A guy I knew years ago used to say, “What’s the difference between a consultant and a trusted advisor?” The answer: All of your money. He almost always got a laugh with that one, but just last week I was reminded of just how true that can be.
How can you tell the difference between a consultant, a hired gun, and a person that you can trust to give you the very best advice for your situation? Here are a few thoughts:
- Time. I’m sure everyone can think of a professional in their life that dings them for every second possible. A lawyer, a mechanic, an accountant, maybe? Not that there’s really a problem with that, after all everyone needs to earn a living. The trusted advisor goes above and beyond the “billable hours” mentality and really takes the time to understand the business and its needs.
- Perspective. I think all consultants, both good and bad, want to deliver results. It seems to me that their point of view can make all the difference. If I look at a solution from the vantage point of the dollars that I will make first and the value for the client second, that makes me a consultant. If I have truly taken the time to understand a business, its people and its goals, then I can really understand value first and worry about the money I will make second.
- Investment. I’m talking about truly being (I hate this term because it gets abused so much) a partner. I honestly feel that your success is my success, your challenges are my challenges and that your failure is my personal failure. How well you do matters to me.
- I got to witness a great field tech who has achieved all of these things in action last week, and it was a thing of beauty. That’s the bar to which all of us as service providers should be striving. Thanks for the reminder, Will.