Sometimes, marketing consultants get hired to clean up the work of other teams. Unfortunately, it happens more often than many people think. As a result, these calls from desperate businesses or nonprofit marketing teams are not one-off events. Moreover, when the cleanup work begins, there’s significant stress and negative residual feelings. For instance, often, companies and nonprofits want to develop a new site, but massive delays with the prior consultant have left them launching much later than anticipated. Also, there are times where marketing consultants don’t listen to the needs of their clients, and they execute on ideas that don’t work for their client. Consequently, it leads to enormous dissatisfaction.
So, what makes for a quality marketing consultant to build websites or create content marketing? What should businesses and nonprofits look for when they need expertise from any consultants, for that matter? The following represent tried and true characteristics to hire the best quality consultants for your projects.
In any relationship, the first quality necessary is trust. It’s the first thing we seek when starting a new relationship, and it’s the basis going forward. Therefore, when you hire a new marketing consultant or any other consultant, you should look to ensure that they do what they say. Sometimes, in wanting to maintain a relationship and not wanting to offend, you may find yourself giving a consultant a pass. True, there are times when there are legitimate reasons something hasn’t happened. However, a quality consulting team always delivers on time. If not, the consultant makes adjustments, and explains them to you, if unforeseen circumstances have arisen.
Something that seems to be in short supply is the art of listening. Sure, you might find a consulting team that’s eager to get started. That energy, of course, is a good and necessary quality for marketing services or other services. However, the best marketing consultants understand that they have to listen more than talk. When you interview a consulting team, you should see that they ask pertinent questions of you. So, when you reflect on the hiring interviews, decide on someone that shows a mastery of the art of listening. In other words, consider when they asked questions, if they listened to your replies, or did they jump in with irrelevant solutions?
A marketing consulting team that does not listen to you during interviews will not do it when they get hired. Therefore, use the time before hiring a team to see if they mastered the skill of listening.
The third quality of quality consultants is their ability to be flexible and also disciplined. For instance, we understand that we live in a fast-changing world. And, what that means is that your circumstances or the scope of work can change. Therefore, the best marketing consultants are happy warriors. They can easily adjust to change. However, they also know that they have to get the job done. Thus, they have the ability for consistent discipline to chip away at the milestones that you and they have determined for performance.
Accordingly, make sure that you hire technical experts in the field, with a proven track record. But, also hire people with excellent soft skills and emotional intelligence. In other words, they are patient, can adjust to change, and continue refining their deliverables creatively.
By this, we don’t mean that marketing consultants should give you mediocre work. On the contrary, quality consultants always look to excel. However, they also want to “wow” you. So, they will under-promise (e.g., not offer the stars when the moon will do) but still provide excellent work and deliverables. And then they will go further and over-deliver. That’s not to say that they will give you free work. But, they understand how to offer value-added opportunities for their prospects and clients.
As an example, you may find that they give their clients valuable insights and resources, such as with a blog. Or, another technique quality consultants do is also to teach, inform, and educate as they deliver.
As in life, in business, there unavoidable highs and lows exist. And, unfortunately, even failures happen. However, failing is not a bad thing, so long as it is part of a learning process with good intentions. Meaning, not everything works exceptionally 100 percent of the time. But, quality marketing consultants understand—through life and experience—that failure is not the end of the road. They know how to fail properly. For example, they get that when failures happen, it’s a chance for learning. But, it’s also a time for reassessing and then knocking the ball out of the park next time.
In sum, you can save yourself unnecessary headaches with teams that talk a lot but don’t walk the talk. Use the interview process as a time to assess if a team is a fit based on experience, but also what they say—or don’t—to you. It doesn’t matter if you seek experts in marketing, business marketing consulting, finance, high impact nonprofits, or even in how supply chain works, it’s always essential to get the right people on board.
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