The Professional Consultants Association of Central New York is about to embark on another year of meetings geared towards making us all better consultants. Sometimes we have meetings where we learn more about what’s going on in the area or in industries that we should know more about to help us along, like technology, but for the most part we hope to always get better in areas that will help us grow and become better business people at what we do.

With that in mind this article is going to talk about 5 things consultants almost always need to work on, believe, and act upon in order to be at the top of their game. Consulting isn’t easy, and unfortunately it’s not because we don’t know our own area of expertise that well. With that said, let’s take a look at these things:

1. Marketing. Back in March I (I’m Mitch Mitchell by the way) created a video and wrote a blog post on my own on the subject of what the secret to success is, no matter what people do. My answer: marketing. Without being proficient enough to find those people who need your services and then get them to respond to you nothing else happens, even if you’re at the top in your field.

2. Sales. Marketing gets you in the door; the ability to sell closes the deal. Some people are great at getting the word out on what they do and connecting with people, yet they find that when they’re trying to get people to sign on the line (it’s not dotted anymore) it’s an uphill struggle.

3. Giving customers what they want. You’ve marketed and you’ve closed the deal. Now, can you perform up to the level and expectation of your client? Luckily, most consultants over-deliver, but there are still many who promise the moon and end up giving pebbles of sand to their customers. Sometimes a consultant just isn’t that good at what they say they do, or takes customers for granted. That leads us to #4, which is…

4. Ethics. The PCA is big on the topic of ethics because it’s a measure of the person rather than how proficient they are. You might be the best baker in the world but if you’re putting something bad in every cake you make your ethics are out of whack. When consultants promise things they know they’re not going to deliver on and don’t give back whatever compensation they’ve already received, or pit one client against another and not treat each with the same respect just because the amount of money they’re getting is different, or violates trust that was given to them by either clients or compatriots, it’s never forgotten and hard to overcome.

5. Drive. Without drive, most consultants, especially those who work from home, would be well rested but probably poor and worried all the time. Consulting isn’t something we do because we’re passing time while waiting for a better opportunity. It takes courage and drive, the willingness to keep learning and sharing their own knowledge and advice, and of course effort and vigilance in aiming for that gold ring or gold watch; I’ll take the watch. Customers don’t just come to us so we have to fight through the bad times and glory in the good times and be constantly on the search for the next big thing.

Who doesn’t agree with that?

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