At its core, consulting is all about helping your clients find solutions to their problems. However, for many consultants, they’re offering generalized advice that may or may not be adding value to the business. At its worst, this practice can wind up wasting time and money. At best, it only gets the client part of the way to where they want to be.
On today’s episode of the 6 to 7 Figures Podcast, I’m talking with Corey Rome, consultant extraordinaire. Like me, Carey started his consulting firm a while back, so he’s been in this industry for a long time. However, he really got into the execution side of things and then brought the advisory piece in later. Most consultants start the other way, but no matter how they get into it, the primary goal should be problem-solving.
Over the years, Carey has grown his firm and brought on some big clients, so I wanted to pick his brain to find out what has made him so successful. Fortunately, experience breeds wisdom, so Carey has a wealth of information for consultants, both new to the industry and veterans alike.
Advisory vs. Execution
For the most part, consultants focus on the beginning of the transformation process. They come into a business, analyze the problems that they’re facing, and then draft a proposal filled with solutions. Then, they drop that proposal on the CEO’s desk, who passes it onto the executive team to execute.
While there’s nothing wrong with being an advisor for a company, it’s hard to say that you add value when you’re just involved in the planning stage of things. For Corey, advising wasn’t what he wanted to do. Instead, he started in the execution phase – taking the strategic plan and working with the client to solve the problem.
Having begun his career on that side of things, Carey was able to understand many of the issues that can plague consultants. Most notably, the struggle to find out what’s really wrong with the business and addressing its foundation. All too often, executives and consultants will identify surface-level issues that are actually symptoms of something deeper. Unfortunately, that realization will usually set in after the fact.
Carey’s epiphany came when an executive commended him for helping him work on a project but lamented that they weren’t solving the real problem. After that meeting, Carey realized that adding the advisory position would not only help his business but help his clients.
Another issue that many consultants face is that they’re always searching for new business and opportunities. Rather than viewing a client as a long-term relationship, they’re focused on earning revenue and growing their bottom line.
Again, Corey learned this the hard way. When starting, he was chasing opportunities – sometimes, flying across the country for a lunch meeting that may or may not turn into a paid project. After the crash of ‘08, he recognized the value of relationship-building. Although clients couldn’t spend like they used to, they still wanted to work with Carey because of their rapport.
Part of the relationship-building strategy as well is generating a long-term view of each project. Rather than delivering everything in the original proposal, start with one issue and then add more as you go. As long as clients can see that you’re adding value to their business, they’ll continue to hire you. Simply put, don’t treat projects and relationships as one-time deals. See it as a foundation for something much broader in scope, and you’ll experience much more success.
Carey and I talk a lot more about the consulting industry in this episode, so be sure to check it out here. You can also find Carey online at linkedin.com/in/careyrome/ or at his website www.cypressresources.com. He also has his own podcast, called Caged Vision, where he helps entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into a reality.