What is it you do?

There are 4 common mistakes consultants make describing what they do.

The identity parade

“I’m an interventionist not an ‘on-site’ consultant. I enjoy short, sharp, pieces of work. That’s where clients get greatest value from me.”

This explains how the consultant thinks about their work, but it says nothing about what they deliver. It’s self-referenced. Me, me, me.

The solution menu

“We’ve designed and run year-long leadership development programmes (multiple times); coached Rugby League players to think differently; helped a firefighter to overcome their fear of enclosed spaces; facilitated hundreds of high-stakes meetings; keynoted at conferences; And taught over a thousand people how to consult.”

A list of solutions is given in the hope that one will resonate with something the client has already decided to invest in. That’s order taking, not selling.

The passion soundbite

“We want to build a world of bold leaders with strong teams.”

Wow okay! Looks like this consultant has been hanging out with the marketing people. It’s far to conceptual – visionary and meaningless at the same time.

The corporate linguist

“We accelerate performance across the supply chain using high impact, time-efficient, results-oriented assessments.”

This is better, It identifies an issue qualified clients would be interested in and it suggests the consultant has a solution. Unfortunately it’s written in trance inducing corporate speak, not plain English.

So, as an antidote to the common mistakes consultants make, here’s a quick checklist for what good looks like.

Does what you say:

  1. Speak to an issue clients have.
  2. Stay away from listing multiple solutions.
  3. Sit comfortably in the real-world.
  4. Use simple language, making to easy to understand.
  5. Allow prospects to self-qualify. Let’s face it if they’re going to engage you they must have an issue to work on.

Here are some useful examples which tick the boxes.

Marshal Goldsmith – CEO Coach

“I help successful leaders achieve positive, long-term, measurable change in their behaviour.”

Plain Text – Agency

“We help businesses make a bigger impact with words.”

Ethercycle – Agency

“We’re an ecommerce consultancy for Shopify businesses that need great strategy.”

And mine

“Consultants think through their business development challenges with me, then decide what to do.”

Now it’s your turn.

What is it you do?