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How To Win A Business Consultant Contract
As a professional business consultant, if you interview poorly then you are going to find it hard to sustain a living. Your livelihood depends on winning contracts and to do that, preparation is the key. Of course there is more to landing a consultancy contract than interviewing well, but doing so could make you the stand out candidate.
Here are some useful tips to use when interviewing for consultancy jobs:
1. A Portfolio of Previous Work
One of the first things a company will want to hear from you is your track record, so prepare and take along a portfolio of successful works. You must be a specific as possible, highlighting which technologies you used, how you implemented change and the effect your work had on the business. Is the company still using that system you implemented? How much money did you save that department per year? Being able to answer these questions clearly and specifically is going to make the difference in the interview room.
2. References & Testimonials
People like to buy where other people buy. So the more you can share of previous companies you have worked with the better, especially if you can produce letters from companies stating that they are happy to recommend you. Even better if you can give prospective companies a list of direct telephone numbers of the senior management you have worked for who would be prepared to give a verbal reference. If you are just starting out and looking for your first clients, sometimes it's best to do some unpaid work to gain some testimonials and of course experience.
3. Key Achievements and Successes
Along with the more extensive portfolio, prepare and take along a summary sheet of your key achievements and successes. Keep them up to date and relevant, so avoid any projects you were involved in more than 18 months ago.
Again, companies what to know what you did, how you went about it and what the effect your actions had on the business. Statistics are extremely useful in this situation. You saved 10% on a cycle time, £10,000 a year in the packaging department, etc.
4. Your Approach to Tackling a Project
The company are also going to want to understand exactly you go about tackling a project. A business consultant must be able to operate alongside the company whilst minimally interrupting its operations. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate your planning skills along with your ability to stay on track. Companies are not willing to invest in consultants who seemingly ‘wing it’ or make it up as they go along.
To inspire confidence in a company, demonstrate the life cycle of a recent project you undertook. Explain how you got the project off the ground, negotiated with the relevant stakeholders and kept on track throughout the project’s life. Seal the deal with how the project concluded and the effects it had upon the company.
5. Difficult Clients
Whilst this is not something you should boast about, be prepared to talk about how you have the ability to work with potentially difficult clients and stakeholders. In business, not everything you say or do is going to thrill people and the company will know this. Be prepared to demonstrate that you are able to deal with this pressure and deliver results in spite of it.
6. How Many Clients?
Finally, the company are likely to be interested in how many clients you work with at any one time. The reasons are simple, if they believe you are spreading yourself too thin they will shy away with the fear that you will be unable to deliver results.
Only take on work that you can deliver on as upsetting clients is a sure fire way to ruin your own career. Moreover, explain to the company times in the past where you’ve worked with multiple clients and delivered results for each of them.