When it comes to consulting rates, how much is too much? How much is not enough? In a recent Talmix broadcast, we discussed the ins and outs of consulting rates in an effort to understand what lies behind the proposal budget and motivational proof points. Our panel of independent consultants shared their insight on consulting rates, helping clients and consultants alike, understand what they’re buying, and the importance of a detailed project plan.
Here’s what we’ve learnt
- You’re buying independent consulting services, because you already realise the value and opportunity it brings.
Michelle: “People are interested in the way that the consulting world charges for their services because they truly care about it – they see how this new way of working is spreading across the globe. The Gig Economy is expanding – and many individuals still have a lot of questions around this, like how much it is going to cost in the short-term, whether they should rather invest into a full-time resource, whether the person they’re hiring is going to have the expertise that they need at the onset, etc. The organisations that have done this before, already know the benefit. But for the larger population of businesses who have not yet taken advantage of this, many still have questions.”
- When you buy independent consulting services, you are buying into a relationship, not just a transaction.
Krishnan: “Remember that for many organisations, there’s always a resource shortage – and time is probably the biggest luxury that most organisations simply don’t have. An independent consultant has that ability to come in, pick up a challenge and immediately get to work. The biggest benefit in buying independent consulting services is if the consultant has already worked with the client in the past, they have an existing and natural rapport, and credibility with your organisation and will simply continue delivering for you. They are able to pick up and deliver, pick up and deliver. They are able to spend time to get to know you, your organisation and all the things that are important to you.”
- When you buy independent consulting services, you’re paying for an unbiased, independent judgement to implement change
Chris: “Using independent consultants is hugely valuable especially when they don’t have the relevant in-house expertise and they need specialist skill to deliver quickly. It may be that they don’t need someone full-time, or it may be that they want to test a new function out first, before implementing it as a full-time position. It may simply be to help them through a particular business phase. Independent consultants bring diversity into the organisation who deliver outcomes, rather than just considering inputs going into the business. A client looks for outcomes. They simply want results.”
- When you buy independent consulting services, you’re paying for more than just what is delivered.
Michelle: “Many of my clients look for proof-points and examples of how I’ve delivered similar results for other clients. So, what I do is give them examples of companies and projects which demonstrate similar problems solved. I also add in detail about how I've made the outcomes happen – and articulate how I've been able to deliver those solutions.
Krishnan: “I make sure that I get comfortable with the client’s industry and lingo. For many industries, they have internal jargon which is relative to the industry. Consultants understand and take time to get to know what matters to that client, and their industry. I make sure that I get feedback often, and provide updates more often – so that I can ensure I’m on track with their expectations at the very start of the project. I take the time to ensure I understand who their stakeholders are, what expectations they have and how they expect me to keep them informed.”
Chris: “Your consultant will be there to understand how to deliver value to you. Clients are not interested in the consultant - they are interested in the solution to their own problem. Consultants are focussed on delivering value to their clients, according to what they are paying for, and to deliver that solution through their own expertise and insight”.
- When you buy independent consulting services, you realise that you’re buying the skill you need, for now.
Michelle: “Organisations who are buying the expertise that they need, understand the benefits that this new way of working brings. They know how much they are prepared to pay that will offset the short-term costs of what they need vs the long-term realisation of the solution being best for their business model”.
Krishnan: “As a consultant, its important for both of us to understand exactly the expectations of delivery for the project – so that both the client and the consultant know what needs to be delivered, and the detail of what’s included in the scope.”
Chris: “Consultants will take the time to understand exactly the implication of the budget, who the key decision-makers are and what the knock-on effects are of any key decision-changes. It’s critical to have all the detail of the project deliverable agreed and understood up front – to help cut out any scope creep and misunderstanding, further down the line.”
- When you buy independent consulting services, you reap the benefits of expertise coupled to experience and added-value.
Krishnan: “The client is buying the consultant’s expertise which is highly relevant to the context of the client. That’s probably the most important thing – you’re getting the right skill for the specific challenge or opportunity you are facing as an organisation. Secondly, consultants work across multiple industries, clients, geographies etc and bring multiple toolkits to use for the benefit of a client that uses them – given the disruption and digitisation happening – perspective from other industries could be very valuable.”
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About the Author
Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.
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