Consultants: The Importance of Being an Expert
As a consultant, you’ll run into situations nearly daily where you are meeting new people who want to hear about what you do. I get questions regularly on topics that I consult on. Many times these conversations come up on the spot and out of a normal business environment. So, what do you do when you’re approached, totally unprepared, and you have to talk about your business out of the blue? Do you know your business well enough that you can stop whatever you’re doing and come up with an intelligent informed conversation? As a consultant, this is a must.
Consider that, when you’re working as a consultant, you should be an expert in your field. The point isn’t to sell yourself. The point is to be an expert. My whole pitch in any networking group is: don't sell. You shouldn’t be pushing your business onto anyone. When you network you should be there to make a connection. Talk about your business with expertise and authority. Then, if that connection ever meets someone down the road who needs services like yours, they'll think of you and recommend your business. The people you meet and who know that you know what you’re talking about will then represent you out in the community. That's why we network.
Knowing your business well enough that, at the drop of a hat, you could give a presentation that could convince people to meet with you later and get more information is essential. As a consultant, you always have to be ready to be on. You truly never know what avenue your next customer or client could come from. You should be prepared, at all times, to give at least a thirty minute presentation on your business in order to bring people in because they want to know more and want a consultation. Being an expert in your field is what makes you qualified to be a consultant.
I would argue that those who can’t form an intelligent conversation about their field on a whim should not be consulting. You will meet potential clients in the most unlikely of places. Your “jumping out of the plane without a parachute” and talking about your field on demand could gain you new customers that you never saw coming. I’ve had that experience very recently.
What do you think the importance is of being an expert in your field as a consultant? For consultants out there, could you come up with a thirty minute presentation completely on the fly? Would it be compelling enough to garner interest from prospective clients? Is it necessary? What are your thoughts? Comment below!
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