It’s a big move. The day you find someone that you truly admire and would appreciate as someone on your team. The consultant that’s going to help you move your business forward. It’s a very important relationship. Both meaningful and equally expensive.
So what happens when you’re not prepared with the right information to handle this relationship the way it’s meant to work? I have a few tips to help prepare you for what this relationship will actually look like when you’re handling it as the model client.
1. Know Your Contract Terms and the GOAL
It sounds obvious, but many enter into these things thinking about how awesome the person is and that they’re going to make you equally awesome. But you’re better off thinking that way and having an actual goal in mind so everyone knows what this relationship should result in.
2. You should ABSOLUTELY assume your consultant understand the terms
This also sounds weird. But your consultant is legally bound by what’s in writing. So if they don’t know what’s there, they were not someone you should be working with in the first place. But since you can’t really forsee that, you should assume they are very smart. Because that’s why you hired them. And when you do that, you’re not depending on the contract to dictate the relationship. Which is VERY important. Relationships that are based on a contract really suck and you should feel a better connection than that with someone who’s helping you in such a big way.
3. Be aware and understand EVERYTHING in the contract
I don’t want your relationship to be based on the document, but knowing what’s in it will make all the options you want to talk about sound relevant to what the scope of work is. When you’re educated and sign something you full understand, everything is going to work out much more beautifully in the end what the goal that you are seeking.
This will also protect you if someone tries to be naughty and do work that is not outlined that they may want to bill you for. But more importantly, you won’t be asking those questions if you know the consultant is doing things that are within the scope of work to achieve the result. And if you get an invoice for something additional you didn’t get in writing, well then you know that person wasn’t being clear on the terms and you don’t need to pay it. But asking them if they’re planning to upcharge you for something they didn’t ask you approval for first can also put you in a weird position with them that they feel you no longer trust them. Everyone being clear and aware of the agreement with keep all of this from happening.
4. Your consultant wants to achieve a measurable result. So you probably need to take their advice. At LEAST sometimes.
This was tough for me in the beginning because I didn’t understand why clients didn’t take my advice. But I’ve experienced enough to know that people need to make their own decisions and if you want to pay me for my opinions on what to do and then not implement, that’s up to you.
But realize that there is a clear results in mind so they are trying to do what they can to effectively get you there. And if you don’t want to take the route, you need to realize that other options need to be discussed or you may have a lesser chance of getting the result. It’s that simple.
5. Be realistic about timeline
It may or may not be clear in your contract, but your consultant should be honest with you on the timeline that it will take to achieve ideal results. Whether or not you are working with them for that amount of time is one thing, but don’t assume there are tips and tricks that will get you there on an absurd timeline because ideally you’re hiring someone that’s always going to do it the right way. The right way means it’s actually going to affect your bottom line.
6. Don’t assume you’re the consultant’s only client
This is kinda a yucky one because you SHOULD feel like a consultant’s only client if they’re doing a good job. But you still need to keep the frame of mind that you’re not. Because you’re probably not. Or they don’t want you to be. That doesn’t mean they don’t treat you with their attention as diligently as possible, but it also doesn’t mean they’re going to answer the phone at 3am. Unless you contracted for that. Which I’m sure people like Drew Rosenhaus is usually contracted for. (Watch my video about that to understand.)
If you hired someone good, they’re busting their ass for you. You just can’t always see what goes into it. If you truly don’t think you’re getting what you paid for, get your money back. Make sure it’s in your contract when you have to resort to that to dictate your relationship.