start defining your needs. The clearer you are in this process, the better your chances of finding the right consultant. 

Evaluate Consultant Qualifications and Tools 

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with the help of your consultant, you can start to explore your options. 

Review consultant profiles, websites, and portfolios to assess their expertise and experience. Look for demonstrated results; a skilled consultant will be able to provide client testimonials and customer stories that show their prowess and ability. 

You’ll also want to verify their credentials, certifications, and relevant qualifications. One of the best ways to safeguard your experience with a consultant and get assurance of achieving results is to work with someone who uses trusted tools. 

The use of scientific-based assessment tools is a great sign that you’re working with a competent and capable consultant. It shows that they value data-driven insights and are partnered with a reliable assessment provider. 

Be on the lookout for the right (and wrong) assessment tools! Not all assessments used in consulting are created equally. For example, many consultants use the DISC behavioral model in their work, but the formatting, administration, and organization of the assessment can greatly impact an individual’s understanding of their results. 

Overall, the right consultant should be open about their experience and expertise and demonstrate their ability to work with companies with needs like yours. 

Assess Compatibility and Fit 

Now that you have a pool of prospective consultants, it’s time to interview! Whether your interactions are virtual or in-person, it’s crucial to schedule initial consultations and interviews with potential consultants. Discuss your business needs, objectives, expectations, and hoped-for outcomes. 

“Your partnership needs to be built on trust,” said Brittney Helt, Vice President of Partner Experience at TTI Success Insights. “A consultant will impact people, processes, and your bottom line—you have to feel comfortable. Don’t make a decision based on one interaction—ask for how you’re going to work together. Get to know them before jumping into a decision.” 

It’s important to remember that a consultant is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. Working with a consultant who helps address structural issues and “people problems” can be vulnerable. Finding the right fit in terms of communication style, approach, and compatibility with your team is fundamental to both short-term and long-term success. 

When you’ve found some candidates that are a good fit, it’s time to clearly define the scope of the consulting engagement. Agree on specific deliverables, timelines, and milestones. This is the time to think big and then narrow down that bigger picture into tangible, verifiable actions. Crucial improvements don’t just happen overnight; make sure your goals are reasonable and achievable for your budget. 

Establishing expectations upfront for communication, reporting, and feedback will set the right tone for your partnership.

Discuss Pricing and Conduct Due Diligence 

It’s time to dig into the details! Discussing pricing and conducting due diligence is just as important as any initial connection and conversation. 

Obtain detailed proposals or quotes from potential consultants to clarify fee structures, billing methods, and payment terms. This will ensure that the consultant's fees are aligned with your budget and expected return on investment. 

As you’re finalizing a potential partnership, it’s time to check references and gather feedback on the consultant’s previous work and results. Follow up on those customer stories previously shared. 

“If a consultant is afraid to prove their work and let you interact with their prior customers, run the other way,” said Helt. “They should be proud of their work and want you to experience it through the eyes of their current and previous clients.”

Also, conduct regular background checks and legal consultations, following your organization’s protocol for working with a consultant or freelancer. 

Establish Reporting Channels and Monitor Results 

At this point, you should have found a working rhythm together. Set up regular meetings or check-ins with the consultant, which can include personal debriefs, team debriefs, and follow-up coaching. 

Maintaining open and transparent communication throughout the consulting engagement is crucial for long-term success. If something isn’t working, it’s your job to communicate that with your consultant. You also should be receptive to their feedback on how to implement the insights you uncover together. Let them leverage their expertise! 

You can also redefine communication channels as needed and set protocols for updates, progress reports, and feedback. 

Once that’s established, it’s time to track key performance indicators and metrics related to business development efforts. Evaluate the consultant's performance and effectiveness based on agreed-upon goals and objectives. It’s important to remember that progress doesn’t happen overnight. This is why setting realistic goals and following this process through each step is so important. You should set yourself and your team up for success with planning and pragmatism. 

Evaluate Ongoing Relationship

Now that you have completed your initial contract and interactions with your consultant, it’s time to continue your partnership. Cultivate a positive working relationship and explore expanding your collaboration—how can you move forward together? 

You can extend their expertise to a broader team, expand their influence by getting help with project management, or take a multi-science approach by harnessing the power of multiple assessments. 

After you get results and develop your relationship, pay it forward! Provide referrals or recommendations based on your experience with your consultant; your organization might become a defining success story. 

Finding Success By Finding the Right Consultant 

Finding the right consultant for your business is a strategic process that requires careful consideration and thorough evaluation. Remember, the key is to maintain open communication, set realistic goals, and be receptive to feedback throughout the consulting engagement. With the right consultant by your side, you can unlock new opportunities for growth and success in your organization.

If you’re looking for a consultant, TTI can connect you to the perfect fit within our network. We’re here to help! Contact us here.

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Jaime Faulkner