Don’t make the mistake of letting clients see you as a contractor?

Some people mistake contracting for consulting, but they’re different. Contractors complete tasks under the clients direction. They’re pseudo-employees.

Consultants provide solutions to specific issues.

These solutions comprise three types of project, based on providing … insights, plans, or resources.

By way of an example, let’s look at the anatomy an insights project … and reveal what’s under the skin.

The project outcome

This type of project is all about deciding what to do, or change. The consultant’s work enables the client to make a well-formed decision.

The business value

This is the potential impact of the decision to be made … usually a big economic gain for the client.

The intellectual input

To make a well-formed decision the consultant must offer the client situational insights.

These insights come from new levels of awareness, knowledge, and understanding.

And this is where a consultant’s intellect, and ability to see patterns, and synthesise, creates value.

The project deliverables

Awareness, knowledge, and understanding tends to be packaged in the form of observable deliverables.

Things like market analysis, validated assumptions, economic models, and a ranked options list.

Keeping things focused.

Now, the thing is, buyers can sometimes place too much emphasis on the deliverable end of the anatomy. They forget about the project outcome, business value, and intellectual input.

So, you must make ensure these are remembered, and stay in the forefront of the client’s mind.

Why? Because deliverables without intellectual insight look a lot like contractor tasks.

The mini-mission

Look at the work you do as a consultant.

  • Are you providing strategic insights … enabling the client to make an important decision?
  • Or perhaps knowledge and method … planning implementation and reducing risk?
  • Or perhaps a unique skillset needed to do the work?

Whichever it is, make a list of three ways your consulting attitude and mindset is different from that of a ‘billable hours’ contractor.

Now make sure your client experiences and appreciates that.